Ms. Robertson said efforts are underway to try to build support for a State tax credit for new geothermal heating. She encouraged citizens and Legislators to contact the Governor's office and urge that this be included in the Governor's budget. She spoke of the debate that took place at the last Legislature meeting relating to Legislators’ salaries and clarified an inaccurate statement Tompkins Weekly attributed to her that diversity wasn't important. She said diversity is vitally important across many parameters and the County needs to do better. She said she thought the proposed increased would strike a good enough balance to encourage people to run without burdening taxpayers too much and she does think encouraging diverse candidates to run is vitally important and hopes other important measures can be explored.
Ms. Kelles said she has now served on the Legislature for one year and said it has posed one of the steepest learning curves she has ever experienced yet has been the most rewarding. She thanked the voters who supported her and said she remains connected and loyal to the people she represents. Ms. Kelles said it has been a privilege to work with all of the Legislators and looks forward to the coming year and to seeing that all of the safety nets that exist are protected.
Ms. Chock explained the phrase she used to answer for her presence during the roll call of members and said she has been going through different languages that reflect the diversity of people who are represented in this multi-national community. She circulated cards she received in the mail concerning the T21 Legislation by Boynton Middle School students. She also said the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) came out with the results of a study of whether hydrofracking operations can pollute groundwater and have concluded that it can.
Mrs. McBean-Clairborne said she had the honor to be Tompkins County's and the City of Ithaca's representative at the My Brother's Keeper national summit at the White House, an initiative brought forward by President Obama as an opportunity to address gaps that young men of color are facing in the nation. Those gaps are in things such as education, graduation from high school, post-secondary education, employment opportunities, and issues around violence and incarceration. She said it was great to represent some of the work Tompkins County is doing and noted in the 2017 budget the County approved monies to go to OAR (Opportunities, Alternatives, and Resources) to support returning citizens to go back to college and improve their educational status, which makes them more marketable for jobs. One of the greatest moments was hearing from a youth panel and hearing how they have turned their life around because of programs like this. One of the takeaways was hearing from "big people" who say they want to put their money behind this but it is also important to hear from municipalities who are committing financial support, no matter what amount, to this because it speaks to the belief they have in this. She encouraged Legislators to continue to do good work around aggression and poverty to erase barriers to particularly young people of color or marginalized people to being able to reach their fullest potential.
Mr. Dennis also referred to a news articles that appeared concerning the resolution that was adopted at the last meeting for Legislators’ salaries. He commended the Ithaca Times and Tompkins Weekly for its coverage of local government and said that coverage is important during these difficult times when there is not coverage from the Ithaca Journal.
Ms. Kiefer spoke of the absence of a tax credit for geothermal and asked if Ms. Robertson was aware of the reasons behind the Governor's veto of it. Ms. Robertson said she was not aware of why the Governor has not signed the Legislation.