Local News: September 21, 2023

- Ithaca Leaders Postpone Vote on Cornell Funding, Approve Homeless Encampment Policy -

The Ithaca Common Council held a special meeting Wednesday night to vote on two highly significant matters. But, they postponed a vote on the proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Cornell until an October meeting. Mayor Lewis said that would give Alderpersons more time to talk with constituents. The Ithaca Voice reports days before the meeting several Common Council members expressed opposition to the plan because its for too long and what Cornell would pay is too little. It’s proposed that Cornell would pay Ithaca $4 million a year for the next 21 years with increases in inflation. The current agreement has been in place for almost 25 years. This year Cornell paid the city $1.6 million. The draft MOU also has a clause that prohibits the City of Ithaca from lobby to change the university’s tax-exempt status for the length of the agreement. The plan is instead of Cornell paying property taxes on the real estate it owns in the City. The city estimates that’s worth about $33 million dollars.

The other issue on the agenda Wednesday night was a new homeless encampment law. It relates to an area called the Jungle in Ithaca’s West End. The Council passed that but to be effective it will require significant services from the county. Tompkins County recently organized it’s own “working group” to consider what it can or should do for people in the encampment.

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