State of the Village: 2020 initiatives planned


At the well-attended State of the Village meeting on Saturday, attendees heard reports from Mayor Rordan Hart as well as trustees of the village board. The meeting concluded after an extensive town hall style Q&A session.

Trustee Ben Darfler reported on the comprehensive plan and zoning updates and also gave updates on the fire company. Darfler thanked Fire Chief Jason Fulton for 16 years of service and welcomed current Deputy Chief Matt Taylor as the new fire chief beginning in April.

Carver reported on the Street Tree Advisory Committee, which evaluates the health and safety of village trees. Carver also recognized Tom Major, who ran the Summer Recreation Program for 57 years. He reported on the national trend of increasing pressures of rural EMS departments, which led to the hiring of a new EMS Supervisor Chris Fox.

Trustee Keith Hannon updated on the initiatives of the police department, which was awarded a number of grants related to increased police presence associated with the hiring of two full-time officers.

Hart recognized Deb Watkins, who has served on the village board for 10 years, as deputy mayor and water, sewer and DPW commissioner. Among other important work, Watkins spearheaded the new water and sewer upgrades, which had not been updated since the 1960s and was finalized in 2019.

We are headed into the budget season, of which Hart gave an extensive report. Of the $2.84 million village budget, nearly 94% is spent on non-discretionary items: staffing, insurance, vehicle and equipment and maintenance. The remaining 6% includes training, support for cultural activities and contractual services.

The theme of the day was grant funding. As municipalities face increased unfunded government mandates, officials are faced with two options to pay for staffing for essential services: increase taxes or plan to apply for grants.

What is not considered in the village is cutting any essential services, which unfortunately many rural municipalities are forced to do. In Trumansburg, it is grant funding that has helped allow the village to offer enhanced municipal services such as increased police presence and special events, additional sidewalks along Route 96, tree studies and more.

Questions from attendees included updates on the Crescent Way/46 South St. development, which received preliminary approval from the Planning Board in October. Developers have 18 months to submit a final plan to the Planning Board for review from the code/zoning officer. Residents were also concerned about the long-vacant zoning officer position, a part-time position that the village hopes to fill in the near future.

Parking along Main Street, zoning, sidewalks, consolidation, storm water, new fire/EMS facilities, a crossing guard position for South and Whig streets, speed limits and speed bumps on side roads, bi-monthly water billing and assessments were all part of the day’s larger conversation.

The mayor and village trustees encourage residents to regularly attend village board meetings for updates on 2020 initiatives. The full State of the Village presentation can be found on the village website,

In Brief:

Conservatory News

A new way to honor Trumansburg’s rich architectural history and benefit the Trumansburg Conservatory of Fine Arts (TCFA) is now available. Intrigued by towns where homes and other buildings were marked with historical plaques, carpenter/builder Peter Cooke came up with a plan to make some for Trumansburg, according to Village Historian S.K. Lisk.

He is collaborating with artist Chris Wolff, who is skilled in visual communication and vintage sign typography, for the enumeration. Both craftsmen are working on this without compensation.

Interested homeowners are responsible to ascertain or closely approximate the date their home was built, and they may then order a plaque. Orders are being taken by Betsy Douglas (413-801-6522) or by email:, who can supply some more information. The minimum donation is $25, but residents are encouraged to give more if they wish.

Post Scripts: Local Author Night at Ulysses Philomathic Library, Feb. 11, 6:00 p.m.

In many communities, a trip to the post office is not necessarily a highlight of the day, but for 27 years, the Ithaca Post Office was one of the most cheerful destinations in town, thanks in large part to Rob Sullivan. Behind the counter at the Tioga Street office, Sullivan was so beloved by the public for his gentle humor, wry observations and helpful demeanor that people in line would let others go ahead of them in order to be next up at Rob’s window.

Since his retirement in 2013, Sullivan has been capturing those years at the post office in a wide-ranging collection of poems. In the just-published collection, Post Scripts: Behind the Counter at the Ithaca Post Office, Rob chronicles his journey from entrance exam to last day.

The carefully crafted poems in this collection range from deeply personal to philosophical. With whimsical word play and spot-on insights, the pieces explore what it means to play a small part in the life of a community. Throughout the memoir, there’s a call to live life in an authentic, awakened way.


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