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Appointments to Industrial Development Agency Approved
The Legislature confirmed Chair Martha Robertson's appointments to the Tompkins County Industrial Development Agency for 2018. Approved were four members of the Legislature: Rich John, as Chair of the IDA, and Legislators Robertson, Mike Sigler, and Leslyn McBean-Clairborne. Member-At-Large Laura Lewis (member of City of Ithaca Common Council) was also approved for a two-year term on the IDA. The vote was 10-3, with Legislators Deborah Dawson, Shawna Black, and Henry Granison dissenting (Legislator Anne Koreman was excused). As at the Legislature's last meeting, several members of the public again addressed the Legislature, asking that membership of the IDA include a workers' representative, such as from the Tompkins County Workers Center.

While it was noted that non-legislator members Jennifer Tavares (Tompkins County Area Development representative) and Grace Chiang are continuing in their two-year terms on the IDA, the Legislature learned today that Ms. Chiang is resigning from the IDA, but has agreed to serve until her replacement is appointed. TCAD, which staffs the IDA, will begin the process of seeking potential candidates for the seat.

Legislature Welcomes Administrator Jason Molino
Three months after the departure of retired County Administrator Joe Mareane, Legislature Chair Martha Robertson said the Legislature is pleased and proud to welcome new County Administrator Jason Molino to county government, and looks forward to a long and productive association with Mr. Molino. Repeatedly at the recent New York State Association of Counties Conference, Robertson said, people expressed concern for Joe and admiration for Jason, and how lucky we were to get him, "and we couldn't agree with them more." Chair Robertson also expressed deep thanks to County Attorney Jonathan Wood, who had most recently served as Interim County Administrator. "We really appreciated that you enabled us to keep going," she said.

Administrator Molino thanked the Legislature for the warm welcome. Beginning his first week in the office, the administrator said he is meeting with Legislators and department heads, and will also meet with others within the organization, as well as those in outside agencies.

Finance Director Snyder Reports Favorable Sales Tax Results for 2017
County Finance Director Rick Snyder presented the County Sales Tax report for 2017, reporting the County's share of receipts for the year 2017 at $35,262,872—6.22% above receipts for 2016 and more than $1.8 million dollars above budget. Director Snyder said reconciled fourth-quarter receipts were up by 9.28% compared to the fourth quarter of 2016; he noted that the more than $3.9 million in receipts for December and more than $9.3 million during the fourth quarter represented the strongest showings of their types ever. "This is not only the best December, but the best quarter and the best year that we have on record," he said.

Mr. Snyder said State Comptroller DiNapoli has reported local sales tax collection growth in the State as the highest since 2013, citing improved consumer confidence and stronger, though modest, wage growth; an increase in statewide motor fuel collections, with consumer spending and retail sales conditions for the first three quarters steady to modest, and the fourth quarter ending the year on a strong note.

Director Snyder also reported on the County's sale February 1 of $5,174,000 in one-year Bond Anticipation Notes at a net interest rate of 1.5986% to Oppenheimer & Co., and the sale of $1,825,000 of ten-year Public Improvement (Serial) Bonds at a net interest rate of 2.328% to Roosevelt & Cross, Inc., and Associates. Proceeds of the long- term bonds support Library improvements, phase 4 of the Ellis Hollow Road project, and 2018 road and bridge improvements.

Among other business,

  • Legislators heard from a number of members of the public who expressed deep concern about recent federal ICE raids in the community despite the "Public Safety for All" resolution that the Legislature passed. Some asked that the resolution be revisited and that interactions and arrests be documented, saying they're concerned, in part, about how local farms are being affected.
  • The Legislature approved two standard start-of-year annual resolutions: approving designation of successors to serve in the absence of department heads, and the list of designated officers and employees who are required to file an annual financial disclosure form.
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