postheadericon Storms Show Lansing Not Prepared for Disasters

electricpole120The Lansing Highway Department is still cleaning up after last week's storm that knocked out electricity in 3,508 homes in the Town of Lansing and another 626 in the Village of Lansing, some of whom were without power for three days.  Highway Superintendent Jack French told the Town Board Wednesday that the northern parts of the town were the hardest hit by two storms over the past three weeks.  French said that Lansing is not prepared for disasters and admonished the board to develop a disaster preparedness plan.

"The Town does not have disaster preparedness," French said.  "We've talked about it for eight years that I know of.  About four years ago a town board member asked whether I would be on a committee to get it going and that was the last I heard of it.  The Town of Lansing really needs to step to the plate and get a plan together.  Because we're not prepared."

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postheadericon Residents Object to Lansing Land Use Proposals

townhall_120Around 40 people came to the Lansing Town Hall Wednesday to challenge proposed subdivision and land use laws.  But Deputy Supervisor Sharon Bowman said the public hearings and final votes on the laws had been tabled because it had been determined there is more work to be done on them.  Residents couldn't have agreed more.

"Opening up neighborhoods that were previously closed to higher density growth is not what the Town said they wanted when polled," said Sarah Thompson, a member of the Town of Lansing Comprehensive Plan Update Committee.  "In fact it is just what they did not want.  The survey clearly showed that residents want a controlled, planned growth pattern that reflects the agricultural nature and history of Lansing.  A high priority was given to curbing sprawl in Lansing the way it is occurring elsewhere in Tompkins County.  It is not responsible or fair to those who chose to live in low density residential neighborhoods.  It's poor planning."

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postheadericon NRP/Better Housing Clears Hurdle for West Hill Project

Following the recommendation of two of its committees, the Legislature, after two hours of thoughtful discussion, approved a new process for consideration potential development of the remaining County-owned portion of the Biggs property on Harris B. Dates Drive.  The Legislature first repealed two resolutions related to the project passed last November, then authorized prospective developer NRP Properties, LLC, working in partnership with Better Housing for Tompkins County, to apply to the Town of Ithaca for a project on the 25-acre site.

The new authorization will allow State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) to be completed by the Town, with the County an involved agency.  The Legislature made it clear that the County is not committed to any further action regarding the property, that tonight's action is not a decision to sell the property, and that any future decision regarding sale of the property will only be considered upon completion of the coordinated SEQR process.

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postheadericon Tompkins County Achieves National Recognition as Top Digital County

bunker_120Tompkins County has been recognized as one of the nation's top digital counties by the Center for Digital Government and the National Association of Counties (NACo).  The award identifies best technology practices among counties nationwide, recognizing leading examples of counties that use technology to improve services and boost efficiencies.

The top-ten ranking was based on the County's digital achievements in the categories of civic engagement; policy; operations; and technology and data.  These achievements include innovative use of digital records scanning technology through an enterprise documents management system, a digital approach that saved the County $5.5 million over a physical records facility.

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postheadericon County Legislature Highlights

County Opts Back in for Solar, Alternative Energy Exemption
Following a public hearing, the Legislature voted to repeal a Local Law passed in 2012 that opts out of a section of State Real Property Tax Law providing exemptions related to construction of solar, wind or farm waste energy systems.  The vote to repeal came without dissent, with Legislators Leslyn McBean-Clairborne and Kathy Luz Herrera excused.

While Assessment Director Jay Franklin has advised that construction of such residential systems has had no effect on property assessments, leaders and supporters of the Solar Tompkins program have indicated that status of the 15-year solar exemption has been a repeated concern among those who are considering participation in the program.  At the hearing, nearly a dozen people urged restoration of the exemption.

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postheadericon Robertson Raises Over $451,000 Dollars In Q2

robertson13_120Congressional candidate Martha Robertson raised more than $451,000 in the second quarter of 2014, bringing her total cash-on-hand to almost 1.13 million in her race against incumbent Tom Reed in New York’s 23rd District. This impressive result continues to narrow the small cash-on-hand advantage Congressman Reed has over Robertson.

Robertson’s campaign filed a report Tuesday showing she has raised more than $1,500,000 for the cycle and has more than $1,129,000 cash-on-hand. More than 6,000 individuals have given to Robertson’s campaign, with 95% of the donors to the campaign having given $250 or less.

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postheadericon Reed Votes To Keep Highway Construction Moving

capitalbuilding_120Tom Reed voted Tuesday to keep road and construction projects moving forward throughout the summer and next year with the Highway and Transportation Funding Act. The bill keeps the fund from drying up and halting projects by putting together policies with a strong history of bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. It passed in the House with a strong bipartisan vote of 367-55.

“The bipartisan bill we voted for today will keep jobs in place and avoid construction project delays,” Reed said. “It’s important we keep local road repairs going and make sure local project contracts are able to continue – especially through these busy travel months during the summer. Making sure the Highway Trust Fund is there for generations to come is something I care about and something I’m committed to protecting.”

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