February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (2023)

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (1)

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (2)(Apr. 28): With use declining and County Government subsidies having ended last December, Cayuga Health Systems will close its COVID-19 sampling site at the Shops at Ithaca Mall May 5th, Cayuga Health and Tompkins County Health authorities announced Friday morning.

The planned closing , coupled with the loss of County subsidy, puts an end to free COVID testing for Tompkins County residents, an innovative service that began in September 2020, a time when local residents needed to drive to state centers in Binghamton or Syracuse to be tested or pay the local hospital’s $99 charge. At the time, this Councilperson, Robert Lynch, became among the strongest advocates for the County-subsidized free testing.

A County Health Department release Friday stated that the hospital system’s decision to close the sampling site followed “a multi-month review of notable decline of its use.” The statement continued, “Cayuga Health will offer testing to the public at physician offices, including walk-in visits at Immediate Care (a hospital run outpatient clinic) and at other healthcare providers in the community.”

But cost now becomes the issue. And the statement acknowledges that unless the testing qualifies as “medically necessary,” including in preparation for surgery, those tested may need to pay for the procedure. When a Federal Emergency Declaration expires May 11, even those with insurance may be assessed copays.

(See the extended story, now posted.)

Money Encouragement for ECC

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (3)

(Apr. 27): The Enfield Community Council (ECC) Board of Directors Thursday received good news just when members needed it most.

Hopes dimmed earlier this week for the agency’s receiving Tompkins County Community Recovery funds to construct a mental health wing that would cost at least $146,000 (see separately-posted story). But County legislator Randy Brown Thursday brought the ECC Board two nuggets of encouragement, each of which may soften the blow.

First, Brown said he thinks he’s found the support he needs to win County Legislature endorsement for a special state law that would waive approximately $8,000 in back property taxes that the ECC should never have been assessed, but had to pay anyway for failing to file its paperwork on time. A county legislative committee April 6th had refused to advance the measure, a majority reluctant to support it.

But that may change. “I think we have eight votes,” the magic number needed for passage, Brown surprisingly told the ECC. He’d likely circumvent the committee and press the resolution himself.

Secondly, Brown told ECC he wants to allot the agency $25,000 in next year’s county budget as a so-called “Over-Target Request,” a spending add-on legislators often make. Brown asked the ECC Board to come up with a spending item they’d like included. “By the next meeting, we’ll have something for you, ECC President Cortney Bailey responded.

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (4)

(Apr. 26): Maybe this is how a liberal city defunds the police: You just let all the cops quit.

In what came this week as another example the toxic standoff between City Hall and law enforcement, Acting Ithaca Chief of Police John Joly, according to news reports, has taken “an indefinite personal leave from his position,” putting the IPD close to leaderless. Joly cleaned out his office last week.

The Ithaca Voice reports Joly told them, “I will be taking extended leave to focus on maintaining my own personal wellness.”

Joly, you’ll recall, was the preferred candidate for permanent Chief that Mayor Laura Lewis recommended to Common Council. But a majority of Council members objected, and Lewis pulled the nomination.

Who’s now in charge of IPD remains a question. There’s a Deputy Chief, but he’s near retirement. And neither he nor Mayor Lewis will comment on the situation.

But wait, there’s more: Joly, we’re told, plans to take the City to court, alleging it subjected him to a “hostile work environment.”

Ours is a central city not to be proud of right now. / RL

Shawna: A Smaller, Cheaper Jail

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (5)(Apr. 26): Buried in Tuesday’s discussions concerning a mammoth new office building—yet perhaps the most telling remark of the meeting—Shawna Black, Chair of the Tompkins County Legislature signaled that a recently-assembled Task Force, comprised of both legislators and community members, may recommend against any major upgrade of the Tompkins County Jail, a project now priced at $20-40 Million.

“I don’t think it’s the time to invest in a jail because of bail reform,” Black said. “Our (jail population) numbers are up and down… just all over the place.”

One option before the Legislature’s Public Safety Committee would demolish the 1980’s-era Public Safety Building’s cellblock wing and construct a “pod” system instead. Black said pods now look less attractive since the State won’t permit the efficient layout to mean fewer guards.

The Task Force grew out of a February meeting where legislators delayed moving quickly with jail renovation planning. In March, Black appointed the task force’s seven members. A statement then said, “The task force will make recommendations related to the design of a jail facility that accommodates community priorities.”

Now Black, the Legislature’s most powerful voice, is telling us more about those “priorities.” “I think if we really want to talk about bail reform and social justice, the group’s going to come in and say, ‘you know what, we don’t want to have a jail of 78 or 76 (beds), whatever the variance is.’… I think that’s where the conversation will probably head.”

“Are you saying that this listening group that we’ve had is going to decide how many jail cells we have?” legislator Mike Lane asked incredulously. Black said they may recommend just that.

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (6)

(Apr. 20): The Enfield Town Board took its first comprehensive steps Thursday in spending nearly $350,000 awarded it by Washington more than a year ago under the American Rescue Plan (ARPA). And it focused first on Town-owned facilities long in need of improvement.

Board members reaffirmed their consensus, authorized through a vote April 12th, to spend up to $50,000 of the ARPA funds to replace the original metal roof, now badly leaking, covering the Old Highway Barn. The “Town Hall,” as it’s called, includes the Clerk’s Office.

Then, through a series of rapid-fire votes, the Board granted unanimous consent to spend $23,000 on painting and siding improvements outside the Enfield Courthouse, to authorize the Highway Superintendent to look for a Highway Department back-up generator, and to purchase three AED defibrillators, two for the Highway Department, and one for the Town Hall.

But the Board’s 90-minute work session looked farther on how to spend the cash.

Councilperson Robert Lynch, who said he wants ARPA spending to be “transformative” and also “purposed for people,” proposed $60,000 appropriations each to Enfield Food Distribution, the Enfield Community Council, and the Enfield Volunteer Fire Company. No decisions were made, but the idea gained some traction when others cut the figure to $50,000.

Further decisions on ARPA spending will come later. / RL

A Chief Judge at Warp Speed

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (7)

(Apr. 23): Maybe it can be said, as I’ve written, that Democrats have gotten the “Liberal Lion” that they demand to lead New York’s Highest Court.

It was only April 10th that Governor Hochul nominated Rowan Wilson, currently an Associate Justice on New York’s Court of Appeals, to lead that same Court as Chief Judge.

In stark contrast to the persistent foot-dragging on Hochul’s first nominee, Hector LaSalle, ultimately rejected, the State Senate held confirmation hearings just seven days after the nomination, recommended confirmation, and the full Senate followed suit and confirmed the next day, Tuesday.

“Even when you don’t agree with his holdings, Judge Wilson will change the way you think about a legal issue,” Brad Hoylman-Sigal, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said of the confirmed nominee, (Remember, how tough Hoylman-Sigal was on LaSalle?)

Senate Republicans are among those who don’t like Wilson’s holdings very much, particularly his freeing of a convicted North Country rapist. Said Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt, “They (Democrats) made it very clear they wanted an activist Court. They got it in Rowan Wilson.”

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (8)

(Apr. 19): A five-month search for Tompkins County’s new Director of Finance ended Tuesday with the County Legislature’s unanimous appointment of Lorrie Scarrott to that position. Though not mentioned at the meeting, public records indicate Ms. Scarrott currently serves as Deputy Director of Finance for Ontario County. She’ll begin work locally May first, replacing Rick Snyder, who retired in November.

“I’ve been watching Tompkins County as an organization from afar for quite a few years,” Scarrott said at the podium following her appointment. “I have always wanted to come here and work, so this is kind of like a dream come true for me… I’m very excited.”

The appointee acknowledged county governments do some things quite the same, others things differently. With that in mind, she said, “I have a lot to share with each of you.”

Enfield resident Andrew Braman has served since December as Director Snyder’s interim replacement. County legislators later in Tuesday’s meeting thanked Braman, a deputy director, with a round of applause.

The Elephant in the (court) room

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (9)

(Apr. 15): Liberal activists felt free to pluck Judge Hector LaSalle’s minor decisions from obscurity to torpedo his nomination to be Chief Judge of our state’s Highest Court. Why can’t conservatives do the same with Rowan Wilson, Gov. Hochul’s latest nominee to preside over the Court of Appeals?

They did. A Rochester TV station (WHEC) confirmed Thursday a social media posting by a right-wing advocacy group, the “Empire Center,” that Wilson, associate justice on the Court of Appeals, supported giving an elephant at the Bronx Zoo the legal right to sue his “jailer” and be sent to an animal sanctuary.

Animal rights activists maintained that “Happy” the elephant, a 50-year zoo resident, wasn’t really happy and sought habeas corpus the same way Death Row inmates do. The Court ruled 5-2 that habeas is only for humans. Rowan Wilson disagreed.

Yes, Wilson admitted, “Happy” is not a person. Yet, he wrote, Happy has very substantial cognitive, emotional and social needs and abilities.” Further, he said, the Court has a duty to “recognize Happy’s right to petition for her liberty not just because she is a wild animal who is not meant to be caged and displayed, but because the rights we confer on others define who we are as a society.”

