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tcpl120Lansing's County Legislator Pat Pryor told the Lansing Town Board Wednesday that two County organizations are asking for funding this year.  The Tompkins County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) and the Tompkins County Public Library have asked for funding this year.  Pryor says the IDA is asking for a one-time contribution to cover its operating costs and the library requires more funds to maintain 'Lead Library' status.

"It is primarily because of the complications from the 2009 financial crash and its aftermath," Pryor said.  "Because people are not tending to start new businesses and because existing businesses are holding off on their plans to expand, the IDA has not had the level of companies seeking assistance that it has had.  So the IDA's income, which it makes in fees from these businesses, has dropped dramatically."

Since it was founded in 1964 the IDA has been responsible for encouraging the creation of about 4200 good, new jobs in Tompkins County.  It is the organ of the County that grants tax incentives to businesses to increase the local tax base and provide good jobs in the County.  In Lansing the IDA has approved an Incentive Zone for businesses that will locate in the new Town Center.  When the IDA was first formed it got its annual operating funds from the County.  Pryor said the precedent for IDA funds coming from the County is not new, even though in recent years it has been entirely self-funding.

Pryor said the library is financially stressed because of requirements for maintaining its 'Lead Library' status in the Finger Lakes Library System.  She said it must be open every day for a certain number of hours, and to maintain specified programs and services.  She said that demands for services at the library continue to rise, and noted that the Legislature only learned of the library's financial stress a few days ago.

The Legislature is setting up a task force to look at the overall situation before determining whether to fund the organizations in the future.  Pryor has agreed to serve on that committee.

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