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TOMPKINS COUNTY LEGISLATURE

Governor Daniel D. Tompkins Building
121 E. Court Street
Ithaca, NY  14850
(607) 274-5434
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Tompkins County Legislator

 

 Michael E. Lane (D)
District 14, Eastern Part of the Town of Dryden
Chair of the Legislature

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"Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing."
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

             Mike Lane is the Chair of the Tompkins County Legislature, having been first elected in 2014.  He has been unanimously re-elected each year since then.  Mike was first elected to the Legislature in 1993. He served three consecutive terms (12 years) during which he was Vice Chair for nine (1997-2005).  After a one-term hiatus, he was returned to the Legislature twice (8 years), serving again as Vice Chair in 2013.  Mike is dedicated to effectively serving the people of Dryden and Freeville, and all of Tompkins County.

              During 2017, Mike is also chairing the County Transportation Committee that is taking a hard look at all forms of present and future transportation needs in the County, including highways, air service, mass transit, trails, and electric automobiles.  He also chairs the Old Library Committee that has been working to affect a sale of that unused building to a private developer who will replace it with a mixed-use project that will add to the County’s real property tax base.  Mike also served on and was a past chair of the Charter Review Committee.  That Committee reviewed and made amendments to the County Charter that were recently adopted by the full Legislature.  Among other things, the Charter now provides for future redistricting of Legislature seats by an independent commission.

             Mike is the County’s representative to the Tompkins County Council of Governments.  That organization brought forth the County’s innovative Health Care Consortium that has provided saving for taxpayers in all levels of local government.  Currently the group is studying and taking the lead on potential consolidation of energy purchasing, rural emergency services, the local court system, and police services.  

             Mike Lane formerly chaired the Capital Plan Review Committee that developed a County’s 20-year plan showing foreseeable capital projects and a funding proposal to insure resources are set aside annually for bond and interest payments. That Committee also oversaw the project that refurbished the Human Services Annex building on Martin Luther King, Jr./State Street, which has become the new home of the County Office for the Aging (COFA); it also led a project in compliance with State Office of Court Administration mandates to renovate the second floor of the Governor Daniel D. Tompkins Building into new chambers for the County Legislature.

              Mike Lane has a keen interest in Economic Development to create good paying jobs for County residents. He well understands that the key to keeping Tompkins County’s economy vibrant and holding down real property taxes is to encourage reasonable economic growth.  He chaired the Tompkins County Industrial Development Agency for four years where he was a proponent of using targeted tax incentives to foster the development of new jobs in the manufacturing sector that pay a living wage or better.  During 2013, Mike also served on the on the Economic Development Committee.

             Mike believes that we must protect the environment for future generations.  Along with other Legislators he opposed allowing slick water hydrofacking here because of its unknown health and environmental impacts, the potential damage to County roads and infrastructure, and the increase in taxes that such heavy industrialization could require to pay for associated demands on public safety, health and social services.  Renewable energy resources are the key to the future.  Wind, solar, and water-generated electric should be encouraged but always with an eye to the protection of greenspaces for their beauty and recreational opportunities.

             After returning to the Legislature, Mike served on the Facilities and Infrastructure Committee.  He previously chaired that Committee, which oversees the Department of Public Works and the Facilities Department, as well as the Solid Waste Department and Airport enterprises.  These provide basic services to our community including road, bridge and building maintenance, recycling, and trash disposal.  The large budgets involved require constant vigilance to ensure people receive reasonable services at reasonable cost.

             For three years, Mike was the Chairman of the Tompkins County Planning and Environmental Quality Committee. That Committee handled not only planning issues but environmental matters as well.  Under his leadership, the County’s initiative for planning for vital communities was conceived and funded.  That initiative formed a basis for the County’s Comprehensive Plan.  The Committee also completely reorganized the Water Resources Council and the Environmental Management Council, both of which continue to provide excellent advice to the Legislature.  Other projects that were overseen by that Committee were the designation and plan for the Scenic By-way around Cayuga Lake, and the Cayuga Lake Waterfront Revitalization Plan.

