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Highlights of the June 18, 2024 meeting of the Tompkins County Legislature

Strategic Operations Plan Adopted by the Tompkins County Legislature

The Tompkins County Legislature adopted a 2024-2029 Strategic Operations Plan following over a year of planning efforts and community engagement by County staff, aided by consultants from BerryDunn. The plan was adopted unanimously by a vote of 13-0 (Legislators Deborah Dawson (D-Lansing) and Lee Shurtleff (R-Groton) excused.

Legislator Randy Brown (R-Newfield) inquired about how the implementation of such a detailed and involved plan would occur, to which County Administrator Lisa Holmes responded that the work has already begun to plan for implementation with departments via detailed action steps. Legislator Mike Sigler (R-Lansing) commented that much of what can be found in the plan is “already happening,” asking why it needed to be adopted in this fashion – Holmes responded that this codifies the priorities and values of the County, based in large part on the input of Legislators and that it is useful when considering budget decisions in the future. Legislator Amanda Champion (D-Ithaca) added that this helps give direction to the Legislature and staff when new ideas or challenges arise.

Legislator Greg Mezey cited that the plan calls for a “data-driven” approach to County government operations, arguing that data and performance measures are indicative of a new approach worthy of adoption. Legislator Shawna Black (D-Ithaca) commented on the “countless hours” of staff work and community engagement that led to the plan being considered by the Legislature.

For more information on the Strategic Plan, visit the recent press release announcing its adoption.

Tompkins Cortland Community College Presents a 2024 College Update and 2025 Budget Information

The Tompkins County Legislature heard an update from Amy Kremenek, president of Tompkins Cortland Community College. It was reported that there have been four consecutive semesters of increased enrollment, with enrollment up nearly 16% for the incoming Fall 2024 students. The College has increased its offerings with several new “microcredentials,” short programs meant to deliver professional training to students based on the current needs of local employers. County contributions (From Tompkins and Cortland) total 30% of the College’s revenue, student revenue is 37% and State aid is 28%. Tompkins County contributed $3,025,000 to the College in 2024, 67% of the total local County contributions. College staff outlined new facilities improvements being made including STEM and Engineering labs, which are supported by SUNY. 

Among Other Business

Legislators celebrated the 250th birthday of Governor Daniel D. Tompkins, the namesake of Tompkins County. Former County Historian Carol Kammen joined the celebration to give a brief historical recap of Tompkins’ life. Kammen’s comments detailed his parallel political career with Dewitt Clinton, who also served as New York State Governor. Daniel Tompkins was a member of the Constitutional Convention, a State Assemblyperson and Senator, a State Supreme Court Justice, Governor, and ultimately Vice President of the United States. Tompkins’ leadership in New York State claims the Abolition Act which ended slavery in 1827 and attempts to protect Haudenosaunee land from speculators. According to Kammen, the naming of Tompkins County was done in honor of Daniel and his service to New York. State Senator Lea Webb commemorated the occasion with a State proclamation and comments, stating “One of the things that struck me is his legacy as a public servant, it’s not too often that elected officials have experience in every branch of government…” Webb also remarked on Tompkins’ work creating pathways for progress around various issues, including education, criminal justice reform, and making sure people have access to government to address daily needs. Legislator Mike Lane (D-Dryden), who helped to organize the celebration added comments about Tompkins’ legacy, “We’d probably be Canadian if not for his efforts as Governor to shore up the New York border during the war of 1812.”

The union contract with the Corrections Officers’ bargaining unit was ratified for the period of 2018 – 2025 unanimously by a vote of 13-0 (Legislators Deborah Dawson (D-Lansing) and Lee Shurtleff (R-Groton) excused.