Tompkins County continues to bring in more funds than it spends. At its meeting Tuesday the County Legislature heard from Finance Director Rick Snyder that unspent funds have reached $62 million, an increase of $44 million over the past nine years. Much of the increase is due to higher than expected sales tax revenue. In 2021 sales tax revenue was $6.8 million over budget. County policy sets a target of retaining an 18% surplus; it currently holds more than a 30% surplus.
Ithaca City Schools are facing heavy staffing shortfalls; and school is starting soon, on September 6. According to the Ithaca Voice 67 teachers and instructors have voluntarily resigned since April 2021. There are currently 27 job openings posted with the district. Ithaca Teachers Association President Adam Piasecki said that there are anecdotal reports that resigning teachers are not moving out of town but rather, commuting to surrounding districts. One teacher who spoke to the Voice said that while pay at ICSD had been competitive when they started, now, years later, compensation has lagged behind other districts.
Last week Ithaca Common Council’s Reimagining Public Safety Special Committee held their first meeting. The Ithaca Times reports the group is working on a short timeline and only plans to hold four meetings in total. The group appointed George McGonigal as its chair, resolved to set up a citizen feedback group, and to research Rochester’s nascent unarmed response units. Ithaca Police Sergeant Mary Orsaio presented the department’s new community dashboard which provides a visualization of the number and type of call the IPD is responding to.
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