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posticon Unfunded State Mandates Onerous for Local Law Enforcement

News | Friday, November 15, 2019 | By Dan Veaner Print
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Sheriff Office

So-called 'fixes' in this year's New York State's criminal justice reform bill have raised red flags from law enforcement and district attorneys across the state.  Even progressive State Attorney General Letitia James has expressed concerns, saying there are big problems with the 'fixes' and that her office will need half a million dollars next year alone, and millions more in the following years to comply with immediate discovery requirements.  The reform bill is an unfunded state mandate that will make it harder to take criminals off the streets, as well as taking officers off patrol to collate evidence and write reports in what many law enforcement agencies say is an unreasonable time frame.  Here in Tompkins County Sheriff Derek Osbourne says he is not ready to ask the County Legislature for more money or manpower... yet. 

"I think it's going to be a process of seeing what it does to us come January 1st and experiencing it," Osborne says. "Because right now it's a great unknown. We can predict how we think it's going to happen, but, until we live it, it's going to be hard to say. So I think we're going to need all next year just to see how it goes. I wouldn't be comfortable asking for more staffing because of this legislation right now. We may have to shift assignments around in the Sheriff's office to accommodate the changes."

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posticon Village Begins Crafting Airbnb Law

News | Friday, November 15, 2019 | By Dan Veaner Print
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Village of Lansing Airbnb Law

The Village of Lansing Planning Board began considering an amendment to Village law that would regulate short term rentals (STR) such as Airbnb.  The discussion was prompted by several complaints by neighbors of an Airbnb home on Oakcrest Road, and then by a request by the owners to host events there (that was not approved).  The discussion focused on whether short term rentals should be subject to licensing, should be restricted in terms of how many days per year they are allowed, how a potential law could reasonably be enforced, safety, and how Airbnb-type rentals impact residential neighborhoods and interact with Village zoning.

"The biggest issue is preserving the character of the neighborhood for the people who live there and also understanding that this rental model is beloved and profitable," said Planning Board member Carolyn Greenwald. "There's a lot of benefit, but you have to preserve those neighborhoods as well. So that is the balance. That is what this is really about."

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posticon Lansing Village Cottages Gets Preliminary Go-ahead

News | Friday, November 15, 2019 | By Dan Veaner Print
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Lansing Village Cottages

The Village of Lansing Planning board Monday approved a preliminary plat proposed by Beer properties, LLC for a project they are calling Lansing Village Cottages.  The proposed cluster development would be comprised of 38 rental duplex cottages on 41.19 of land between Craft Road and Bush Lane.  The project includes park lands, walking paths, and 4.56 acres of 'forever wild' land with paths that tenants can walk along. 

Two weeks ago a number of neighbors from Millcroft Road attended a public hearing to oppose the project, largely on the grounds of traffic, connecting their road to a new road in the Beers' development, and saying that they were restricted to conditions of the 'Millcroft Covenant' when they bought their homes, and now feel "betrayed" because the Covenant was removed from the Beer property that was originally to be future phases of the Millcroft development.  But Village Attorney William Troy advised that the covenant was a private agreement between the former developer and the homeowners, thus not under the jurisdiction of the Planning board.

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posticon More Than 21,450 Tickets During Halloween Week

News | Friday, November 15, 2019 | By New York State Governor's Office Print
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State Police issued 21,467 tickets and arrested 280 people for impaired driving during the annual Halloween Enforcement Campaign, which began on October 25, 2019 and continued through Friday November 1, 2019. In addition, other law enforcement throughout the state issued 40,272 tickets for various traffic violations, including impaired driving, speeding, distracted driving, seat belt infractions and move over law violations. The enforcement campaign was funded by the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee.

"This effort ensured a safer Halloween by preventing the needless tragedies that are caused by those who choose to drive while impaired," said Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. "New York has zero tolerance for impaired drivers and, as the results of this campaign show, those who choose to drink and drive will be arrested."

