Ithaca needs to work as a partner with other governments so that we can streamline services, eliminate redundancies and lower property taxes.
What we are already doing:
The Ithaca Police Department is an excellent example of the City’s sharing services with the County to save taxpayers’ money. The IPD shares its dispatch with the County Sheriff, which saves on administrative costs, and the IPD SWAT team is comprised of both Sheriff’s deputies and Ithaca City police officers, which saves on training costs.
The County highway department’s work is another example of intermunicipal cooperation that results in savings. The highway department coordinates with towns in the county and develops street clearing routes that are more efficient. They will ‘swap’ or ‘share’ roads when it means more gas-saving, direct routes.
What can we be doing?
Demands on our public employees have been increasing due to unfunded state mandates, population growth, and unfilled staff positions. As the workload increases, we can respond by sharing the burden with each other instead of hiring new staff.
City Hall, Town Hall and many of the County offices are already within a four-block radius of each other. I believe this presents an opportunity for shared administrative, finance and IT services.
I believe that the City should work with surrounding municipalities to plan land-use on a regional scale.
The planning departments of the City of Ithaca, Town of Ithaca, Village of Lansing, Village of Cayuga Heights and Tompkins County must work together. Planning without consideration of your neighbors is bound to fail.