Highlights of the July 3, 2001 meeting of the
Tompkins County Board of Representatives

By unanimous vote (14-0; Joe Lalley was absent), the Board set July 17 as the date for a public hearing on the 2001-2002 Tompkins-Cortland Community College (TC-3) operating budget. TC-3 receives support from Tompkins and Cortland counties in proportion to the enrollment from each county. Of the college’s total proposed budget of $18.42 million, Tompkins County’s requested share is $2,092,802, representing a third-of-a-percent increase over last year. Cortland County’s requested share is $1,338,448. The legislatures of both counties must approve the budget. The Tompkins County hearing will start promptly at 5:30 p.m. in the County Courthouse, 320 N. Tioga Street. 


County Administrator Stephen Whicher reported to the Board that the Community Justice Center has begun accepting clients. The Center, located in the lower level of the old library building on North Cayuga Street, provides an alternative to jail or other consequences of non-violent criminal behavior. Clients, who are sent to the Center by court order, are assessed and provided with a variety of programs intended to enable them to live successfully in the community. The County has contracted with several local agencies to provide services such as substance abuse treatment, anger management, literacy, and education.

The Board unanimously approved a resolution that releases money already set aside in the 2001 budget for Community Justice Center programs. To date, about $250,000 has been spent setting up the Center and contracting for services. 


By unanimous vote (14-0; Rep. Joe Lalley was absent), the Board determined that the County does not need to not apply for approvals from the Town of Ithaca for a construction project located in the Town. The Board stated that County government is not subject to the Town’s approval process for its planned renovation and expansion of the County’s Public Works facility on Bostwick Road. 

The Board agreed to apply nine criteria established by a 1988 court case to show that public benefits of the project outweigh the need to go through a local approval process. The nine-point "balancing test" was established by the New York State Court of Appeals case, City of Rochester v. County of Monroe, and is used to determine whether a government may disregard another level of government’s ordinances. The Public Works Committee completed the balancing test and, by resolution, the Board endorsed the results. The criteria include the extent of public interest served by the project, the impact on the local community, the type of use, and whether alternatives were considered.

County Administrator Stephen Whicher said he will send the Town a project report and set of plans, and that any comments about the project will be welcome. The $2.3 million project will renovate the existing Highway Department building and expand it to include the Buildings and Grounds Division. Construction is scheduled to start July 9.

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