Local News for Monday, February 13, 2023

Tompkins Provides Incentive to First Responders

At its meeting last week, the Tompkins County legislature approved a measure giving a tax break to volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers who own real estate. According to the Ithaca Voice, the move is aimed to boost Ithaca's emergency service volunteer rates, which have dwindled over recent years as wages fail to keep pace with inflation and pandemic-related strains persist. The measure will provide a 10% reduction on county taxes owed by responders. The town of Newfield is the only other local municipality offering the discount. According to the New York State Department of Health Bureau of EMS, the decline matches statewide trends of a 10 percent decrease of EMS providers over the past decade. 

DIA’s Ferguson to Step Down

The Downtown Ithaca Alliance announced on Friday that longtime executive director Gary Ferguson will step down from his role in June. According to the DIA, Ferguson said, “I am proud of our work and believe we have made a lasting and measurable impact on this Downtown and our community.”  Since beginning his role in 1999, Ferguson has helped downtown triple its size in total built square feet, including three new hotels, renovations to the Commons, and the construction of 1,000 new housing units. Ferguson said it was time to bring in a new leader for the DIA. The agency is expected to announce details of its search for a new Executive Director in the coming weeks. 

Horsing Around on State Street

Last Wednesday, a horse was spotted walking through traffic on East State Street. According to the Ithaca Voice, the horse had gotten loose from a trailer that was traveling on the road, prompting the owner to call the police while he attempted to recapture it. With the help of the police, the owner was able to return the horse to the trailer and secure it. No injuries to the horse or drivers were reported.

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