ITHACA, N.Y. (WENY) -- The Tompkins County Legislature is working with local organizations to raise the minimum wage within the county as the cost-of-living soars.  

“Ideally, it would be a living wage,” Veronica Pillar, Tompkins County Legislator for District 2, said. “What number is that? That’s going to change with the cost of living. Right now, it has been calculated to be $18.45 in this county...it’s just a cost of various things.” 

Pete Meyers, the Director of the Tompkins County Workers’ Center, said New York State’s minimum wage of $15 per hour is not enough for Tompkins County residents to live comfortably on.  

Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations conducted a survey and found that $18.45 per hour is considered the minimum income level needed for residents in Tompkins County to afford necessities like food and shelter.  

“People have to live outside of Tompkins County in order to work here because they cannot afford to live here,” Meyers said. “They have to drive an extra distance to get here. It’s ridiculous.”  

Members of the Tompkins County Workers’ Center are working with Tompkins County legislators to introduce a resolution in the Housing and Economic Development Committee. 

“What this resolution does is get the ball rolling...have the county set up a committee that’s actually going to create a local law that would be the legislation and how it would get indexed to inflation,” he said.  

Pillar said if the resolution passes, the legislature will be able to tackle the policy.  

“We’re going to allocate some of our efforts and resources towards figuring out what that will be,” she said. 

Pillar said raising the minimum wage will not only help the workers, but small businesses as well. 

“When a business’s workers are themselves, stable in their own lives, that helps the business as a whole,” she said. 

The resolution is set to be voted upon on June 16th by the Tompkins County Legislature.