Highlights of the January 16, 2007 meeting
of the
Tompkins County Legislature
Joseph Considering Ithaca Town Supervisor Candidacy
Cautioning that he has not made a definite decision, Legislature Chair Tim Joseph said that he is giving “serious thought” of running for the position of Ithaca Town Supervisor.  Mr. Joseph indicated that he has received several inquiries of late as to his intent, and stated that he wanted his legislative colleagues to hear of his potential interest directly from him and not from another source.  The chair indicated that incumbent supervisor Cathy Valentino has stated that she will not seek reelection after completion of her current term.  Mr. Joseph began his sixth year as chair of the Legislature at the beginning of this month.

Contact:  Tim Joseph, Chair of the Legislature, 277-2519

Ben Dodge Named January Distinguished Youth
The Legislature honored Trumansburg High School senior Ben Dodge as this month’s recipient of the Tompkins County Distinguished Youth Award.  An apprentice firefighter with the Trumansburg Fire Company, Dodge was nominated by company president Jacqueline Wright, who praised him as a “terrific person” who has “gone above and beyond” since he joined the department more than a year ago. Trumansburg Fire Chief Jason Fulton told the Legislature that Ben has completed well over 100 hours of training, responded to dozens of emergency calls and provided ongoing help at the fire station, all the while participating in three school sports and maintaining an A average in high school.  He described Ben as “a dedicated professional.”  Thanking the Legislature for the award, the recipient said he joined the fire department because he wanted to help people, not to be known as a “superman”.  The Tompkins County Distinguished Youth Award is cosponsored by Bangs Ambulance Service, A&B Awards and Engraving, Purity Ice Cream and Cayuga Radio Group.
Contact:  Legislature Office, 274-5434

County to Seek Early Public Input on 2008 Budget Priorities
As it looks ahead to the 2008 county budget process, the County is planning a series of community forums to assess public sentiment on budget issues. Budget and Capital Committee chair Michael Koplinka-Loehr told his fellow legislators that three sessions are currently planned for early spring in various locations around the county.  The county’s Public Information Advisory Board is working with the Legislature to organize the meetings, to provide the Legislature public input before it begins setting the budget parameters for 2008.

Contact:  Michael Koplinka-Loehr, Chair, Budget and Capital Committee, 257-2329

Legislature Updated on Emergency Management Goals
Cheryl Nelson, chair of the county’s Emergency Management Planning Committee, reported to the Legislature concerning the committee’s goals for 2007.  Among initiatives planned is a Public Officials Conference, planned for March, which will bring together elected officials and others within the county working in local emergency management to talk about emergency management issues and procedures. The Emergency Management Planning Committee is made up of representatives of municipalities and agencies throughout Tompkins County, which work together to address emergency planning and preparedness issues.  County Administrator Stephen Whicher praised the committee’s work to date and noted that Deputy Administrator Shawn Martel Moore is also leading an internal emergency preparedness effort focused on procedures within county government.

Contact:  Cheryl Nelson, Public Works Administrator, 274-0302, County Administrator Stephen Whicher, 274-5551

Legislators Hear Presentation on Potential Natural Gas Drilling
Prior to the Legislature meeting, legislators listened to a presentation from Ansbro Petroleum Company, LLC regarding potential drilling for natural gas on the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport property and at other potential County-owned sites. Legislators referred the matter to the Facilities and Infrastructure Committee for further consideration.
Contact:  County Administrator Stephen Whicher, 274-5551