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New Five-Year Agreement Authorized with TCAD for Economic Development Services

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New Five-Year Agreement Authorized with TCAD for Economic Development Services

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Legislature authorized County Administrator Jason Molino to execute a new Memorandum of Understanding with Tompkins County Area Development (TCAD) for economic development services, for the years 2019-2023, succeeding the current agreement which expires at the end of this year.  After considerable thoughtful discussion, the measure was approved by a 12-1 vote, with Legislator Leslyn McBean-Clairborne voting no.  (Legislator Dan Klein was excused.)

The new MOU extends the County’s intent to provide support equivalent to one-third of TCAD’s annual budget, based on the agency’s annual work plan—an amount not to exceed $250,410 in 2019 and rising by approximately two percent each year to a level not to exceed $271,052 in 2023.  The agreement continues past practice of funding a portion of the County’s contribution through County room occupancy tax revenue. 

In a change that had been recommended by the Legislature’s Planning, Development and Environmental Quality Committee, and was ultimately approved by the Legislature, the agreement sets the proportion of room tax funding at a maximum of 75% for 2019 then decreases it over time—to 50% in 2020 and 2021, and 25% in 2022 and 2023.  It was the proportion to come from room tax that prompted close to an hour of discussion and a series of proposed alternate amendments—returning to a 55/45% split as initially recommended by the County Administrator; upping the proportion to 35% in the final two years; or setting the funding split now for the first year only with a task force established to study the levels for later years—all of which failed by 7-6 votes, failing to muster the 8 votes required for passage.

The new MOU also involves the PDEQ Committee in review of the annual TCAD work plan; incorporates reference to the agency’s ongoing collaboration with the County on workforce development; and states that the PDEQ Committee will convene a task force no later than 18 months before expiration of the agreement to review the County’s relationship with TCAD and funding strategy to sustain the economic development program.