March 2018 Common Council Meeting

Common Council meets 6pm Wednesday, March 7 at Ithaca City Hall. The February meeting was canceled due to heavy snow and thus agenda items from that meeting will be handled this Wednesday. Topics include:

The J. Diann Sams Annual African-American History Month Recognition Award

This recognition is named for J. Diann Sams, a former alderperson who represented the 2nd Ward for 3 consecutive terms and before that served on the Ithaca City School District Board of Education.

This year’s award recipient is “Dean” Janice F. Turner. Former 2nd ward alderperson J.R. Clairborne, himself a former 2nd ward alderperson, writes: “Dean Turner’s mark on this community and higher education stretches back some 40 years. There is a long list of college graduates she advised who are now professionals&em;particularly in the healthcare arena&em;who credit her with their success.

Dean Turner began her tenure locally in 1970 at Ithaca College as Academic Adviser. In 1974 she moved to Cornell University where she ascended the ranks to Assistant Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences, Interim Director of The State Programs Office and Pre-Med/Health Careers Adviser. Before her formal retirement in 2009, Dean Turner was the lead adviser for the Black Bio-Medical and Technical Association (BBMTA), and its affiliated projects of the BBMTA learning workshops, youth mentoring, and the annual conference on health, education, and service.

Dean Turner has been a leader on planning committees and organizational boards attached to a variety of regional and national organizations such as the Northeast Association of Advisors for Health Professions, the Student National Medical Association, and the National Association of Medical Minority Educators, Inc. For the latter organization, she remains involved actively in global efforts to promote high-quality professional learning opportunities for interested students and professionals.

Locally, Dean Turner has been a board member of what’s now known as the Women’s Opportunity Center, involved with Ujamaa Residential College and Faculty-in- Residence Program at Cornell University, contributor to The Science and Mathematics Saturday Academy, the Southside Community Center, and the Greater Ithaca Activities Center. She also volunteers at Ithaca Public Schools and the Village at Ithaca.”

Dean Turner will be present at the March meeting along with prior recipients of the award.

Collegetown and Downtown Design Guidelines

The City’s Comprehensive Plan calls for the implementation of design guidelines as a tool to help achieve the plan’s goals of encouraging additional housing and employment opportunities while preserving the character of established neighborhoods. These guidelines will help developers and the Planning and Development Board create the high quality buildings Ithacans expect.

Changes to Ithaca Youth Council

Ithaca Youth Council develops future leaders and provides a way for youth to connect with city government. The Youth Bureau has proposed changes to better accommodate the needs of those who wish to be involve. These include: setting a more flexible membership count, reducing the term to 1 year, changing the way youth council members are appointed, and updating the way they report to council.


There’s a ton more stuff, including many items that will be approved via consent agenda (a package of ostensibly non-controversial items that get voted on together):

  • Personnel changes
  • Corrective action plan on parking structures
  • Award of a bid for fire hose
  • Improvements to Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) sustainable energy loan program
  • Declaration of support for an “Urban Environmental Education Center” at the Ithaca Children’s Garden
  • Historic properties survey
  • Resolutions requesting that Spectrum/Charter Communications restore and retain channels WENY and WSKG
  • Appointments to the 4 new city commissions and to various boards and committees (including big changes to the Planning & Development Board)
  • Amendment to Council rules to require us to have local phone numbers

Read the agenda and watch us online at You can also email us at or come see us in Council Chambers at City Hall on Wednesday at 6pm.