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posticon More Than 1,000 Tickets Statewide During Operation Hardhat

News | Friday, November 15, 2019 | By New York State Governor's Office Print
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The New York State Police issued a total of 1,048 tickets statewide during special traffic enforcement details targeting motorists who drive recklessly through work zones. 'Operation Hardhat' is a joint initiative between State Police, the New York State Department of Transportation and the New York State Thruway Authority, to crack down on work zone violations and highlight the importance of safe driving when encountering construction, maintenance and emergency operations along state highways.

"Our first responders and highway workers are out every day for one reason - to ensure the rest of us can get where we need to go safely," Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said. "Please use common sense and put away smart phones, slow down and move over for those working on our roads. Those who drive recklessly and endanger others will be held accountable."

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posticon County Legislature Highlights

News | Friday, November 15, 2019 | By Marcia E. Lynch Print
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Tompkins County 2020 Budget Adopted
Concluding a process that began more than two months ago, the Tompkins County Legislature tonight adopted the County's 2020 Budget and the 2020-2024 Tompkins County Capital Program. The budget was approved by unanimous vote. There were no amendments to the Tentative Budget before adoption.

The $193.5 million budget, which includes $93.0 million in net local spending, increases the County tax levy by 2.75%. The tax rate of $6.31 per thousand is down by 10 cents (-1.70%) from 2019, representing an increase of $11.41 in the tax bill for the median-valued $190,000 county home. The levy increase falls below the County's tax cap of approximately 5.41%, as calculated by New York State.

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posticon Sciencenter Employees Unionize

News | Friday, November 15, 2019 | By Sciencenter Print
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Last month Sciencenter employees voted to unionize. Last Friday Sciencenter announced that the ballots of the October 24 election held at the Sciencenter by the National Labor Relations Board revealed that of the non-challenged voters who cast ballots, the vote was unanimous for staff to be represented by Workers United, SEIU.

"The Sciencenter management is pleased by the fact that nearly everyone who was eligible to vote did so," the announcement reads. "Now that the union has been certified, management looks forward to the next step of negotiating in good faith for a first collective bargaining agreement."

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posticon First-In-The-Nation 50-Mile Drone Corridor Created

News | Friday, November 15, 2019 | By New York State Governor's Office Print
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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the completion of the state supported 50-mile unmanned traffic management drone corridor Tuesday. The corridor runs from Central New York to the Mohawk Valley. The first-in-the-nation corridor is the most advanced drone testing corridor in the nation. With the needed infrastructure now in place, companies will be able to test both unmanned aerial systems platforms and UTM technologies in real world settings, generating data that will inform the industry and regulators and taking us one step closer towards the routine commercial use of drones. The completion of the corridor advances the regions' collective strategy to accelerate and support emerging uses of UAS in key industries, including agriculture and forest management, transportation and logistics, media and film development, utilities and infrastructure and public safety. At the Syracuse International Airport, the Governor today also announced that the home of the innovative GENIUS NY UAS competition, the Tech Garden in Downtown Syracuse, will undergo a major expansion project to include the addition of two floors to the existing facility. The increased visibility and street-scape will serve as the anchor of the Syracuse's City Center Innovation Hub, a core component of the Syracuse Surge strategy, and will serve as the gateway to the "Innovation Alley" on Warren Street in Syracuse. Empire State Development is assisting the expansion project with up to $12.5 million made available through the regionally designed CNY Rising Upstate Revitalization Initiative plan.

"The completion of the 50-mile drone corridor is a groundbreaking achievement that caps a key strategy laid out in our CNY Rising plan to make Central New York and the Mohawk Valley a global center for UAS testing and innovation," Cuomo said. "Additionally, the Tech Garden expansion in Syracuse will further our efforts to draw forward-thinking industry entrepreneurs, including within the UAS industry, to the area ensuring the region continues to rise for decades to come."

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posticon Veteran Suicide Rate Count Bill Introduced

News | Friday, November 15, 2019 | By Office of NYS Senator Pam Helming Print
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Citing the epidemic of veterans' suicide, New York State Senator Pam Helming has introduced legislation that would require coroners and medical examiners to count information regarding the veteran's status of anyone who takes his or her own life. Currently, coroners complete a death certificate after every unattended or suspicious passing. This new legislation would amend the form they currently complete to have them check off a box if the veteran's status of the decedent is known.

