Highlights of the September 2, 2008 meeting
of the
Tompkins County Legislature
Legislature Expresses Official Intent to Pursue Joint Lifelong-Aging Office Facility
By a vote of 13-1, the Legislature approved a resolution of intent to cooperate with Lifelong to develop a joint facility which would house both the Lifelong agency and the County’s Office for the Aging.  (Legislator Pam Mackesey voted no; Legislator Tyke Randall was absent.) 

Calling a joint facility “in the interest of Lifelong, Tompkins County and the people served by both organizations,” the resolution indicates that it is intended that County financing would be used to support construction of a facility, with each party bearing a proportional share of the capital cost, less any public grant funding that may be obtained.  A feasibility study conducted by HOLT Architects has proposed either an all-new building or an addition to existing facilities, at Lifelong’s current site on Ithaca’s East Court Street, and assessed Tompkins County’s space needs at roughly 30 percent of a new facility.  It is envisioned that, once capital debt is retired, Tompkins County would retain the right to occupy its space at no cost other than a pro-rated share of operations, maintenance and utilities costs for a time period not yet specified, and that a facility built would be owned by Lifelong, with design approval needed by both parties before going to bid.

Legislators spent considerable time discussing the specific points covered in the intent resolution and what inclusion of those points would mean as part of a resolution of intent.  Stressing that she supports the idea of a joint facility, Legislator Mackesey unsuccessfully sought to remove provisions concerning building ownership and financing arrangements, arguing such provisions should instead be negotiated as part of an agreement.  County Administrator Steve Whicher likened the resolution to “painting a picture,” providing guidance to the parties as discussions move forward.  Planning and Public Works Commissioner Ed Marx told Legislators all terms in the guidance document have been discussed with Lifelong and provisions the agency has supported.
Contact:  Leslyn McBean-Clairborne, Chair, Facilities and Infrastructure Committee, 277-5104; Frank Proto, Chair, Health and Human Services Committee, 277-4875; Lisa Holmes, Director, County Office for the Aging, 274-5482;  Ed Marx, Commissioner of Planning and Public Works, 274-5560.

Local Law Approved Regarding County Clerk’s Documents
The Legislature approved a new local law to enhance personal privacy for documents recorded in the County Clerk’s Office and also authorizes an increase in fees for the recording of documents by the County Clerk’s Office, the first such fee increase in 25 years.  The new law was approved by a vote of 12-2; Legislators Frank Proto and Will Burbank voted no; Legislator Tyke Randall was absent.

For the recording, entering, indexing and endorsing a certificate on any recorded instrument, the fee is increased from $5.00 to $20.00, with the fee for additional pages increased from $3.00 to $5.00 for each page or portion of a page.  The law directs that the cover page to any document shall not include a social security number or date of birth, and states that in the case where the county clerk has placed an image of such a cover page on line, a good-faith effort will be made to redact that information.

Legislator Proto unsuccessfully sought to separate the measure into two proposed local laws – one regarding the privacy issues; the other, the fee increase – a proposal only supported by Proto and Burbank .  The new law will take effect 30 days after filing with the office of the Secretary of State.
Contact:  Michael Hattery, Chair, Government Operations Committee, 844-4361; Legislator Frank Proto, 277-4875.

Study Recommends Construction of Records Storage Facility
A Tompkins County Records Master Plan, prepared on behalf of the County, recommends construction of a metal storage building at the County’s Public Works headquarters on Bostwick Road to meet the County’s long-term records management needs.  The study, prepared by the consulting firm LaBella Associates, recommends the new construction to store and preserve the County’s inactive records (projected to increase by 30 percent over the next decade) over the option of renovating the old county library, where many inactive records currently are stored. Architect Chris Talarzyk, of LaBella, told Legislators new construction would permit storage in about half the space (just over 5,000 square feet) at less than half the cost  New construction is estimated at just over $2 million, compared to $5.8 million for renovation, with associated savings projected in utility and operational costs.  The report was prepared through a New York State Archives grant awarded to the County.
Contact:  Jackie Thomas, Personnel Department, County Records Manager, 274-5526.

Among other actions, the Legislature

§ Authorized the County to file for two State grants-in-aid for municipal waste reduction and recycling projects, totalling more than $380,000, to support public education and waste reduction programs at the Tompkins County Solid Waste Management Division.  The funding was recently released from  the State Environmental Protection Fund, related to the years 2002-2007.

§ Authorized the County to accept a $250,000 Federal Aviation Administraion gramt to deconstruct the former Taughannock Aviation Corporation hangar at Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport.  Local cost for the project would be a little over $6,500.

§ Authorized contracting with the Tompkins County Soil and Water Conservation District to implement $25,000 in budgeted flood hazard mitigation projects.