Election Info

It’s almost election day! I thought I would provide some election-related information that people might find useful. This year the general election will be on Tuesday, November 7th. If you’re not sure of your polling place, you can locate it here.

In the 2nd ward, I’m up for reelection to Common Council, and Leslyn McBean-Clairborne and Rich John are up for reelection to the County Legislature. All three of us are uncontested. Rich did have an opponent, Reed Sterberger, who has withdrawn from the race. However, Reed’s name will still appear on the ballot.

(Quick note: in the 2nd ward, the city and county legislative boundaries are slightly different. Here’s a map of the election districts. If you live in election districts 2-1, 2-2, 2-3 your county legislator is Leslyn and your ballot will look like this. If you live in election district 2-4, your county legislator is Rich and your ballot will look like this. Confusing, I know. I hope this can be addressed during the next round of redistricting).

In addition to the local elections, there are three statewide proposals on the ballot this fall. Here is a guide from the League of Women Voters that explains each proposal in detail. If you’re looking for additional resources on the Constitutional Convention, the Rockefeller Institute has a wealth of information.

In the City of Ithaca there is also a fourth proposal on the ballot, on the restructuring of the city’s volunteer boards and committees. You can find more information on this proposal here. This Ithaca Voice article also summarizes the changes.

Finally, make sure to head to Coltivare on Tuesday for election day pancake breakfast! A great tradition. Hope to see you there!

November 2017 Common Council Meeting

Common Council meets 6pm Wednesday, November 1 at Ithaca City Hall​. Topics will include:

The Budget

Common Council’s proposed budget increases the tax rate from $12.04 to $12.10 per $1,000 of assessed property value, up 0.83%. The median homeowner will pay $21 more next year. Residents already suffer under a heavy burden of property taxes, but very frequently demand higher levels of service. So what did we add to the mayor’s budget?

  • Communications equipment for the fire department to replace decade old radios under a grant that requires we pay 20% of the cost
  • Water hose for the fire department to replace hose reaching its end of life
  • Building and Grounds supervisor for the Department of Public Works to oversee increasing demand for maintenance on aging facilities
  • Motor equipment mechanic helper for the Department of Public Works to absorb knowledge before staff retires and address increased workload
  • Two additional housing inspectors to handle the major backlog in housing inspections and prepare for upcoming retirements
  • Employee health and safety coordinator to address safety and risk management
  • Gorge ranger program in conjunction with the Town of Ithaca and Tompkins County to protect our natural areas
  • Enabling City Hall to accept credit card payments, flexibility and modernization that’s long overdue

See the Cornell Sun’s coverage of the budget here.

Moratorium on Infill Development on South Hill


The proposed South Hill Overlay District would restrict residential lots to one primary structure (say, a house or duplex). This was drafted in response to concerns from residents of South Hill that recent infill development is unattractive and tips the balance of a traditionally owner-occupied neighborhood towards too much student housing. Concerns with enacting the overlay district include restricting income potential for those who need a small rental to afford living in their primary residence and losing the benefits of infill development, which can increase density while preserving much of a neighborhood’s character.

You can find recent coverage of this issue at The Ithaca Voice.

Designation of the “Chacona Block” as a local landmark


Chacona Block is the name given to 411-415 College Avenue, two buildings with a common façade up in Collegetown that most residents recognize as the homes of Collegetown Bagels and Ruloff’s. It’s an iconic spot in large part due to the large patio adjacent to CTB. Student Agencies, the owner of the building and a non-profit organization that has provided entrepreneurial experience to Cornell students for over a century, asserts it can’t afford to bring the building up to modern safety and efficiency standards. They also feel they could better serve their students if they constructed a new building that rises to the maximum height allowed by zoning (6 stories compared to the existing 4). Historic Ithaca, a local preservation advocacy organization, asserts that the building has important history involving an immigrant business and was designed by a notable architect with significant work around the city.

The Ithaca Times has a nice writeup on this debate.

There is, of course, much more. Read the full agenda here and watch us online at ithacany.viebit.com. You can also email us at council@cityofithaca.org or come see us in Council Chambers at City Hall on Wednesday at 6pm.