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Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Program Plan

Policy Statement

Tompkins County is committed to equally serving all persons in all County programs, services, or activities without discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, or any other status protected by law. The purpose of the County’s ADA Program Plan is to set forth Tompkins County’s procedures for ensuring that all County provided programs, services, and activities provide reasonable accessibility for individuals with disabilities, as required by Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which includes the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504.

ADA Coordinator

The County Compliance Officer has executive oversight of the County Compliance Program, including the County’s ADA Plan.

Complaint Procedures

If you believe that you have been excluded from, denied the benefits of, or been subjected to discrimination in any program, service, or activity administered by Tompkins County, you have the right to file a complaint within 180 days of the incident. Learn more about How to File a Complaint.

Program Accessibility

Tompkins County will make all reasonable modifications to policies and programs to ensure that people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to enjoy all of its programs, services, and activities. When making modifications or accommodations, Tompkins County will strive to use methods that result in the most integrated setting, whenever possible. The ADA does not require Tompkins County to take any action that would fundamentally alter the nature of its programs or services, or impose an undue financial or administrative burden.

ADA Transition Plan

Tompkins County will ensure physical accessibility by creating and maintaining an ADA Transition Plan. The Plan will identify:

  • Physical barriers in County Government facilities that limit access to programs, activities, or services;
  • Methods to remove barriers limiting accessibility;
  • A schedule for remediation steps; and
  • An official responsible for the Plan's implementation.

Learn more about the Tompkins County ADA Transition Plan...

Effective Communication

Tompkins County strives to ensure that communication with all clients, program participants, and the general public is effective, regardless of disability. For phone conversations, Tompkins County staff will use New York Relay, a free telephone service provided by New York State that connects calls between a hearing caller and a person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind, or speech-disabled. For in-person interactions, Tompkins County contracts with a third-party provider to schedule American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters as needed. The County can also provide written materials in an alternate format (e.g. Braille or large print) upon request.

Website Accessibility

The Tompkins County website is an important resource for accessing County services, programs, and activities. As such, Tompkins County strives to ensure that its website follows accessible design standards so that people with disabilities can have equal access. Read more about the County’s Website Accessibility.

Service Animals

Tompkins County allows service animals (as defined by ADA) to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of County facilities where the public is normally allowed to go. Services animals are not required to wear a special vest or have documentation, but they must be leashed (unless the person’s disability prevents them from using such a device). Tompkins County can ask for a service animal to be removed if the animal is out of the handler’s control.


The Tompkins County 9-1-1 Communications Center, through the Tompkins County Department of Emergency Response, is able to directly process any 9-1-1 or non-emergency call received via Teletypewriter or Telephone Device for the Deaf (TTY/TDD) from a person who has a speech, hearing, or sight impairment. Emergency Services Dispatchers are trained within the first three weeks of hire on how to use TTY/TDD equipment, and then are tested twice yearly in written format. 9-1-1 Center equipment is tested monthly in compliance with ADA. Emergency Services Dispatchers are also able to process any call made via 7-1-1, the New York Relay Service.

Emergency Management

Tompkins County makes every effort to ensure that its emergency programs and facilities are accessible to people with disabilities. The County’s Department of Emergency Response is responsible for coordinating and overseeing all County emergency preparedness activities including, but not limited to, public education, training, exercises, and drills. During a disaster, the Department of Emergency Response coordinates with local and regional service providers to provide information and deliver services to all County residents, including those with disabilities. In addition, the County has formed the People with Disabilities in Disaster Task Force, a sub-committee of the County’s Emergency Planning Committee, to address the needs of people with disabilities in emergency planning and management.

Additional Resources  

ADA Technical Assistance
Northeast ADA Center
ADA Toolkit for State and Local Governments
Service Animals


For further information regarding the Tompkins County Title VI Program or

the Tompkins County Compliance Program please contact:

Charlene Holmes, Chief Equity & Diversity Officer or Jessi Schmeiske, Risk & Compliance Administrator 
Department of County Administration
125 East Court Street, 3rd Floor
Ithaca, NY 14850
(607) 274-5551