Of course, don’t expect opinions like that to derail Rowan Wilson’s elevation to Chief Judge. Political double-standards are fun to watch, aren’t they? / RL

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (10)

(Apr. 14): They drew numbered golf balls at the Board of Elections Friday morning. And though it’s said ballot order really doesn’t matter, incumbent James Ricks will be listed first on the candidate line in the June 27th Democratic Primary for Enfield Councilperson. Chris Willis will come first on the Republican ballot for Highway Superintendent.

Candidate Robert Lynch (this writer), was the only Enfield candidate to appear in-person for Friday’s drawing. Board of Elections staff drew for others. Incumbent Lynch’s draw placed him second on the three-person Democratic ballot for two Town Board seats. The ballot will list newcomer Melissa Millspaugh last.

On the Republican ballot, challenger Willis will be followed by incumbent Highway Superintendent Barry “Buddy” Rollins.

Each of the candidates for Enfield Councilperson submitted Designating Petitions carrying more names than the 49 needed to qualify for the Primary. Lynch led the way with 149 names, followed by Ricks at 110, and Millspaugh at 86. Elections staff report a few people had inquired about contesting one or more Enfield petitions, yet none filed challenges. The deadline for filing challenges has passed.

Another Hinchey in Congress?

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (11)

(Apr. 13): Most media attention this week focused on Democrat Josh Riley’s early announcement of his repeat effort to become Tompkins County’s Congressman, Riley losing last November to Republican Marc Molinaro. Announcing his candidacy more than 18 months ahead of the election, Riley’s early-bird attempt is often used by a once-defeated candidate to scare away intra-party competition. (Remember Tracy Mitrano?)

But here, it may not work. The Daily Freeman reported Tuesday that State Senator Michelle Hinchey, daughter of the late Maurice Hinchey, our former Congressman, is also eyeing the 19th District’s Democratic nomination.

“The outpouring of support and encouragement to run for the 19th Congressional District has been incredible,” Senator Hinchey said in an email to the Kingston-based newspaper Tuesday. “As a young woman watching what’s happening in our country today, I am currently considering the best way that I can keep helping people and improving our region,” the Cornell-educated late Congressman’s daughter continued.

Competition is good. Coronations often don’t work so well. Tracy Mitrano should remember that. Watch this race.

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (12)

(Apr. 13): Expect far less grumbling from the Left and probably an uneventful confirmation process when Governor Hochul’s elevation of New York Court of Appeals Associate Justice Rowan Wilson to Chief Judge reaches the State Senate.

Unlike Hochul’s first nominee, mid-level Appellate Justice Hector LaSalle, rejected by the Senate, Wilson, African-American, nominated by Hochul Monday, is seen as a reliable liberal on the State’s Highest Court. Appointed an Associate Justice by former Governor Cuomo in 2017, Wilson, a California native and Harvard Law School Graduate, wrote the dissenting opinion when the Court rejected the State Legislature’s gerrymandered redistricting maps last year.

Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris, a key power-broker in the Legislature’s upper house, has given Wilson his blessing, as he has Hochul’s simultaneous nomination of former New York State Solicitor General Caitlin Halligan to fill the Associate Justice’s slot that Wilson’s elevation would open up.

“I am particularly excited about the prospect of Judge Wilson leading our state’s highest court as Chief Judge,” Senator Gianaris was quoted by the media. “I look forward to hearing from these nominees and voting for their confirmations in the coming days.”

Republicans, however, have grumbled about Hochul’s double-dipping from the same committee-recommended list to pick both Judges Wilson and Halligan. The Legislature just recently passed a law enabling such dual nominations, but a GOP leader warns that law could violate the State Constitution.

Rollins Faces GOP Primary

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (13)(Apr. 11): As political rumor had suggested, long-time Enfield Highway Superintendent Barry “Buddy” Rollins will, for the first time in years, face a challenger in his race for the Republican nomination to keep his job.

Chris Willis, of 198 Black Oak Road, filed designating petitions for Highway Superintendent with the Tompkins County Board of Elections Monday afternoon, the final day such petitions could be accepted. If their petitions are deemed valid, Rollins and Willis would face off in a June 27th Republican Primary. Regardless of its outcome, Rollins will be assured a ballot line in November, as Democrats recently cross-endorsed him.

Final day filings Monday revealed no additional Enfield surprises. Incumbent Democrat Stephanie Redmond remains the only party-designated candidate for Town Supervisor. Republican Heather Knutsen-King is the lone candidate for Town Justice. A three-way Democratic Primary for two Town Councilperson seats looms in the offing.

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (14)

(Apr. 11): A commendation well-deserved, Jean Owens, director of Enfield Food Distribution, was Tuesday named April Community Hero of the Month by the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce, a monthly award given by the Chamber in partnership with Tompkins Community Bank.

“Jean and her family have lived in this area for generations, and she is truly committed to improving the quality of life for people in our community, especially those who live in rural areas,” the Chamber credited the person who nominated her as stating. “Every person who enters the food pantry is greeted by Jean and she will make sure you have what you need to feed your family. She will even go as far as to give someone $5 of her own money if they can’t afford the gas to make it to work.”

The Tompkins Chamber states that its award “recognizes individuals from Tompkins County who have significantly impacted our community.”

The Chamber’s announcement quoted Owens as saying she did not see the Community Hero of the Month Award coming, and hadn’t thought about it, but “it is a great honor and a great opportunity to share what we’re all about at Enfield Food Distribution.”

Jean Owens, director of Enfield Food Distribution since it began in the 1980’s… and as it grows today, a hero. Thanks. / RL

Enfield Dem. Primary Likely

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (15)

(Apr. 6): This year, just like four years ago, a Democratic Primary for seats on the Enfield Town Board appears a near certainty, following petition filings with the Tompkins County Board of Elections Thursday.

Three candidates, including both incumbents whose terms expire this year, filed Democratic Designating Petitions for Town Councilperson, as did one other candidate.

Robert Lynch (this writer), a second incumbent, James Ricks, and newcomer Melissa Millspaugh of Hubbell Drive, each will seek the two Board seats available. If elections officials determine all petitions valid, a June 27 Primary would select the two nominees.

On Tuesday, incumbent Stephanie Redmond filed petitions to seek a new 2-year term as Enfield Supervisor. As yet, no Republican or Democrat has come forth to challenge her. Barry “Buddy” Rollins has filed for Highway Superintendent and Mary Cornell for Town Clerk; each, so far, unopposed.

Of note, Republican Heather Knutsen, appointed in January as Clerk of the Enfield Town Court, has filed petitions to become Town Justice, filling the seat of Judge Betty Poole, who ended her decades-long tenure in December. No Democrat has yet filed for Justice.

Party hopefuls have through Monday (4/10) to file petitions. Any Independent candidate would file later. / RL

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (16)

(Apr. 7): For the careful observer (like this writer), it was an hour-long presentation that spoke many words, but made little news.

Still, one of the few nuggets gleaned from Administrator Lisa Holmes’ update to the Tompkins County Legislature this week on a future downtown Center of Government was that what has been viewed as a $30 Million project could cost taxpayers far more.

Tompkins County priced a downtown office building at $22 Million in 2020. A 2022 revision hiked the cost to $30.6 Million. But Holmes conceded Tuesday that her latter figure was based on estimates made in 2020 or ’21.

“I think it’s a little preliminary for me to give too much (cost data) on the Center of Government until we really get into the preliminary schematic designs and give the Legislature better estimates on construction costs,” Facilities Director Arel LeMaro said in response to legislator Randy Brown’s pointed inquiry.

Before the discussion ended, a new threshold figure found itself bandied about.

“We’re going to spend $40 Million to do this thing and move a lot in there but it’s going to be full from Day One,” Danby’s Dan Klein lamented.

A second nugget gleaned from the talk was that some, including Lansing’s Mike Sigler, want to look into repurposing, not razing, the Key Bank and Wiggins’ Law Office buildings the County has purchased for millions as the Center’s preferred site.

“I don’t know if there’s an appetite for that,” Sigler said of possible reuse. “But frankly, I don’t know if there’s an appetite for building a $40 Million building, either,” Sigler added. /RL

2nd CEDO Search Dead-ends

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (17)

(Apr. 6): For a second time, Tompkins County’s search for a new Chief Equity and Diversity Officer (CEDO) has come up dry.

County Administrator Lisa Holmes disclosed the failed second-round recruitment effort in a zoom conference with local municipal leaders Thursday morning. An offer was made, but the candidate declined because of “family decisions,” Holmes said.

The Diversity Officer, a relatively rare position for counties upstate, monitors governmental policies to guard against systemic bias. The local post has lain vacant since Tompkins County’s first CEDO, Deanna Carrithers, resigned last summer. Her first-round replacement, Anitra Rivera, accepted the job in October, but then, likewise, withdrew.

The high cost of local housing often stands as a prime factor in out-of-town recruits declining acceptance. Holmes did not elaborate on this latest candidate’s reasons.

“We are disappointed with this whereas it is a second failed search,” Holmes said.

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (18)

(Apr. 4): Just days before what’s likely to be a testy Public Hearing, Tompkins County’s Planning Department has raised concerns about Enfield’s proposed 33-lot Breezy Meadows Farm subdivision and has recommended certain changes, in part, to better protect water quality.

“We have determined the proposed action will have a significant county-wide or inter-community impact,” County Planning and Sustainability Commissioner Katherine Borgella wrote in a 2-page letter to Enfield’s Codes Officer March 30. Borgella’s letter was shared in materials for review at a Wednesday (Apr. 5) Planning Board Public Hearing on the project.

Among County Planning’s concern is the need to better identify building lots close to streams, and then protect those streams with 50- or 100-foot buffer areas. “The modification is recommended to help preserve and protect water quality,” Borgella wrote.

The planner also recommended that a written agreement be struck with Tompkins County to ensure retention of a County-run communications tower on the site. The letter further cautioned that the unpaved Tucker Road, which bisects the proposed subdivision, may not be up to handling the traffic 24 new building lots bordering it would generate.

Enfield’s Planning Board could override Borgella’s objections, but only by a supermajority vote.

The LaSalle Postscript

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (19)(Mar. 27): Readers of this site know how I’d supported Judge Hector LaSalle, Governor Hochul’s initial nominee, to preside over the New York Court of Appeals. You also know how I detested the State Senate’s smearing of Judge LaSalle’s record and the brute-force politics members used to bury his nomination.

I applaud the editor of City & State for digging into the background of how a good judge’s nomination was lost and his reputation destroyed in the process.

Cynical about Albany politics? You have good reason. Please read:


February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (20)(Mar. 25): He could just as easily have interviewed our Enfield Fire Chief, Greg Stevenson. But NPR host Scott Simon this Saturday morning chose a volunteer Fire Chief from Accord, NY to discuss the challenges of volunteer firefighter recruitment and the benefits, tangible and otherwise, derived from volunteer fire service. “It fulfills sort of a space in people’s lives,” Accord’s Chief, Peter Nelson said.

Give this story a listen:


An Olive Branch… and Maybe Compromise

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (21)

(Mar. 23): Second Wind Cottages’ Executive Director David Shapiro zoomed in for public comment at an otherwise routine work session of the Newfield Town Board Thursday. When he did, Shapiro sought peace with the Board, speaking two nights after he’d surprisingly withdrawn Second Wind’s proposed—and controversial—expansion of its homeless encampment in Newfield, only to have the Tompkins County Legislature later pave the way for expansion nevertheless.

“How can we be a better part of the community?” Shapiro asked. “It’s a beautiful site,” he spoke of the 18-unit tiny house cluster already built. “I wouldn’t want to do anything to taint that for you guys.”

After Tuesday’s County affirmation of the revised Second Wind proposal, Shapiro said he’d return to his governing Board should it want to reconsider its withdrawal. “I don’t know how they’re going to feel,” Shapiro told Newfield Thursday. Yet he added, “We can do this together.”

After he’d retreated behind his zoom tile, Shapiro left a cryptic message in the chat box. It suggested maybe the 12 additional homes could be built not this year, but next. “Or 6 in 2024 and a slower build,” the message ended.

Newfield Town Board members had no direct questions for Shapiro. But they briefly discussed the issue, non-confrontationally, among themselves. Councilperson Heather McCarty suggested a possible Town-sponsored meeting where encampment organizers could field neighbors’ questions.

“So it’s now in Second Wind’s Court,” Councilperson Christine Laughlin surmised as to the next move.

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (22)(Mar. 23): Results of an “Enfield 2022 Needs Assessment,” released Thursday at the Enfield Community Council’s monthly meeting, find that “Lack of Mental Health Resources” stands as among the three greatest challenges facing Middle and High School students in the town.

The demand for those resources ranked equally with those of limited youth recreation opportunities and limited activities for youth development. Each earned a 53 per cent priority ranking, where every survey respondent could list three top concerns.

As it happens, a first-ever Enfield mental health wing for its community center was exactly what the ECC had proposed Tompkins County support through its Community Recovery Fund. But the $206,000 agency request failed to make the funding cut. Though the survey’s sample size was small, its results affirm that ECC’s priorities are rightly placed.

As for the needs of younger children, in Elementary school and younger, the Needs Assessment found top community challenges to be affordable childcare (63%), access to sports and recreation (53%) and access to theater, music, art and recreation (42%).

Parents, grandparents, elected officials, and school staff took part in the survey.

NY Super-Sales Tax?

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (23)(Mar. 16): As they say, “Bend over…”

Buried within the State Assembly’s 134-page Budget Bill is another new tax that those in Albany would rather you not know about until it hits you.

The Assembly bill would amend the tax law and related statutes to impose a 25-cent fee on every delivery transaction made within the state. This new “not-a-tax” would kick in September first.

And no, the measure would not be Albany’s way of squeezing blood out of FedEx and UPS. The bill’s language dictates that the fee “shall be passed on to the purchaser and separately stated on any receipt.”

The bill’s sponsors say their stated purpose is to aid mass transit. Some money would go to the downstate MTA. Maybe some would also find its way to TCAT. Yet the bill doesn’t tell us how much or assure us that the money we pay would find its way back home.

(Remember how that pandemic-spawned sales tax charge-back for a “Distressed Hospital Fund” wound up in Andrew Cuomo’s General Fund coffers?)

And there’d be business burdens too. Anyone who collected the fee would need to register and file monthly returns. And mind you, New York already imposes sales tax on deliveries when they’re bundled into the product’s bill.

Food, medicine, diapers, and baby formula would be exempted. And so, too, would be the U.S. Mail. (Nice of them to think of that.) / RL

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (24)

(Mar. 15): “This organization is unapologetically serving People of Color,” Southside Community Center Deputy Director Kayla Matos told a Tompkins County Budget Committee meeting last October, her emphatic—perhaps edgy—comment striking a line in the multicultural sand in defense of her agency and of African-American exceptionalism. Now Matos is running for Common Council.

Setting the stage for what could be this year’s most watched Ithaca race, the progressive Matos will challenge incumbent City Alderperson Cynthia Brock for the Democratic nomination in the realigned, West End-focused First Ward. The Left-leaning Working Families Party has already endorsed Matos.

Brock, seen by many as a political centrist, is best known of late for having taken on former Mayor Svante Myrick and others in City Hall by lodging an ethics complaint, now before the Tompkins County Ethics Advisory Board.

This could be one of those bellwether contests that tell us whether already-liberal Ithaca slides just a little bit farther into the progressive column. Watch this race. / RL

Creek “Turn-Down Day”

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (25)

(Mar. 14): Monday, Mar. 13 brought a double-dose of bad funding news for Enfield.

In a pair of form letters, the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services rejected not one, but two grant applications by Enfield, the larger of which would have replaced an aging culvert on Bostwick Road over Enfield Creek and rerouted the stream to stabilize the streambank that parallels the road.

Similarly rejected was an application that would have replaced culverts under Fish and Enfield Center Roads.

Enfield Supervisor Stephanie Redmond has for nearly a year promoted the Bostwick stream relocation, telling the Town Board in September that the work could cost close to $1 Million, and that she’d plan to use federal ARPA money for the nearly $100,000 local match.

But Tuesday, Angel Hinickle, Conservation Specialist with Tompkins County’s Soil and Water Conservation District, advised Redmond that federal ARPA funds could not have been used as the match because the grant would have come from federal sources.

Still, New York never let Enfield’s application get to Washington. A state official signed the rejections, in both instances saying that neither application met “specific FEMA Benefit-Coast (sic) Analysis Criteria” [nor, I guess, spell-check].

Redmond emailed Town Board members her disappointment and Tuesday acknowledged she did know ARPA funds were off-limits. Expect the Town Board to discuss the rejections in April. / RL

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (26)

(Mar. 11): The Enfield Town Board could be on the verge of making its most important decision of the year. It could soon—public consenting—loosen the ties between Town Government and the Enfield Volunteer Fire Company.

Sixteen years ago, the Town Board briefly considered forming a “Fire District” to replace the “Fire Protection District” under which the EVFC then (and now) provides Enfield fire protection services through contract. The 2007 Minutes report that an Informational Public Hearing was held, a Town Board executive session followed, but nothing more was done.

Fast forward to today: At the February Quarterly Meeting between Town and EVFC officials, talk of forming a Fire District resurfaced. And following up, the Town Board March 8th authorized the Supervisor “to engage the services of legal counsel to research the steps needed” to create that Fire District. The next day, Board members learned that an attorney with a Syracuse law firm holding expertise in the area will brief the Board April 12.

Under a “Fire District” arrangement, a Board of five (eventually) elected Fire Commissioners would oversee fire protection. It would contract with the EVFC, set the budget, and impose taxes. The Town Board would hold little, if any, role.

Would the change benefit Enfield? We don’t yet know. And the change would require a Public Hearing. As the Board’s latest action made clear, “Adoption of this Resolution in no way commits this Town Board to (such a) transition.”

Expect more on this topic to be written here soon. / RL

ECC Funding Decision Postponed

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (27)(Mar. 11): “The future is bright,” Enfield Community Council’s Debbie Teeter informed the Enfield Town Board Wednesday, as Teeter asked the Town to allocate $30,000 in American Rescue Plan (ARPA) funds to help ECC close projected budget gaps for this year and next.

The Town Board postponed action for at least one month on the grant request, members requesting financial specifics and questioning whether ECC’s justification fits into ARPA’s tight rules.

“I’m not sure a projected budget shortfall would meet our regulations,” Enfield Councilperson Jude Lemke cautioned. Teeter indicated she’d sharpen her calculations and her funding rationale within the next month.

Teeter, a member of the ECC’s Board of Directors, told the Town Board volunteerism is up at her organization, but that COVID-19 lockdowns and past shelter-in-place tendencies had reduced event participations and building rentals.

So far, the ECC has tapped savings to close its gaps. But without the $30,000 ARPA bailout, Teeter warned, “We could cover with reserves, but it would likely deplete them.”

Read more about the ECC budget crunch, posted on this website.

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (28)

(Mar. 11): As I’ve written, it’s easy to ignore these things until they turn around and bite you.

Governor Hochul in January proposed, in her words, “to end the sale of any new fossil fuel-powered heating equipment by 2030.” And by 2026, any new home in the state could not be built if it had an oil furnace, or wood stove (or presumably, a gas cooktop) within it. Wednesday night, our Enfield Town Board was warned that by next decade you may not even be able to buy furnace parts.

Tuesday, March 7th, the Tompkins County Legislature went one better. By a party-line vote, it backed a pair of Albany legislators’ bill that would move that latter date up. The “All-Electric Building Act” would make it illegal to build anything less than seven stories tall containing “equipment for the combustion of fossil fuels” as soon as next January. Eleven downtown Democratic legislators actually signed onto this bill. Republicans like Randy Brown opposed it. Brown called the initiative “too aggressive.”

I’ve written a story about their action and posted it on this website. Please read it.

And for Democrats, some advice: These are the kinds of mandates that can cost you elections. Lee Zeldin didn’t lose last year by that much. / RL

Dog Enumeration Resumes

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (29)(Mar. 11): After a wintertime break, Enfield Dog Enumerator Pat Baker has resumed her enumeration of all dogs within the Town of Enfield. Baker began her canine count in October. And while Town Clerk Mary Cornell has reported that the enumerator found many owners not at home during her first round, she intends to make follow-up visits to ensure that all resident canines in the Town are properly licensed.

Clerk Cornell stresses it’s much more than a search for revenue. Her concern centers more around public safety, since licensing requires documentation of up-to-date rabies vaccinations. Without a license, authorities have little way to know vaccination status in the event of a dog bite.

Clerk Cornell has stated that “In the event a dog is found to be unlicensed, the owner will be required to license that dog within 20 days of receipt of notice by the enumerator. Dogs found to be unlicensed during the enumeration period shall be subject to a $10.00 enumeration fee in addition to the regular license fees.”

You can avoid the penalty by bringing the dog’s rabies certificate and proof of spay/neuter to the Town Clerk’s office and purchase the license before the enumerator arrives.

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (30)

(Mar. 4): As the saying goes, “It may take an act of Congress.” Here, literally.

Tompkins County Administrator Lisa Holmes, back from a statewide conference of county leaders, told a Tompkins County Legislature committee Thursday that New York lawmakers may be powerless to act on an Albany administrative money grab that could cost this county $610,000 in Medicaid revenue this year and an additional $1.5 Million in 2024.

“The piece of that that is a little confounding,” Holmes told the Government Operations Committee, “is that the state intercepts of those federal funds is formula-based. It’s not technically in the Governor’s Budget, so that the State Legislature cannot act to take it out.”

As the County Legislature learned in February, while Washington appropriated extra Medicaid reimbursement to the states in response to the pandemic, New York administrators snatched for themselves the portion that, many argue, was supposed to filter down to the counties. (See story posted on this website.)

“So advocacy efforts have to be focused on the Governor’s Office and on federal legislators,” Holmes advised the committee.

Committee member Mike Lane responded that he’d read that area Congressman Marc Molinaro and two upstate colleagues have introduced legislation to clarify Washington’s intent and to seek override of Albany bureaucrats’ money grab. ”So there is something going on at the federal level,” Lane reported.

Joe’s Death Sentence

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (31)

(Mar. 1): Tellingly, during the entire 25 minute discussion, the name “Joe’s” was never mentioned. No one seems to care anymore, not within Ithaca City government anyway.

Tuesday night, giving absolutely no deference to tradition nor a passing thought that they might be killing off a West End icon, Ithaca’s Planning and Development Board unanimously granted Preliminary and Final Site Plan Approval to The Citizen,” Visum Development’s nondescript, gray-paneled, five story apartment house planned for West Buffalo and North Meadow Streets, right where the legendary former Joe’s Italian Restaurant will soon be demolished.

“It’s a great project and a great spot,” Board Chair Robert Lewis remarked as the developer’s staff completed their sales pitch for this, just another high-rise box where residents will pay monthly rent, but never build equity.

As you might suspect, no one bothered to give public comment to the Planning Board Tuesday on this project or any of several others up for review. About the only negative remark came from one Planning Board member who said, about “The Citizen’s” upper stories, “It looks monolithic to me. It feels fairly generic and flat. It doesn’t have life.” He voted for it nonetheless.

So a slice of local history will soon bite the dust. I’m told some among Ithaca’s new generation actually like these High Rises. It reminds them of the Manhattan they grew up in. Good bye Joe’s. Hello to a Gray Elephant apartment house. I guess Ithaca calls that progress. / RL

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (32)

(Feb. 25): He’s one of the few grownups left in that disaster zone we call Ithaca City Government. And I cannot let the moment pass without noting—and regretting—the imminent retirement of George McGonigal from Ithaca’s Common Council.

With all 10 Council seats up for re-election this year because of redistricting, McGonigal announced February 21 he will retire as Alderperson at year’s end, thereby ending a decade of exemplary governmental service. No doubt, someone much more liberal—and more naïve—will take his place. That he or she will speed the City’s handbasket ride to that you-know-where. Thank God we’ll still have Cynthia Brock on Council, that is, unless another of the “children” knocks her off in the election.

You’d never call George McGonigal a fashion trendsetter. He often attended County Legislature meetings looking like he’d just come in from pruning trees and mowing yards (which, by the way, he does for a living.) A refreshing change. But more important, George has always been a plain-spoken, down-to-earth, and downright honest community advocate. When supposed “progress” messes up his West-End neighborhood, he lets you know it, and with words you’ll remember. He defends his city and its people in a way few do anymore.

McGonigal told The Ithaca Voice he positions himself among Ithaca’s “redneck-hippy contingency.” To me, he’s a part of our quirky little central city that’s rapidly, sadly, disappearing,. Best to you, George. You’ve served your people well. Soldier on. / RL

Newfield Ponders ARPA Options

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (33)

(Feb. 24): They could use some of the cash to buy a piece of land. But the Newfield Town Board spent most of its effort Thursday considering the prospect of spending most of its half-Million Dollar American Rescue Plan (ARPA) allocation on a “Creating Community Spaces” multi-faceted project that would include work at the Newfield Community Park, and most notably, expand the Town Hall.

Washington provided Newfield more than $519,000 through ARPA. A small fraction has already been committed. But $480,000 could be directed to “Community Spaces,” something Newfield had hoped Tompkins County would support with up to $250,000 through its Community Recovery Fund. The County zeroed out Newfield’s request.

“We have to spend it this year, Town Bookkeeper Blixy Taetzsch warned the Board about ARPA. “We don’t have a whole lot of time to explore other options.”

ARPA funding of “Community Spaces” would provide a $174,000 “Multi-Purpose Room” addition to Newfield’s Town Hall as well as construct an $87,000 basement add-on. It would renovate first floor Town Hall restrooms and build a $100,000 park pavilion.

“These are pretty broad, big brush numbers,” Taetzsch, admitted to the Board. The bookkeeper drove Thursday’s discussion. Having improved Town Hall accessibility and a larger meeting space, she told the Board, would in her opinion benefit Newfield considerably.

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (34)(Feb. 24): At its Annual Meeting Thursday, the Enfield Community Council Board of Directors adopted a 2023 Budget that puts expenses over projected revenues by nearly $20,000. ECC leaders blame the COVID-19 pandemic for the shortfall, and they plan to ask the Enfield Town Board for a supplemental appropriation to give them a hand-up.

“We are now where we should have been two years ago,” Board member Debbie Teeter said as she presented the proposed budget. “I’d like a balanced budget,” Teeter said, but admitted that what she offered wasn’t that.

ECC officials blame the pandemic for fewer-than-expected bookings at their community center to host events, like weddings. The budget projects a more than seven-fold increase in building revenue for 2023.

Read more on this story, posted under Latest News.

Let Us Never Forget

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (35)
February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (36)

(Feb. 21): You know who they are, bless their hearts: Those who will probably mask in public until the day they die (and die of something other than COVID-19).

Locally, the ultra-cautious have friends in high places. In a Valentine’s Day news release, Tompkins County Health officials advised that even though the New York State Health Department has relaxed its masking mandates for medical facilities—albeit, only a bit—Tompkins County wants patients and personnel at local doctor’s offices to keep masking up.

“Healthcare facilities as defined in the guidance should continue to require mask wearing for both staff and visitors until such time that the transmission levels fall to medium or low,” said local Health Commissioner Frank Kruppa. “At that time, based on their own unique circumstances, facilities may choose to operate based on CDC level guidance.”

The terminology gets confusing. “Community Level,” the most commonly-cited metric, blends a trio of factors, including local hospitalizations and hospital capacity. “Community Transmission,” by contrast, focuses only on spread of the disease. Statewide and nationwide, the “Transmission” number is generally worse. As of February 16, Tompkins County stood at “Medium” Community Level, but “High” Community Transmission. Therefore, Kruppa wants medical masking to remain.

On February 14, only five in Tompkins County were hospitalized with COVID-19. No additional deaths were recorded during the week until then.

Deidra’s Backer Barken Bows Out

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (37)

(Feb. 14): The member of Ithaca Common Council best known for standing up to defend press freedoms announced Monday his plans to vacate his position at mid-year.

Third ward Alderperson Jeffrey Barken, first elected to Council in late 2021, confirmed to media that he’ll be leaving Ithaca government and Ithaca itself to “pursue other interests out of state.” He’ll resign in June.

Barken is best known beyond the city line for standing up to defend embattled former Tompkins Weekly reporter Deidra Cross last fall after Tompkins County officials allegedly intervened to bridle her reporting of comments critical of the City-County Reimagining Public Safety Collaborative. Cross alleges it was that official meddling that got her fired.

“From a writer’s perspective, the very thought of a government official or any outside entity, forcing the change of even one word against their will is a major affront to democracy” Barken said on the floor of Common Council last September 7th. “When ideology is blindly or systematically used to impose rhetoric regulating the free press, we have undermined our very ability to imagine anything at all.”

Jeffrey Barken’s courage and candor will be sorely missed in a City Government that, in my opinion, has lost both. I wish him well. / RL

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (38)

(Feb. 8): “It’s best to keep it local,” Enfield Councilperson Cassandra Hinkle remarked, expressing the strong majority view as the Enfield Town Board Wednesday postponed indefinitely further consideration of consolidating its Justice Court with that of a neighboring town.

Supervisor Stephanie Redmond had floated the idea of consolidation in December after long-time Enfield Town Justice Betty Poole announced her planned year-end retirement. Redmond first thought a merger would save space and money. But state law requires a town pay for justice services rendered by another municipality. “There’s no free lunch,” Councilperson Robert Lynch (this writer) reminded the Board.

Lynch also counseled that Enfield residents like their sense of community, something a local court system helps provide. Others agreed. Councilmember James Ricks initially thought money might be saved. But Councilpersons Jude Lemke and Lynch countered that moving court could actually cost Enfield in the long run, since it might need to subsidize space needs elsewhere that it can supply locally for free.

The Town Board agreed to postpone further discussion of court consolidation until it learns whether any Enfield Justice candidates emerge for this year’s elections.

No Need to Resign

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (39)

(Feb. 8): After a month of anxious uncertainty, Enfield Supervisor Stephanie Redmond announced to her Town Board Wednesday that Albany’s ethics rules will not require her to resign her office even though she’s taken a new, part-time job with State Assemblymember Anna Kelles.

Redmond disclosed in January that the State Ethics Board would conduct a routine investigation into possible conflicts-of-interest. “It’s fine to keep both jobs,” the Supervisor told the Town Board Wednesday after the Ethics Board made its determination. Redmond said the State will require she recuse herself in Town matters affecting state grants. She said she’ll assign someone else to handle those duties.

Redmond Wednesday announced her decision to recruit newly-arrived Enfield resident Greg Hutnik as her Deputy Supervisor, Hutnik replacing the resigning Isabel Castillo. In January, Hutnik joined the Enfield Planning Board as an alternate member.

Though Redmond’s choice of deputy is at her discretion, the Town Board perfunctorily affirmed her choice, and also commended Castillo for her two years of service.

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (40)

(Feb. 8): Dryden’s Mike Lane made his comment crisp. “Let’s pass this.”

Without objection, and following a Public Hearing where this Councilperson spoke, the Tompkins County Legislature Tuesday opted-into a new state law permitting qualifying volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers to claim a ten per cent assessment exemption on the Tompkins County portion of their property tax bills.

The Enfield Town Board will likely approve a similar exemption on Town taxes February 8th. Newfield adopted the exemption earlier this month.

“Volunteer retention and recruitment is a very important need of fire companies in our rural communities,” I told the Legislature during its Public Hearing on the implementing law. “And this will help. It may help only on the margins. It does not solve the whole problem. We know that. But it does some good.”

Legislator Rich John admitted skepticism. “It just seems such a classic New York State complicated, bizarre approach to what is a systemic problem in our community and our county,” John observed. Yet he backed the local law. “I wish that there was something more substantive,” he lamented.

Dryden legislator Greg Mezey tacked on a last-minute amendment, one that urges all local towns, villages, and school districts to implement the exemption as well. / RL

Wanted: A Few Good Jailers

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (41)(Feb. 8): After a lengthy executive session, which addressed several topics but consumed most of the time President Biden delivered the State of the Union, the Tompkins County Legislature Tuesday approved a bonus hiring plan to recruit new corrections officers at the County Jail.

“The Sheriff’s Office is currently experiencing staffing shortages in our Corrections Division,” a County-authored News Release acknowledged the morning after the meeting. The new recruitment policy, contained in a Resolution circulated to legislators only during Tuesday’s meeting, and later amended after the closed session, would establish a sign-on bonus as high as $10,000 for what were described as “lateral transfer Corrections Officers.”

A $7,500 sign-on bonus will temporarily be provided newly-hired Corrections Officers, new recruitment made retroactive for those hired since January 1. Eligible candidates must be either new hires or those who left as Corrections Officers during the past year for reasons other than retirement. To be fully eligible, recruits must give the Sheriff a three-year work commitment.

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (42)(Feb. 6): “Nothing is constant except change,” they say. And that applies to Enfield Government.

On February 3rd, Supervisor Stephanie Redmond confirmed the impending departure of Deputy Supervisor Isabel Castillo, named to the deputy’s position in February 2021 and serving Enfield in the part-time position since then. Supervisor Redmond advised Town Board members that Ms. Castillo will depart her position to pursue “other commitments.”

At the start of her tenure, Isabel reviewed and signed Town vouchers. In later months, she helped organize community events like “Deck the Halls,” designed eye-catching flyers, and led initiatives toward parks and recreation opportunities in Enfield.

Expect the Town Board to recognize Isabel Castillo’s accomplishments at its meeting February 8th. Supervisor Redmond has yet to select a successor for what’s a discretionary appointment.

Whistling Past the Graveyard

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (43)

(Jan. 27): If you can believe it, the City of Ithaca’s planner charged with economic development said this to The Ithaca Voice: “It is an exciting time for economic development in the City of Ithaca.”

Tom Knipe’s comment fell less than a week after BorgWarner announced the planned closing of one of its two side-by-side plants in Lansing, likely to idle up to 280 workers, about a quarter of its workforce. Most of the jobs will go to Mexico.

“Unfortunately, businesses have to make decisions that maintain their competitiveness nationally or globally,” Heather McDaniel, Executive Director of Ithaca Area Economic Development, lamented. You can read the full Ithaca Voice story here:


So, McDaniel’s agency grants cushy tax breaks for apartment developers who create one or two permanent jobs at best, or to solar farms which create none at all. Meanwhile, leaders either paint happy faces on the local economy, or shake their heads in dismay. Neither provides comfort.

Yes, I suppose a skilled Morse machinist can go clerk at Wegmans, or maybe retrain to be a nurse at CMC. But more likely, he will—if he can—pack up and move to a state where industry still thrives. Politicians, are you listening? Do you really care? / RL

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (44)

(Jan. 26): Tompkins County Director of Assessment Jay Franklin, questioned Thursday at a meeting of the Tompkins County Council of Governments, discouraged towns like Enfield from convening their own, home-grown Local Advisory Boards of Assessment Review even though the County Legislature, at Franklin’s urging, has suspended the long-standing practice of permitting town-based review.

“I don’t think it would be appropriate, because we wouldn’t be treating all of our residents the same,” Franklin responded to this writer’s suggestion of an Enfield-initiated Advisory Board to replace the County-sponsored panel assembled in past years.

As Franklin looks at it, “If one Town were to offer some sort of other pseudo-assessment review process… it really would give that property owner a false sense of something may happen if they went there and provided their information to them.”

The Assessment Director’s objection, coupled with his office’s streamlined procedures, may preclude a grieving property owner from meeting an assessor face-to-face until late-May, on Grievance Day. / R. Lynch

ECC Camp Fees to Rise

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (45)(Jan. 26): Citing New York’s Higher Minimum Wage, the Enfield Community Council (ECC) Board of Directors Thursday recommended higher admission fees for this year’s summer camp.

As recommended by the Board, fees for this summer’s six-week day camp would rise from $950 to $975 (2.6%) for Town residents and from $1,250 to $1,300 (4%) for non-resident enrollees.

Newly-established by the ECC Board is a weekly rate: $200 per resident child; $250 for non-residents.

“I don’t think it’s gouging anybody,” ECC President Cortney Bailey said of the increased fees. Bailey noted the State’s minimum wage just rose by $1.00 an hour. With three people working at camp, the salary increase alone, she claimed, hikes costs $120 per week.

The ECC summer camp had some 40 enrollees last year. Organizers hope for 50 this summer. And they assert the Enfield camp’s a bargain. Some well-known day camps near Ithaca, they asserted, charge enrollees as much as $600-$700 per week.

The new rates form part of the ECC’s 2023 budget, set for approval in February.

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (46)(Jan. 24): At a special meeting Monday night, convened so as to meet a fast-approaching state deadline, the Enfield Town Board approved a second-round application under the Restore NY program to fund demolition of two abandoned properties in the town. Or so it thought.

The following morning, Tuesday, Town Supervisor Stephanie Redmond informed Board members that the owner of one of those properties, the one at 198 Black Oak Road, had backed out. Even though the state grant, if approved would pay 90 per cent of the demolition cost, Redmond said the owner declined to support the remaining ten percent, given the likely cost of asbestos removal.

The withdrawal adds credence to the argument, advanced by Highway Superintendent Barry “Buddy” Rollins at Monday’s Public Hearing, that the rewards in curing rural blight may not be worth the Town-paid $500 application fee.

I have a little problem with the $500,” Rollins said. “The people who buy it (who purchase the vacant lot once the old house is gone) should pay the $500,” Rollins argued. Redmond responded State rules don’t allow that.

Rollins also worried that the building’s removal might actually decrease the parcel’s assessment, thereby reducing Enfield’s tax base.

Still covered by Monday’s Restore NY application is the removal of a vacant building at 329 Connecticut Hill Road.

Mr. Brown Goes to Committee

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (47)

(Jan. 18): Work by the Community Recovery Fund Advisory Committee is largely done. But watching what remains of that committee could, to say the least, prove “fun.”

“We wanted anyone who wanted to be a part of this committee to be on it,” Shawna Black, Chair of the Tompkins County Legislature, said Tuesday night as she announced her annual reassignment to legislative committees. And because he (most definitely) wants to offer input, Newfield-Enfield rep. Randy Brown became among the seven Black tapped to sit on what’s became this most controversial of legislative committees.

The Advisory Committee grew to an authoritarian gatekeeper last year as it recommended award of $6.5 Million in Community Recovery Fund cash. It’s the program to which Enfield applicants received not one penny. Brown rose as the committee’s most outspoken critic. And he was the only legislator who voted against the group’s final funding package December 20.

Now, the committee’s work stands mostly past-tense. But it must still, as Black said, “check in on the grants that we’ve provided,” and also reallocate any awards that are “not claimed” by their initially-designated recipients.

Brown won’t be the Advisory Committee’s only new member. Also appointed were legislators Mike Sigler and Travis Brooks. They, too, wanted in. They, too, could mix things up. / RL

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (48)

(Jan. 18): Securing the bare minimum of eight votes, the Tompkins County Legislature Tuesday suspended, indefinitely, the half-century old practice of convening Town-based Local Boards of Assessment Review that allowed town residents to complain to local officials at their local Town Hall prior to Grievance Day’s final review.

What’s more, at Tuesday’s meeting, Director of Assessment Jay Franklin revealed for the first time that the “Informal Review Meetings” he’s encouraged to replace the Local Boards will this year take place only by telephone, no longer in person; not even on zoom.

Lansing’s Mike Sigler was among four lawmakers who urged the Local Boards be retained.

“These are one of the few times that we give the public an opportunity outside of this actual building, outside of downtown, to come and talk with us,” Sigler said. “It’s another point of engagement.”

Read more about the Legislature’s decision, posted on this website.

Good Job, Your Honor

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (49)(Jan. 14): I’ve called it our Town Board’s most boring meeting of the year. Only this time, it really wasn’t.

By each January 20th, New York State requires every Town Board to hail into its meeting room anyone on its team who handles money. It’s called the Annual Audit. We in Enfield conducted ours Friday evening, the 13th. (We’re not superstitious.)

The Town Clerk, the tax collector, and our bookkeeper all presented their papers and answered questions. Everyone’s answers satisfied our checklist.

But what made this year special—albeit bittersweet—was Town Justice Betty Poole’s attendance. Judge Poole retired in December, yet she’s still responsible for last year’s judicial accounting. Dealing with some medical issues these days, Judge Poole appeared via zoom. Her accounts all stood in order. And it gave the Judge and us Board members an opportunity to say a proper goodbye. We did.

We thanked Judge Poole for her service. She thanked us for the opportunity to serve. Betty’s served more than 33 years in local courts. She’d been Enfield Justice since 1994. We will miss her smile, and her firm, yet fair administration of justice; her respect for the Rule of Law.

Audit Meeting adjourned. Enfield marches on. / RL

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (50)(Jan. 12): After a prolonged delay, and following the retirement of long-time Town Justice Betty Poole in December, the Town of Enfield Justice Court is getting back to a regular schedule.

Town Supervisor Stephanie Redmond announced at the Town Board’s Wednesday night meeting that Judge Thomas Schlee, one of the Town of Ulysses’ two justices, will be assuming temporary duties in Enfield. Schlee will hold court until either the installation of a new Enfield Justice following this November’s elections, or the Town Board’s appointment of a local resident as interim justice before then.

Judge Poole had long held Town Court on Mondays, either in the mornings or evenings. Judge Schlee will move Court to Tuesday evenings, sessions commencing at 6 PM.

Though the position of Court Clerk remains at a judge’s discretion, Redmond also announced Wednesday that Judge Schlee will retain Enfield resident Heather Knutsen-King as his clerk, with Judge Schlee’s Ulysses Court Clerk assisting her, as needed. The Town Board appointed Knutsen-King only in late-December, as Judge Poole’s clerk, her daughter, had also resigned.

An End to the Wood Stove

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (51)

(Jan. 10): If you live in New York State, and you want to buy a wood stove, or an oil furnace, or even a propane heater, better plan on buying it within the next seven years. Because if you don’t, according to Kathy Hochul, Big Government will say you can’t.

Words mean things. And I take Governor Hochul at her every word. Buried in Hochul’s “State of the State” Address Tuesday, sandwiched among all the aspirational platitudes about mental health, child care, and inflation-ratcheted minimum wages, was this troubling tidbit, Hochul tipping her hat to the Green New Deal:

To set us on that path, I’m proposing a plan to end the sale of any new fossil-fuel-powered heating equipment by 2030.”

I take Kathy Hochul literally. To me, that means anything that burns oil, or gas… or (even) wood would be banned from sale by the start of the next decade. But there was more:

“And I’m calling for all new construction to be zero-emission, starting in 2025 for small buildings and 2028 for large buildings. We are taking these actions because climate change remains the greatest threat to our planet, and to our children and grandchildren.”

All right. I presume this means the new home you build in two years can only heat with electricity. Again, to me, words mean things.

And to me, they mean something else. At least here in rural upstate, they mean that folks like Lee Zeldin have a good shot at the Governor’s Mansion in 2026. / RL

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (52)

(Jan 10): The best-known member of Ithaca Common Council to those of us living outside the city line has disappointed many of us by declining to reach for higher office.

First Ward Alderperson Cynthia Brock, best known for her lodging of an ethics complaint against former Mayor Svante Myrick and other City officials, has told The Ithaca Voice she will not run to succeed Laura Lewis as Mayor, after Lewis announced her plans last week not to seek a full, four-year term.

Instead, City leaders appear rallying around another Council member, Fifth Ward Alderperson Robert Cantelmo, who Sunday became the first to announce his intensions to run for mayor this fall.

The Voice reports Cantelmo pushed all the right liberal buttons during his campaign rollout, talking up the Green New Deal, affordable housing, and Reimagining Public Safety. Reportedly, many of Cantelmo’s Council colleagues attended his announcement, Brock included. Lewis was not there.

But the mayor elected this fall will be a weak mayor. Ithaca switches to a City Manager government in 2024 making its top political position more ceremonial than administrative.

Psst: Hochul Signed It!

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (53)

(Jan. 8): You won’t find it in any Kathy Hochul press release. Nor did she mention it in her Inaugural Address. Assemblymember Anna Kelles didn’t touch on it in her weekly online update. (Kelles’ last posted news release was in March.) And Senator Lea Webb’s official site is still bear naked.

So much for news. But a scant few media outlets reported it New Year’s Day. Governor Hochul New Year’s Eve quietly signed the lame-duck-passed law granting State Senators and Assembly members a 29 per cent pay raise.

As far as one knows, Hochul has yet to comment on the action she took. Two days before Christmas, Hochul was abrupt. “I have many bills on my desk … so I will address that in proper time,” was about all she then said. I guess she did address that bill. Then she sealed her lips.

But Albany Republicans are talking. Not a single GOP legislator supported raising legislative pay from $110,000 to $142,000 annually. Here’s what Assemblyman Michael Lawler tweeted, according to the New York Post: “If Hochul had any political courage, she would not only veto the ridiculous $32,000 pay raise, she would have called us back for a special session to deal with the disastrous cashless bail.” Amen. / RL

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (54)

(Jan. 6): She read from a script. She seldom looked up. She spoke in a monotone. And she buried the lead.

Newly-installed Ithaca Mayor Laura Lewis’ “State of the City” address Wednesday night was anything but inspiring. It was hardly a stem-winder. And eleven minutes into her 15-minute dry-as-a-desert recitation of supposed urban milestones and hard-fought accomplishments, Lewis dropped a political bombshell that landed with a thud. Though just elected to complete the final year of Mayor Svante Myrick’s unfinished term, the newly-installed Lewis announced she will not seek re-election this fall to remain mayor beyond December.

“For the past five years, it has been my privilege and continues to be my greatest honor to serve the city I love as Councilmember, and now as Mayor,” Lewis read, head down, at Common Council’s first-of-year session. “I look forward to the many challenges and opportunities we will face together throughout 2023. However, I’m announcing tonight that I will not be seeking reelection to the position of mayor in 2024.”

There. Thud. Lewis gave no reason for her taking the shortest of mayoral paths. But I bet Katie Sims and Zach Winn would love to have known her intentions when they campaigned against her last November.

Still, in 2024, the job of Ithaca Mayor will become a far cry from what it was back in Ed Conley’s glory days. Next year, a City Manager will take the helm, and the elected mayor becomes relegated to Chief Meeting Chair and Baby-Kisser. Maybe Laura Lewis knows that. Or maybe that in a city with rising crime, labor strife, ethics probes, and here-today, gone-tomorrow chiefs of police, it’s best to get out while the getting’s good.

Laura Lewis: City Hall’s latest, year-long Lame Duck, and in a place that starves for real leadership. In a way, it’s rather fitting. But in another, it’s kind of sad. Ithaca, Good Luck. / RL

Calculator Democracy?

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (55)

(Jan. 6): “I hate it,” Dryden’s Mike Lane said of weighted voting Thursday. Yet Lane, a constitutional purest, wants to see it, at least temporarily, in the Tompkins County Legislature.

At a meeting of the Government Operations Committee January 5th, Lane pushed hard to impose a weighted voting scheme from now through the 2025 elections. It would only be then that redistricting from the 2020 Census will finally reshape district lines and balance representational populations.

Quest for power does not drive the Dryden Democrat’s calculator-intensive initiative. A spreadsheet Lane shared with the committee showed he would be one of two legislators to forfeit the most influence. Lane would only cast 85 per cent of a vote.

Enfield and Newfield’s influence would also fall. Anne Koreman would cast 99% of a vote; Randy Brown, 96%. Three Ithaca City districts would gain the most. Rich John’s vote would weigh-in at nearly 119%.

“The people in Tompkins County have not been equally represented,” Lane reflected. He faulted legislators for not shortening their current terms to allow constituent equity to take hold sooner. “And we are open to a lawsuit,” Lane warned.

Others, notably committee chair Amanda Champion—who would actually gain influence under the change—are more willing to kick the can down the road, gather information first, and not bring Lane’s resolution to the floor next month, as he’d like. “I would not entertain a resolution at that time,” Champion said.

What’s more, by February, committee assignments could change. Lane may be off the committee; or for that matter, maybe Champion as well.

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (56)(Dec. 28): A year-long moratorium on approval of new large solar farms in Enfield will end now that the Town Board Tuesday approved a series of revisions to the Town’s three-year old Solar law, its regulations tucked within Enfield’s larger requirements for site plan review.

The most important change the revised law makes is financial; it states clearly that the Town reserves the right to enter into Host Community Agreements with solar developers, agreements that would provide the Town direct compensation in addition to the Payment in Lieu of Tax (PILOT) funding that might otherwise be negotiated, including by Tompkins County’s Industrial Development Agency.

In December 2021, the Enfield Board enacted the current moratorium after financial negotiations with developers of Norbut Solar’s Applegate Road solar farm proposal failed to provide compensation beyond the PILOT’s amount.

But the Solar Law may change further. Councilperson Robert Lynch Tuesday introduced—but then withdrew—an amendment that would have tightened controls on how solar farm operators maintain the legally-required “residual acreage,” that part of the property it must keep free from solar panels. Lynch wanted rules that prevent the operator from “wasting” the land; letting it grow to weeds, rather than keeping it farmed or mowed.

After lengthy debate, Board members promised to pursue Lynch’s concerns in future months and perhaps toughen the rules in time.

There’s expanded coverage of the story now posted on this website.

Deal, But (Sadly) No Deal

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (57)

(Dec. 28): It sounded too good to be true. And it was.

Meeting during the closing moments of a “live” online equipment auction December 14, our Enfield Town Board authorized up to $30,000 for purchase of a (very slightly) used standby generator for our Highway Department. As the meeting closed, we thought we’d bought it. Sadly, we did not.

During the closing minutes of our Town Board’s end-of-year meeting December 27, Highway Superintendent Buddy Rollins shared the bad news. Another party had bid higher before the closing gavel. And once a commission payment was added in, the total climbed slightly above what we’d authorized Rollins’ deputy to bid. Too bad. We need that generator. And the price was a bargain.

“Please look for another one,” I advised Rollins. I know he will. Better luck next time.

On the brighter side, the Superintendent reported he’d successfully bid—and our Board Tuesday promptly authorized—purchase of a 2015 dump truck and salt spreader formerly used by Tompkins County’s Highway Department. It replaces the truck in our fleet with a blown engine. No question; our bid’s good this time. / RL

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (58)(Dec. 28): The resignation of Enfield Town Justice Betty Poole and her court clerk, her daughter Tiffany Poole, would have left Town Court completely unstaffed at year’s end. Tuesday night, the Town Board filled at least 50% of the combined vacancy.

By unanimous vote, the Town Board tapped recently-arrived Enfield resident Heather Knutsen to be court clerk. Knutsen, who admits she holds a rather unconventional resume for the job, was for the past 31 years a veterinarian’s assistant in Oneonta. Marriage brought her to this community.

But Knutsen holds an important professional asset. She told the Board her father has been Town Justice for the Town of Schoharie. And the new appointee said she might choose to run for Enfield Town Justice in the coming year’s election cycle to permanently fill the judicial vacancy.

The State Court System will appoint Judge Poole’s immediate replacement, but reportedly has yet to do so. Knutsen said she recognizes her appointment is discretionary. A newly-appointed justice might want a different clerk.

DOT: Hayts Rd. Stays at 55

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (59)

(Dec 12.): For the moment, the Town of Enfield and Hayts Road residents have lost their fight to cut a speed limit that they say once claimed a life.

The August 2018 death of 82-year old Carmen Jacks, who died when struck by a car while crossing Hayts Road east of Van Dorn, prompted the Town and neighbors to fight for safety improvements, including a lower speed limit.

But in a December 6th letter to the Town, with logic that may sound clueless, Scott Bates, Regional Traffic Engineer for the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) rejected Enfield’s request for a lower limit on Hayts between Sheffield and Sage Roads.

“NYSDOT professionals determined that lowering the speed limit would not be appropriate at this time,” Bates wrote the Town. “Setting the speed limit at the prevailing free-flow speed (55 MPH) decreases conflicts, minimizes crashes, and makes it easier for vehicles and pedestrians to judge the speed of approaching vehicles.” Never mentioned, the limited sight distance that likely caused Carmen’s death.

“No, I am not happy with this finding,” Enfield Councilperson Robert Lynch (this writer) wrote the Town Board Monday after reading Bates’ letter. “A woman got killed on Hayts near Van Dorn, and NYSDOT doesn’t care.” Lynch encouraged the Board to consider other measures to calm Hayts Road traffic.

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (60)(Dec. 18): Admittedly, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea; eclectic, uninhibited, and decidedly left-of-center. But culminating a decade-long effort, Ithaca Community Radio, licensee of Radio Station WRFI, signed-on December 13th with a full-power station that expands its reach to cover most of Tompkins County, including Enfield.

Up until now, the volunteer-staffed, progressive licensee has broadcast locally with only a highly-directionalized, low-power signal at 88.1 MHz. one that covered Ithaca, but was barely audible west of Sheffield Road. Now, by rebuilding its tiny, co-owned Odessa affiliate (formerly WINO), WRFI, at 89.7-FM, blankets West Hill communities it could not before reach.

Yes, for some, this is all inside baseball by a diehard former broadcaster. But here’s something to remember: For all its sometimes strangeness and arguable political bias, WRFI does cover local news, performing a duty that many other stations have forgotten. Refreshing. / RL

Cutting Speeds in a Flash

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (61)

(Dec. 11): Yes, Ithaca’s City speed limits will fall to 25. And no, from attending Common Council last Wednesday, you never would have known it.

Buried within a “Consent Agenda” whose items were never read openly and passed by only a quick show of hands, City Alderpersons voted 9-0 (Cynthia Brock was excused) to cut the city’s long-standing 30 MHP limit to little faster than a school zone. It was a long meeting, and Council treated the zone-thing as a throw away.

City officials estimate replacing some 135 old speed signs (and having a contractor do it) will cost Ithaca $30,000. By that same, quick vote, Council approved the money.

City traffic-calmers like the change. Probably rural commuters will hate it. And NYDOT gets caught in the middle. The City’s Director of Transportation and Parking says large portions of Routes 13, 79, 96 and 89 are State-owned and can’t have speeds lowered without State DOT consent.

And more under-the-radar news: With Council mired in matters like a botched Police Chief hiring and testy labor talks, this one got swept under Wednesday’s rug too. Council authorized the first step toward a new $20-$30 Million Public Safety Facility. It approved up to $4 Million in bonds for site purchase, location not stated.

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (62)(Nov. 19): The law required a Public Hearing. But no one spoke to object November 9th as the Enfield Town Board invited comment, and then approved raising the income eligibility limit for a Senior Citizens’ discount on Town property taxes.

For many years, Enfield had set the income ceiling at $24,000 for older homeowners and the disabled to receive a 50% reduction on the Town tax. Until this year, New York allowed senior incomes of no higher than $29,000 to qualify.

But in August, Governor Hochul signed legislation raising the allowable exemption significantly. Tompkins County hiked its own limit to $35,000 in response. After studying several options, the Enfield Board agreed to set the same level as a kind of Goldilockscompromise.

Under a stair step formula established by the State, Enfield seniors with incomes as high as $43,400 will also now be eligible for exemptions of something less than 50%

Sadly, the limit can’t be enjoyed before the January 2024 tax bills. Eligible seniors will need to apply before next March 1st and may receive a notice from the County Department of Assessment encouraging them to do so.

Norbut PILOT Delayed; Project Faulted

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (63)

(Nov. 13): As expected, the Tompkins Country Industrial Development Agency (IDA) November 9 delayed by one year the beginning—and the end—of Norbut Solar Farms’ Payment in Lieu of Tax (PILOT) abatement for its Enfield solar farm off Applegate Road. Norbut maintains supply chain delays have kept it from installing panels until next year. If the IDA had not acted, Norbut would have lost money on the project’s back end.

“But they have begun construction,” Enfield Councilperson Robert Lynch (this writer) told the IDA’s Wednesday meeting. “They subcontracted to a construction company, and they stripped the whole land of all the trees. It is a great concern to the people on the Enfield Town Board that they basically left the site all weedy and a moonscape. “

“This body provides financial assistance, and it does not provide site plan approval,” IDA Executive Director Heather McDaniel responded. “It does not have any control over construction, unfortunately.”

Later that day, the Town Board moved forward in rewriting Enfield’s Solar Law, in part, to correct problems the Norbut adventure has laid bare.

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (64)(Oct. 21): Call it a small footnote to this week’s County Legislature meeting. Yet view the principle behind it.

Ithaca’s Downtown Conference Center—which I believe Tompkins County foolishly bought into—is costing more to build than the $31.5 Million projected when community leaders committed to build it just before the pandemic broke.

“The construction cost on this project, as pretty much any construction project these days, has gone well above budget, and that’s the basis for this ask,” Ithaca’s Rich John told his Tompkins County Legislature in requesting it refund $18,551 in Mortgage Recording Tax the Center’s developers mistakenly paid, but now want back to help pay for cost overruns.

The County Legislature consented, but only on a 9-4 vote.

“The Conference Center would be a community-wide public benefit,” John insisted. Some might disagree. I did, and told it to the Legislature just as the pandemic hit.

“This grandiose Conference Center initiative was acknowledged to be a risky experiment (pre-COVID),” I said in March 2020. “Rational minds must now multiply that risk many times in light of today’s reality.” Amen / RL.

New Enfield Streamside Rules Possible

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (65)

(Oct. 5): It could be argued that boring meetings produce the best law. If so, the Enfield Planning Board could have spent nearly two hours wisely Wednesday crafting details of new water protection regulations that could limit some future commercial and residential development close to the town’s major streams.

Using a draft Town of Caroline protection law as its launching point—but Board members frequently faulting Caroline’s as too detailed and intrusive—Enfield planners drew themselves toward proposed regulations that would restrict development within a 100-foot buffer zone of so-called “perennial streams,” generally Enfield Creek and its principal tributaries. Unlike in Caroline, “intermittent streams,” those that don’t flow all the time, wouldn’t be regulated. Residents who want to build within the buffer could still seek a Planning Board waiver.

And unlike Caroline, the Enfield regulations would largely steer clear of farming. The Caroline draft, members claimed, would prohibit agricultural operations within 50 feet of any stream.

“Can you tell somebody you can’t plow over there?” Board member Mike Carpenter asked. Board Chair Dan Walker replied that’s a State decision. “We can’t supersede DEC,” Walker maintained.

Two months ago, the Enfield Town Board handed off to its Planning Board the task of drafting tighter land use regulations. Wednesday’s working session carried the mandate forward. The streamside rules would likely become part of a revised Site Plan Review Law planners have worked on for months.

Enfield’s Water Protection Committee has requested the tighter rules. “Floods are getting bigger,” Carpenter warned. Though he also stated, “I don’t like making laws we’re not going to enforce.”

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (66)(Sept. 19): NY Route 79, Mecklenburg Road, through Miller’s Corners just got safer.

In response to the Town of Enfield’s request, the New York State Department of Transportation has lowered the posted speed limit along a two-mile stretch of the highway from 50 to 45 Miles per Hour.

Town Board members welcomed the NYSDOT’s decision at their September 14th monthly meeting. And by the following weekend, the new lower speed limit signs between Applegate Road and Podunk Road had already been posted. Expect enforcement to follow.

In some instances, workers attach red flags to the signs to warn motorists of the change. Here they did not. So take care to notice… and to remember.

Unfortunately, the State DOT did not grant the Town Supervisor’s second request, namely to install a sidewalk between the Sandy Creek Mobile Home Park and Miller’s Corners businesses. So if the Town wants sidewalks, Enfield will have to build them itself. / RL

A Few First, Cautious Steps

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (67)

(Sept. 7): “We’re not creating a zoning ordinance. We’re just looking at land uses,” Enfield Planning Board Chair Dan Walker stated firmly Wednesday night as the Planning Board concluded the first of what’ll likely be numerous monthly discussions into potential tightened controls on certain specified land uses in the town.

Though the “Dreaded Z-Word” had been bandied about numerous times at Town Board and Planning Board sessions this summer, “zoning” was only mentioned casually in passing by planners Wednesday. Instead, the Board focused on Enfield’s existing Site Plan Review Law, and how its regulations might be updated to bring them more into line with Town Supervisor Stephanie Redmond’s stated concerns about potential new arrivals to the Town like noisy factories or even a smelly landfill.

A full story on this meeting is now posted. See the Latest News tab.

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (68)

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (69)Since January 2020, I’m proud to have been the Enfield Town Board’s representative on the Tompkins County Council of Governments (TCCOG). At our regular Town Board meetings, I report on TCCOG discussions of intermunicipal interest that TCCOG has addressed in its meetings.

Now added to this website, filed under the the “TCCOG” tab, are the written versions of my monthly reports, presuming TCCOG has met since our Town Board’s last session. Please browse these reports and provide me whatever input you’d like.

Our Enfield Civility

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (70)From the Enfield Civility Resolution, adopted by the Town Board, Sept. 13, 2017:

RESOLVED to exhibit and encourage the kinds of personal qualities that are typical in a civil society—gratitude, humility, openness, passion for service to others, propriety, kindness, caring, sense of duty, and a commitment to doing what is right in the Enfield community. All Enfield board members, committee members and staff shall strive to:

  1. Treat everyone courteously
  2. Listen to others respectfully
  3. Give open minded consideration to all viewpoints
  4. Focus on the issues and avoid personalizing debate
  5. Embrace respectful disagreement and dissent as democratic rights that are inherent components of an inclusive public process and tools for forging sound decisions and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Enfield board members, committees and staff shall strive to promote the use of and adherence to these guidelines in all Enfield community activities.

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (71)

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February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (72)If so, check out the news affecting Enfield, Newfield and all of Tompkins County, reporting posted on the Latest News tab. Go to the upper drop-down menu.

February 2023 Reporting Archives – Bob Lynch, Enfield Councilperson (73)
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