             In 2010 and 2011, Mike chaired the County’s Government Operations Committee.  That Committee oversees many County departments, such as County Administration, Assessment, Information Technologies, and Libraries, to name a few.   In 2011, and continuing into 2012, Mike was a strong proponent of an independent redistricting process for seats on the County Legislature.  A non-partisan group of citizens volunteered and was appointed to serve on a special commission created for that purpose.  That Independent Redistricting Commission produced a final report and recommendations that were adopted by the full Legislature.  The report recommended a reduction from 15 to 14 districts and redrew district lines in several parts of the County.

              Mike chaired three previous Committees (1994-1995, 2001-2002, 2005) that examined the functions of the County Charter.  While chairing the Government Operations Committee after the 2000 federal census, Mike led that Committee through legislative redistricting for the 2001 election.  In 2010, he was a member of the “full count” Census Committee.

              Mike Lane previously served on the County Budget Committee, which expands each fall to review the budget requests of all departments and to craft a budget for the next year.  In a time of slow recovery with declining sales tax revenues and increased demand for services, it is a monumental task to provide for the safety and welfare of our citizens, for the maintenance of our highways, bridges, and buildings, and to protect the most vulnerable among us.  The County struggles with its reduced workforce and a State-imposed real property tax cap to meet the requirements of State mandated services such as Medicaid, Safety Net, and other social services, and to support youth and mental health services, and prisoner and probation services, all for the County’s at-risk populations.

             Mike serves as the liaison from the Tompkins County Legislature to the Board of Trustees of the Tompkins Cortland Community College.  He previously chaired the two-county Financial Oversight Committees, which worked with the College to oversee or commence nearly $30 million in capital improvements there.  Mike is also the liaison from the County Legislature to the Tompkins County Public Library’s Board of Trustees that provides programing and library services throughout our County.

             As a past member of the Communications Capital Project Committee, Mike worked on projects such as the authorization of the 911 Emergency Communications Building, and the upgrading of the County’s public safety communications system.  In 1996, he chaired the Rural/Urban Coordination Committee that worked extensively to increase cooperation among municipalities regarding issues as varied as purchasing, police, and highway services.  Those issues continue to be addressed to this day through our County’s participation in the Tompkins County Council of Governments.

             Mike Lane is a life resident of the Village of Dryden.  He is a product of and is committed to the kind of common sense values that are so much a part of the Dryden and Freeville communities.   For Mike, community values means knowing your neighbors, and working together with them to create safe and happy communities that are affordable. To encourage families to live here and to grow here, taxes must be reasonable and services must be available.  Mike believes we are blessed to live in this beautiful locale where residences, schools, businesses and farms can thrive together.  We must be vigilant to protect our environment in a way that fosters the best interests of people.

             Mike was Mayor of the Village of Dryden for five terms and Village Trustee before that (1979-1991).  Among his accomplishments as mayor, was the planning for and obtaining federal and state funding for a $1.2 million upgrade of the Village’s wastewater treatment plant and obtaining a $400,000 federal Community Development Block Grant for targeted rehabilitation to upgrade housing stock for low to moderate income homeowners.

             Mike Lane was the mayor of the Village of Dryden in 1981 when a severe flash flood devastated a substantial portion of the Dryden and Freeville area.  That began a 17-year quest for a flood control project to protect the village area, and the lands downstream including Freeville, from a recurrence of such a disaster.  In 1998, the $2 million federally funded “Dr. Donald H. Crispell Flood Control Project” on Virgil Creek was completed. That project provides substantial protection from flooding.  It represents the best in inter-municipal cooperation having required the negotiating of agreements with the USDA Soil and Water Conservation Service, Tompkins and Cortland Counties, the Town and Village of Dryden, the Town of Harford, and the Soil and Water Conservation Districts of both counties.

               Mike Lane is a lifelong resident of the Village and Town of Dryden. He is a graduate of Dryden Central School.  He earned his B.A. from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and his J.D. from the University of Akron, School of Law. He is an attorney.  He established a civil practice in Dryden Village in 1979. He is active in his community, serving as Trustee and Secretary of The Southworth Library Association, and is a charter member of the Dryden Sertoma Club.  He has been a member of the Dryden Lake Park Committee, the Dryden Bicentennial and Fountain Committees, the Time Square Park Committee.  He chaired the Dryden-Freeville Wastewater Study Commission, which helped plan the sewer system and wastewater plant built in Freeville and an upgrade of the Dryden wastewater treatment plant.


Legislators are elected and serve for four years. Current terms run from 2014 through 2017.