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posticon Lansing Town Center and the Fate of the Girl's School

News | Friday, June 26, 2020 | By Dan Veaner Print
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The fate of the Lansing Residential Center (LRC), colloquially called 'the Girl's School', is tied to a rosier future for Lansing's Town Center according to an update to the Planning Board Monday by Lansing Town Director of Planning C.J. Randall. Randall said that the Town is in the early stages of deciding whether it would be prudent to take over a sewage treatment (package) plant that currently serves LRC and Finger Lakes Residential Center (FLRC - also known as the 'boy's school'). She said that exploration by some parties of taking over the LRC may bring other benefits to the Town and other interested parties.

"We've been speaking with the New York State Office of General Services about the potential for the Town to take ownership of the waste water treatment facility that is at the Lansing Residential Center, as well as the possible conveyance of the Lansing Residential Center to TST BOCES, which has a lot of interest in that as a possible new campus for them. We're trying to help facilitate that and get a sense of what the full buildout could be if the (Town Center) area could be sewered," Randall said.

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posticon Will Decreased Sales Tax Revenue Impact Lansing Road Projects?

News | Friday, June 26, 2020 | By Dan Veaner Print
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One of the obvious impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic is that when people stay at home, they're not shopping. That has the consequences for municipalities that sales tax revenue goes down. In the Town of Lansing reduced sales tax revenue has the greatest impact on the Highway Department, which gets a large chunk of its annual budget from 80% of the Town's sales tax revenue. At this month's Town Board meeting Councilman Joe Wetmore expressed concern that in the wake of an estimated 30% reduction of sales tax revenue, that the Town should think about cutting projects anticipated for this year.

But Supervisor Ed LaVigne countered that the Town coffers are in very good shape due to conservative budgeting and a fund balance policy that allows up to six months-worth of operating expenses. He said he has consulted with Highway Superintendent Charlie 'Cricket' Purcell, and they are keeping a close eye on revenues. LaVigne said Purcell has identified projects that can be put on hold if the money doesn't come in as expected, but he advocated a 'wait and see' approach, rather than cutting road maintenance and other projects that may not need to be cut.

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posticon Kelles / Lifton Flap Erupts Day Before Primary

News | Friday, June 26, 2020 | By -Staff Print
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The day before Tuesday's Democratic primary Assembly District 125 election a flap between retiring NYS Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton and Anna Kelles, one of several candidates running for her seat. The flap erupted over a statement Kelles had issued after an ithaca.com story reported she had returned $4,500 in campaign donations due to ethics questions surrounding a letter supporting the City Harbor project that she sent to the Department of Transportation.

Kelles, considered the frontrunner, issued a statement denying unethical behavior, claiming that one of her opponents had maliciously released a copy of her letter and misconstrued its meaning.

"I was disturbed to learn that an email I sent to the regional Department of Transportation (DOT) in support of the developments along the Cayuga Inlet has been deliberately misconstrued. One of my opponents chose to share this email with the local press as an effort to disparage me. I want to share the facts," she wrote.

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posticon Tompkins County to Enter Reopening Phase 4 Today

News | Friday, June 26, 2020 | By New York State Governor's Office Print
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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced Wednesday that five regions - Central New York, the Finger Lakes, the Mohawk Valley, the North Country and the Southern Tier (which includes Tompkins County) - are on track to enter Phase IV of reopening on Friday. New York State issued guidance for Phase IV, which will allow low-risk indoor and outdoor arts and entertainment, film and TV production, higher education and professional sports without fans. State Guidance for Phase IV of reopening is available online, and guidance from the Tompkins County Health Department is also online.

Cuomo also announced that in Phase IV of reopening, social gatherings of up to 50 people will be allowed and indoor religious gatherings will be allowed at up to 33 percent of the indoor site's capacity.

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posticon New York One of Only Three States on Track to Contain COVID-19

News | Friday, June 26, 2020 | By -Staff Print
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According to Covid Act Now New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut are the only three states on track to contain COVID-19. The site tracks four indicators: Are COVID cases decreasing?; Are we testing enough?; Are our hospitals ready?; and Are we tracing fast enough? The site found that New York infection rate is decreasing, has a positive test rate, can likely handle a second wave, and does enough tracing to help contain the virus.

"New York State is one of only three states that are on track to contain the COVID-19 according to a study by Covid Act Now. We went from one of the highest infection rates to one of the lowest and we did it by making decisions based on the science, the data and the facts - not on politics," said NY Governor Andrew M. Cuomo Tuesday.

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posticon NY COVID Hospitalizations Below 1K Down From 18K Peak

News | Friday, June 26, 2020 | By New York State Governor's Office Print
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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced yesterday that COVID-19 hospitalizations have dropped below 1,000 for the first time since March 18. Yesterday, there were 996 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in New York State. This is down from a peak of approximately 18,825 hospitalizations on April 12. Central New York, the Finger Lakes, the Mohawk Valley, the North Country and the Southern Tier will enter Phase IV of reopening tomorrow, June 26. The number of new cases, percentage of tests that were positive and many other helpful data points are available at forward.ny.gov.

"After three months of New Yorkers working hard, doing the right thing and taking this seriously, the state has its lowest COVID-19 hospitalization rate since this started," Cuomo said. "Facts are facts, even in this crazy political environment, and what we're saying in New York is we did the right thing. New Yorkers have been locked up and closed their businesses. We have the virus under control finally. We had to flatten the curve. We don't want to go back."

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posticon All Travelers From States With Significant COVID Spread Must Quarantine

News | Friday, June 26, 2020 | By New York State Governor's Office Print
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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont Announced Wednesday a Joint Incoming Travel Advisory That All Individuals Traveling From States With Significant Community Spread of COVID-19 Quarantine for a 14-Day Period From the Time of Last Contact Within the Identified State.

"In New York we went from the highest number of cases to some of the lowest rates in the country - no one else had to bend the curve as much as we did and now we have to make sure that the rate continues to drop in our entire region," Cuomo said. "We've been working with our neighbors in New Jersey and Connecticut throughout this entire pandemic, and we're announcing a joint travel advisory that says people coming in from states with a high infection rate must quarantine for 14 days. We've worked very hard to get the viral transmission rate down and we don't want to see it go up again because people are traveling into the state and bringing it with them."

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posticon Activists Laud Gas Concessions, Decry Electric Rate Increase

News | Friday, June 26, 2020 | By Irene Weiser Print
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In a first for NY State utility rate cases, grassroots environmental groups successfully negotiated with their utilities for zero net growth in gas use over the course of the three year rate plan, while keeping gas rate increases low. After months of negotiations, NYSEG and RG&E agreed to a slate of gas reduction strategies, retracted $128 million for gas infrastructure including pipelines, and funded $1.5 million for renewable heating systems for low-income residents.

While signing the gas settlement agreement, most environmental groups oppose the utilities' electric proposal that was supported by state regulators, and some other parties. The groups criticized the companies for callously raising electric rates by double digits during a historic health emergency and economic crisis, while failing to prepare the grid for a renewable future.

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