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February 28, 2020 Issue  
Lansing, New York  
Volume 16, Issue 9

posticon Town Ponders Large Solar Array Issues

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Lansing Farm Land

While the Town of Lansing continues to craft its local law to amend the Land Use Ordinance relating to solar and wind energy systems, the main issues that have arisen are protection of Lansing's prime farm land, and how tax exemptions or PILOTs (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) might impact revenues to the town and other local taxing authorities.  Tompkins County Director of Assessment Jay Franklin was at last week's Town Board meeting to address tax exemptions, and Lansing Agriculture Committee Chair Connie Wilcox spoke to the impact on local farmers.

"I can't stress enough that people need to understand that the food doesn't appear on your table from waiting in the checkout line," Wilcox said.  "Even for vegetarians and vegans the food has to come from someplace. And your farmers are the ones that are providing it.  We're getting fewer and fewer farms in New York State all the time. So we have to be very judicious with how we treat that land and what we do."

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posticon Village Solars To Get Waiver Waived

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Village Solars

After approaching the Lansing Town Board last week, Rocco and Steve Lucente asked the Planning Board Monday for a waiver to their Planned Development Area (PDA) that will allow them to build a new residential building at the same time as a community center at their Village Solars project.  The waiver returns the project to its original schedule that was in place prior to a waiver granted in August to delay the community center to allow time to see if they could make a deal that would expand the whole project, which would have meant a much larger community center.  Since that deal did not come to pass, the Lucentes asked to be able to construct a residential building at the same time the smaller community center is under construction.

"This would bring us back to our original plan," Rocco Lucente said. "It would bring us back to the schedule that we had been planning on uh, prior to our last waiver. And the reasoning for it is that we need to be able to construct two buildings at a time in order to keep our work crews going full year 'round. We have about 50 full time equivalent (FTE) employees working on the site. And in order to get the kind of scale that that we need in order to get them the kind of work that they need, we need to do two buildings a year."

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posticon Sheriff Seeks Help Finding Agava Stabbing Suspect

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sheriff agava suspectSecurity camera photograph of the suspect and baseball hat
On 02/26/2020 at 11:50 PM Tompkins County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the Agava Restaurant located on Pine Tree Road in the Town of Ithaca for a reported stabbing. Upon arrival, deputies learned that two people were stabbed during an altercation.

Preliminary investigations indicate that during the altercation, a bystander, 21 year old Cornell student Nick Hudson, attempted to intervene and was subsequently stabbed. The altercation continued and another subject, 26 year old Daquan Graves, was stabbed before the suspect fled the scene in an unknown direction. A prior statement from the Cornell University Police indicated that a suspect vehicle, a white Nissan Altima, was later located unattended in Lansing. The Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office does not have any information to substantiate this report.

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posticon Myrick Endorses Murtagh for Assembly

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Seph Murtagh, Svante MyrickSeph Murtagh (left), Svante Myrick

On a snowy morning Thursday, Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick held a press conference to endorse City of Ithaca Common Councilman Seph Murtagh (D) for the 125th New York Assembly District seat.  Myrick noted he has worked with Murtagh for over a decade in the city government.  Myrick said Murtagh is smart and engaged with a strong work ethic who would take up many of the same issues as Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, who announced last month that she would not be running for another term, has advocated for.

"The district's been represented extremely well by Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton for the better part of two decades," Myrick said. "She's been a leader on education and the environment especially, it's been a true friend to our city delivering on infrastructure projects and cultural projects supporting the arts, and the quality of life here in the Ithaca.  So the race to replace her is very important to us. It matters very much who represents our interests in Albany. We need somebody who's progressive, somebody who's going to champion the environment, somebody who's going to fight for more affordable housing and lower taxes. Somebody who works hard, who has a work ethic that just radiates off of them. Who takes every constituent email seriously. Somebody who's looked up to by their peers, respected by their colleagues. We need city Councilman Seph Murtagh to represent us in 125th Assembly District."

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posticon New York Has 9th Highest Property Taxes

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Houses

It shouldn't come as any surprise that New York State has the 9th highest real estate property taxes in the United States.  In a new Wallethub analysis New York came in 43rd out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.  The study reports that the Real-Estate Tax on Median state home value is $5,157, 147.5% higher than the Real-Estate Tax on Median US home value.  new York is tied with 23 other states for having the lowest vehicle property tax rate - zero.

Experts say you should consider property taxes when deciding to move to a new community.  That is certainly true for retirees on a fixed income.  There is no point in buying a less expensive home if the annual taxes are a significant percentage of your income.

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