"We have an epidemic of veteran suicide facing our country and state. Yet, we still do not know just how big the problem is because of the difficulty gathering facts about this issue. Every time I visit a veterans' group anywhere in my district I hear about this problem. However, current law does not address this issue and there is not enough data available for lawmakers, veterans' advocates, public health officials, or community members to properly address the root causes of this problem. The data gathered using this new tool will be critical for the success of our anti-suicide efforts. We should and we must do more to honor the service and sacrifice of our veterans. This is just one small step forward, but together, we can end the veteran suicide crisis and ensure that those who have bravely served our country get the help and support they need to succeed," said Helming.

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posticon LGBTQ Vets Get State Benefits Restored

News | Friday, November 15, 2019 | By New York State Governor's Office Print
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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation (S.45B/A.8097) Tuesday enacting The Restoration of Honor Act, giving LGBTQ veterans who were denied an honorable discharge because of their sexual orientation or gender identity the right to apply to have their New York State veterans' benefits restored. Under Don't Ask Don't Tell and similar policies hundreds of thousands of veterans received less than honorable discharges. As a result of that those individuals are ineligible for veterans' benefits. While military discharge decisions can only be formally changed by the federal government, The Restoration of Honor Act allows these veterans to apply to claim their New York State benefits.

"Countless service members were discharged from the military simply because of who they are. Adding insult to injury, they were then denied the services and benefits they earned as members of our armed forces who fought to protect our country and defend our ideals,"Cuomo said. "With this measure we are righting that wrong and sending a message to LGBTQ veterans that we have their backs, just as they had ours."

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posticon $5 Million Available For Animal Shelter Improvement Projects

News | Friday, November 15, 2019 | By New York State Governor's Office Print
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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced an additional $5 million is available to support critical upgrades at New York's animal shelters. This is the third round of funding for the New York State Companion Animal Capital Fund, which will allow eligible organizations to make major improvements to their facilities to enhance animal care and health. A total of $15 million has been dedicated to the program since 2017.

"Over the last two years, this program has provided animal shelters with the funding needed to ensure New York's pets receive the care they need," Cuomo said. "Today's continued funding builds on the ongoing work to help expand the resources and tools these facilities, employees and volunteers need to help find pets loving homes."

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posticon Local Governments Levy $36.6 Billion In Property Taxes

News | Friday, November 15, 2019 | By New York State Comptroller's Office Print
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Local governments in New York levied a total of $36.6 billion in property taxes in 2019 – an increase of 2.4 percent over 2018, according to a report released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Annual property tax levy increases have slowed significantly since 2005 and dipped below 2 percent in 2015, where they remained until 2019.

"Taxpayers want to know how their taxes compare to other municipalities and whether their local officials are holding the line on tax increases," DiNapoli said. "Overall, municipalities have generally held property tax levy growth to below 2 percent for the last few years."

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posticon National Grid Certificate To Operate Downstate Gas Franchise May Be Revoked

News | Friday, November 15, 2019 | By New York State Governor's Office Print
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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo issued a letter to National Grid CEO John Pettigrew and President John Bruckner Tuesday giving 14 days notice of New York State's intent to revoke National Grid's certificate to operate its downstate gas franchise. The Governor came to this conclusion following National Grid's failure to provide "adequate and reliable service," including failing to address supply issues, neglecting the needs of their customers, stalling private development, and the associated diminution of tax revenues to local governments.

The full text of the letter is below:

Dear Mr. Pettigrew and Mr. Bruckner,

This letter is to give you 14 days notice of my intention to have New York State move to revoke National Grid's certificate to operate its downstate gas franchise.

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posticon Reed Honored For Bipartisan Work

News | Friday, November 15, 2019 | By Office of Congressman Tom Reed Print
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Washington, DC - Congressman Tom Reed accepted an award from the Leon Panetta Institute this weekend honoring his years of public service and bipartisan spirit while representing both the American people and his own constituents.

Panetta is an American politician who has served in several different public offices, including the Secretary of Defense, Director of the CIA, White House Chief of Staff, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and as a U.S. Representative from California.

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