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Legislature Votes to Limit Purchases of Single-Use Plastic and Expanded Polystyrene Foam Items in County Government
Legislators approved unanimously a resolution to limit the purchase of Single-use Plastic and Expanded Polystyrene Foam items in Tompkins County Government. These items include dishes, utensils, straws, cups and water bottles, etc. Legislator Deborah Dawson says it's important for County government to reduce purchasing these items in the first place, and lead by example in its efforts toward becoming more sustainable. County Administration will develop an environmental procurement policy to implement the resolution no later than April 30th.

Barbara Eckstrom, the County Director of Recycling and Materials Management, told the Legislature product stewardship – or holding manufacturers responsible for their products' end of life - will continue to be a focus at the state level.

Among other business:

  • County Finance Director Rick Snyder presented the November Sales Tax Report, which shows the County's portion of sales tax distributions for November was up 6.4% compared to a year earlier. As of the end of November, year-do-date sales tax distributions were up by more than 4% from 2018.
  • County Administrator Jason Molino briefed Legislators on recent discussions with the City of Ithaca and the Downtown Ithaca Alliance over a conference center project downtown. The project was awarded $5 million in mid-December as part of the latest round of state economic development grants. Although describing it as a 'loose and broad' project right now without a lot of specifics, Molino says it's likely some decisions will be made as soon as February. One option to help fund a conference would be to have the County ask the state to increase the countywide room occupancy tax by 1%, to 6%. This would require County Legislature approval.
  • The Legislature voted 13 to 1 (Legislator Glenn Morey voting no) to ask the State legislature to extend the additional one percent sales tax rate in Tompkins County in addition to the three percent authorization all New York State Counties possess by law. The authorization expires November 30, 2020 and must be extended by the State legislature every two years.