Highlights from the August 17, 1999 meeting of the

Tompkins County Board of Representatives


The Board gave unanimous (13-0; Reps. Dooley Kiefer and Peter Penniman were absent) approval to a grant application by Tompkins County Area Transit (TCAT) to help pay for a half-dozen clean-fuel buses and one trolley bus. TCAT would combine $1.2 million in funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) with other state, federal, and local funding to buy the buses. The low-floor "hybrid-electric" buses run on electricity generated by small diesel-fuel generators, and use a fraction of the fuel needed by a conventional bus. If funding for the buses is received, they could be on the streets by 2001. The hybrid-electric buses would be used for urban routes. The trolley-style bus, intended for City of Ithaca use, would be fueled with gasoline or natural gas. TCAT also received Board approval to apply for grants to buy six conventional, medium-sized buses for rural routes.


Two County bridge construction projects moved ahead, with unanimous (13-0; Reps. Dooley Kiefer and Peter Penniman were absent) Board approval to advance local funding. The County will pay for the projects, but expects federal and New York State highway programs to reimburse all but 5 percent of the cost. The Board approved an estimated $240,000 construction bill for the Salmon Creek Bridge over Indian Falls Creek in the Town of Lansing, and $460,000 in estimated construction costs for the Renwick Drive Bridge over Pleasant Grove Brook in the Town of Ithaca.


By unanimous vote (13-0; Reps. Dooley Kiefer and Peter Penniman were absent), the Board agreed to release the last of the unallocated money it set aside for the 1999 Sheriff’s Department budget. Sheriff Peter Meskill requested that $51,658 go to road patrol payroll, to help cover contractual pay raises and overtime pay for deputies. The money will be considered a permanent increase to the Sheriff’s Department budget.



The Board gave unanimous (13-0; Reps. Dooley Kiefer and Peter Penniman were absent) approval to a request for Tompkins County to be designated a single-county Workforce Investment Area. Workforce Investment Areas will soon replace regional Private Industry Councils in administering training and development funds and programs. The County’s Workforce Development Board has determined that Tompkins, which has been paired with Broome and Tioga counties in the past, would be better served as a single county. The request must be approved by the Governor’s office and the NYS Department of Labor.