County reserve funds earmarked for land preservation initiatives

Tompkins Weekly Staff


Photo by Kelsey O’Connor / The Ithaca Voice
The Tompkins County Legislature during a meeting.

Two local projects got a boost from the Tompkins County Legislature last week.

At their meeting, legislators OK’d funds for the West Hill Wildway-Babcock acquisition near Coy Glen in the Town of Ithaca, and the Black Diamond Trail Buffer-Reynolds Buffer Protection Project in the Town of Ulysses. The money was appropriated from the Capital Reserve Fund for Natural, Scenic, and Recreational Resource Protection; legislators Dave McKenna, Shawna Black, and Will Burbank were excused.

For the Black Diamond Trail Buffer, $15,000 in capital reserve funds were allocated to assist the Finger Lakes Land Trust in purchasing 12 acres of land in Ulysses to ensure long-term protection of woodlands bordering the Black Diamond Trail and the Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway.

For the West Hill Wildway, $5,000 was allocated to assist the Land Trust with project costs associated with acquiring 70 acres of property off Culver Road in the Town of Ithaca – to buffer Coy Glen and connect Cornell University’s Coy Glen holdings with Town of Ithaca conservation lands located on Culver Road.

In other business: The Legislature learned that the State Public Service Commission has unanimously approved NYSEG’s compressor proposal to address energy and economic development needs as an alternative to the proposed West Dryden Road natural gas pipeline. At the meeting, Caroline town Councilperson Irene Weiser reported on the PSC decision, which came in response to the local initiative out of the County’s Energy and Economic Development Task Force. NYSEG’S compressor solution will place four pressure boosters at strategic locations along the existing gas distribution system to ensure operating pressure in the Lansing service area stays at safe operating levels during very cold, high-heating-demand days, expected to be installed in time for the 2018-19 heating season. The Legislature had voted unanimously to support NYSEG’s compressor proposal, and Tompkins County Area Development had also supported the plan.

n A public hearing was scheduled for the Legislature’s next meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, December 5, on a proposed local law that would repeal the local law that had authorized override of the county’s Tax Levy Limit for 2018. The approved 2018 budget did not exceed the Tax Levy Limit; eliminating need for the prior law.
n The Legislature awarded $79,650 in Fall 2017 Community Celebrations, Tourism Project, New Tourism Initiative, and Tourism Marketing and Advertising grants, as advised by the County’s Strategic Tourism Planning Board and funded through County Room Occupancy Tax Revenues. Strategic Tourism Implementation Funding in the amount of $28,000 was also approved for the History Center in Tompkins County in support of the Tompkins Center for History and Culture project.