January 2021 TCCOG Report

Monthly Report

Tompkins County Council of Governments

January 13, 2021

by Councilperson Robert Lynch, Enfield TCCOG Representative

The Tompkins County Council of Governments (TCCOG) met December 17, 2020.  No Resolutions were adopted.  However, two matters were discussed.

Most importantly, TCCOG members discussed whether to form an Intermunicipal Broadband Committee to study the planning and potential implementation of the County-led study to expand rural Internet access in cooperation with the non-profit Southern Tier Network.  The Enfield Town Board, by Resolution adopted last fall, contributed $5,000 toward that $80,000 study initiative.

As TCCOG members left their discussions, a planning group, led by (now) former Caroline Councilperson Irene Weiser, was tasked with deciding the Committee’s composition.  TCCOG member consensus pointed toward formation of two planning groups; one to discuss technical aspects of broadband expansion; the other to address policy considerations.

Complicating subsequent progress was Councilperson Weiser’s sudden resignation from the Caroline Town Board, and consequently TCCOG as well.  Caroline Supervisor Mark Witmer has taken over responsibility for now.  On January 11th, Supervisor Witmer wrote me that he, Ithaca Town Supervisor Rod Howe, and Tompkins County planning staff met a week earlier, and County planners said they hoped to release within the next few days a description of the committee’s (or committees‘) responsibilities and functions.  Supervisor Witmer advised me that:  “In accord with the sentiment from our December TCCOG meeting, there was consensus that all TCCOG municipalities should be entitled to representation, which would allow for up to 16 members on the committee.”

As matters unfold, I will keep you informed.  At the December meeting, I’d suggested that our then-Councilperson Michael Miles be on the technical committee, if one were formed.  Now, with Miles’ departure from our Board, that possibility remains somewhat in doubt.

The second item discussed December 17th concerned the prospect of transferring “addressing” (that is, house numbering) responsibilities from individual towns to the County government.  An advantage was seen in enabling intermunicipal coordination, particularly to aid in EMS response.  There was no talk of renumbering any existing addresses, only coordination in the designation of house numbers when new parcels are subdivided or developed.

House numbering, all admitted, is a sensitive issue.  “It’s a life changing event to change your address,” the initiative’s lead spokesman, the Town of Ithaca’s Mark Moseley, said.

TCCOG next meets February 25th.

Robert Lynch, Councilperson

Enfield TCCOG Representative