On August 6th the City-County Committee presented its report and recommendations to a large crowd at Mandeville Hall.

Fresh off the excitement from last night’s event, I wrote a Facebook post just after waking up this morning:

However, while writing this blog post I learned by letter that County Executive Moss has abruptly terminated the Committee. I will address this issue at the end of the post so that it does not interfere with the important, substantive work the Committee has done over the past six months.

The information

Embedded below is a video of last evening’s presentation, the PowerPoint used during it and the Committee’s report.

The Presentation

(Click here for a better video if you are having trouble viewing this one.)

The Powerpoint

The Report

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Moss’s feedback

On July 24, 2019, the Committee met with County Executive Moss, Deputy County Executive Dave Sheen, County Communications Director Vinnie Azzarelli and City Manager Mike Collins to present our recommendations. Mayor Dan Mandell and City Councilperson Joe Duffy are both Committee members and were also present on behalf of the city. The meeting lasted approximately three hours where we engaged in a lengthy discussion about the recommendations and answered any questions they had.

At the end of the meeting the Committee discussed its plan to release the report publicly and hold a forum at Mandeville Hall for municipal leaders and the public. Moreover, the Committee explained it intended to hand deliver copies of the report and an invitation to the presentation to all towns and villages to make sure everyone was as informed as possible.

At the end of the meeting the group decided on a date and time that worked for everyone, and Moss agreed to speak at the start of the presentation, followed by Mayor Mandell.

However, Moss chose not to attend last night’s event, and instead issued a letter terminating the Committee that was received by its members today:

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Further, Moss issued a press release wherein he specifically questioned the appropriateness of raising sales tax in order to share a portion of the new revenue with the City of Elmira, towns and villages.

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The Committee explicitly acknowledged the county’s fiscal stress in the report and at length during last night’s presentation. The sales tax redistribution plan we recommend returns one half of new revenue to the county with the other half allocated among the municipalities because of the fiscal stressors Moss set forth in his letter:

It should be noted that County Executive Moss had a drastically different outlook on the issue of sales tax and the way it is distributed during last year’s campaign than the one his displayed in today’s press release:

From Moss’s campaign website, found here:

From a Facebook post on May 15, 2018:

From a Facebook post on October 11, 2018:

Interestingly, the letter from Burin that Moss previously promoted reads like a preview to the Commitee’s report.

From WSKG on November 3, 2018:

The bottom line is that the Committee Moss formed worked really hard to try to actually get something moving in local government. We held a public forum with the hope that local leaders and the public would come, share their honest and critical feedback, and we could take part in the rebirth of Elmira – together.

The fact that Moss terminated the Committee does not mean the work needs to stop. The ideas and momentum are all there, and we still have the opportunity to implement some of these ideas or new ones that that people may have.

Please don’t lose hope in what can happen. Way too much is at stake to let that happen.

Christina Sonsire