Understanding New York's Peculiarities
Everyone in New York lives in a town, a village within a town, or a city; there is no unincorporated land. Each municipality is located in one of 62 counties (even the New York City boroughs). The municipality where you live does not necessarily have the same name as your postal address and the school district may have yet another name. This is one reason you should be working with a buyer's agent.
To further confuse matters, sometimes a town and village, or town and city, will bear the same name. Thus there is a Town of Dryden and a Village of Dryden, Town and Village of Groton, Town and Village of Lansing, and Town and City of Ithaca. Each municipality has a different tax rate and its own zoning or land use laws, so it is vitally important to understand the location of any property you are seriously considering. This information should be available in the MLS, but ask your agent to verify it for you. Don't be afraid to ask questions and make sure you have it straight.
All of the municipalities in Tompkins County have their own websites and you can learn a lot from them, including zoning and land use regulations, public works issues, cultural resources, and upcoming community events: