Tompkins County
New York

Report or Discussion Item

County Funding for TCAD for 2019 – 2023


Department:Tompkins County Area DevelopmentSponsors:
Category:Economic DevelopmentFunctions:Tcad

Meeting History

Dec 7, 2017 3:00 PM  Planning, Development, and Environmental Quality Committee Regular Meeting

Mr. Stamm stated in 2013 Tompkins County Area Development (TCAD) Board of Directors made the decision to diversify and stabilize its revenue by seeking revenue from County Government, fee-based services, and investors in equal amounts. This revenue was to support the operating capital needs. The decision was made to form an agreement with the County for a five-year period. A Task Force was formed and a report completed with a recommendation for TCAD to provide one-third projected revenue needs from 2014 through 2018. The County agreed to provide one-third revenue that leveraged another one-third be provided from local and regional investors. 2018 is the final year of the current five-year agreement between TCAD and Tompkins County. He explained that a consultant has already been hired to perform a feasibility study for a five-year investment campaign. TCAD will be asking the County to continue their support of roughly one-third operational expenses from 2019 through 2023.

Ms. Robertson stated this is just an early discussion and there is no resolution being brought forward at this time. She said the logic behind the use of Room Tax funds for some of this funding is because there is a significant percentage of people who were staying in hotels and paying the tax for business reasons. In addition, a large amount of work done by TCAD created that business traffic.

Ms. Chock is supportive of Tompkins County having an economic development program and supporting TCAD providing these services. She asked who determines the priorities for the economic development plan and what is included in that plan since there will be the use of public funds for an extended period of time. Mr. Stamm explained that since the County provides these funds and funding for other non-profit agencies; the County’s influence pales in comparison to the influence it has on TCAD. Some of the designated Board members include the Chair of the Legislature, Chair of the Planning, Development and Environmental Quality Committee, County Administrator, and Commissioner of Planning and Sustainability.

Following an inquiry from Mr. McKenna, Mr. Stamm explained that the County actually provided less than one-third funding for the TCAD Budget as they received funding from other sources. He said this is due in part to the substantial increase in funds from investors as well as the fact that many of the startup companies have grown and acquired by out of town parent companies. He said there is a need to visit with the Chief Executive Officers and decision makers who are not in Tompkins County. The 2018 TCAD Budget is approximately $839,000 and the County’s contribution is approximately $245,000 which is less than one-third.

For the record, Ms. Chock further inquired about the possible appointment of residents and workers who are not business owners to the Board. She suggested hearing from those who have been criticizing TCAD. She would like to know how TCAD will be continuing to work at this on the same page as other County initiatives and priorities that are not directly under the umbrella of economic development such as the Comprehensive Plan.

Ms. Armstrong stated there are two separate items involved: the Board of Directors that runs TCAD and the Economic Development Strategy which is in alignment with the Comprehensive Plan. During the process of developing the Economic Development Strategy for the entire County there is a very consorted effort to engage many different voices and perspectives from across the County. Ms. Robertson stated other counties have an Economic Development Department doing what TCAD does for Tompkins County through this agreement and believes it is an efficient manner to support economic development in the County.

In response to Ms. Chock’s concerns about having a variety of members on the TCAD Board, Ms. Sigler stated the TCAD Board is a diversified group already and they would be very hard pressed to put together a better team.

Ms. Kiefer stated, for the incoming Legislators, the County does not have an in-house Economic Development Department. Following an inquiry by Ms. Kiefer, Mr. Stamm stated TCAD is a 501(c) 6 Non-Profit Organization. Ms. Kiefer requested the agreement include that the audit be an annual requirement.