Highlights of the December 4, 2007 meeting
of the
Tompkins County Legislature
Despite Majority Vote, Legislature Fails to Approve Procedural Change in County Ethics Code
A proposed Local Law, which would have modified a provision of the County’s Code of Ethics governing the filing of financial disclosure statements, was supported by a majority of those attending tonight’s Legislature meeting, but failed because it did not receive the eight-vote legislative majority needed for passage. 

The vote was 7-5 on the proposal that would have changed from May 15 to January 15 the date by which elected officials and key employees of Tompkins County must file an annual disclosure statement. Legislators Frank Proto, Tim Joseph, Tyke Randall, Mike Sigler and Jim Dennis voted no; Legislators Greg Stevenson and Kathy Luz Herrera were absent.  The Legislature is currently one member short, since the District 3 seat formerly held by Dick Booth is vacant.

No one spoke at a public hearing that preceded the vote.

As he did when the matter was first discussed two weeks ago, Legislator Proto expressed concern that the date change would make it difficult for some individuals to file financial paperwork that soon after the end of the prior year.  Before it voted at the last meeting to schedule tonight’s public hearing, Legislators struck another proposed ethics code change, which would have required an officer or key employee to file a revised disclosure statement within 30 days of any significant change in information already on file.
Contact:  Mike Hattery. Vice Chair, Government Operations Committee, 844-4361; Legislator Dooley Kiefer, Chair, Tompkins County Ethics Advisory Board, 257-745; Legislator Frank Proto, 277-4875.

Legislature Accepts State Stream Protection Grant

By unanimous vote, the Legislature accepted a $70,000 grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to develop a comprehensive stream buffer program for Tompkins County.  The grant, which will be matched by an equal amount of County funds (most of those targeted for flood hazard mitigation), will support protection of stream corridors throughout the County, enhancing the County’s existing flood hazard mitigation program. 

As part of the project, the planning department will develop property owner conservation easements for stream protection; implement demonstration projects for stream protection and flood mitigation; and develop an outreach campaign to inform local elected officials and property owner on resources available to support local stream buffer protection. 

Planning and Public Works Commissioner Ed Marx said the project will assist the County in looking at the issue of stream buffer protection in a comprehensive way, will help the County to evaluate what tools will be most valuable to address specific situations, and will assist in implementing various projects.  He added that staff will work closely with county municipalities, as the project moves forward.
Contact:  Planning and Public Works Commissioner Ed Marx, 274-5560; Martha Robertson, Chair, Planning , Development, and Environmental Quality Committee, 272-0584.

Airport Improvement Expenditures Approved
Without dissent, Legislators approved several expenditures related to ongoing improvements at Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport.  Legislators

§ Awarded the contract for terminal fire alarm system replacement to Life Safety Engineering Systems of Buffalo, for its base bid of $93,700, with a $10,000 construction contingency.  Eighty percent of the expense is supported by a grant from the New York State Department of Transportation.  Total project cost, including design, inspection and contract administration, is $113,684.

§ Approved two supplemental contract agreements with C&S Engineers, Inc. for a total of $68,654, related to additional construction management and contract administration services,  most of that expense to be supported through state and federal funds.

§ Approved a $10,000 advance to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to cover design by FAA facilities staff of upgraded runway approach path indicators at Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport, the funds to be eventually reimbursed through a grant for runway safety area improvements.

Contact:  Dooley Kiefer, Vice Chair, Facilities and Infrastructure Committee, 257-7453.