Highlights from Last Night’s Cortland Common Council Meeting (1/21/20)

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Cortland Common Council met last night (January 21) for a busy agenda of discussion items.

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NY Hemp Oil

Following a pair of public hearings, the city approved submission of a community block grant application on behalf of NY Hemp Oil and its owner, Cortland’s Main Street Farms.

With the grant, they plan to construct an industrial hemp facility in the former JTS lumber building on South Main Street, which initial estimates show will create 38 new jobs, 51% of which will be available to low-to-moderate income persons.

The city can apply for a maximum of $750,000 for each grant.

Otter Creek Place

Also at last night’s meeting, the potential of making Otter Creek Place into a “DO NOT ENTER” zone from the intersection with Groton Avenue – part of the ongoing work to the Groton Ave Bridge.

DPW Superintendent Chris Bistocchi said the current recommendation from engineers is to make Otter Creek Place accessible only by way of a right turn off Broadway Avenue.

That change would require a public hearing and will next be considered at council’s February 4th meeting.

Parker School Environmental Review

Council also officially established a timeline for the environmental review portion of purchasing Parker School.

The city established itself as the lead agency behind the study, and will now prepare and publish a draft environmental statement at the end of the day today (January 22).

Once released, a potential public hearing could be planned next month with February 20 being the final day for public comment on the statement before a final version is filed the first week of March.

Conference of Mayor’s 2020 Legislative Program

A resolution was also passed to voice the city’s support for the New York Conference of Mayor’s 2020 Legislative Program, joining with its sister cities, towns and villages to support the enactment of measures that:

  • increase unrestricted State Aid to local governments
  • establish an annual State funding stream available to local governments to address water and sewer
    infrastructure needs
  • expand highway funding
  • amend the newly enacted Criminal Justice Reforms
  • Limit the application and costs of the Prevailing Wage Mandate

Snow Removal

City leaders also discussed a potential crackdown in the near future on their residential sidewalk snow removal policy.

Council voted unanimously to allow officials at the city code office to start fining those who don’t do so.

According to city law, residents have until 6 p.m. the day after a snowfall event to clear sidewalks, and during a sustained event it must be done once every 24 hours.

In any two year period, the first offense is a $25 fine, with a max of five citations and beyond at $250.

The next meeting of the Cortland Common Council is set for Tuesday, February 4.

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