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Amendments Adopted to 2016 Recommended Budget

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Amendments Adopted to 2016 Recommended Budget

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Tompkins County Legislature formally adopted amendments to the County Administrator’s 2015 Recommended Budget and the Capital Program for the next five years, as recommended by the Expanded Budget Committee.  The vote was 10-2, with Legislators Dooley Kiefer and Leslyn McBean-Clairborne voting no.  There were no changes to the package recommended by the Expanded Budget Committee before the Legislature vote.

The amended budget would increase the County tax levy by 1.12%, compared to the 1.3% included in the Administrator’s budget, to meet the Legislature’s 2016 levy goal.  The recommended tax rate of $6.73 per thousand is down by 1.77% from 2015 and is about a penny less than the Administrator’s budget, representing an increase of $13.62 in the tax bill for the median-valued $170,000 home.  As part of the amended budget, the County Solid Waste Fee would increase by $3.00 from the 2015 level, to $55.00 per household, a dollar less than was in the Recommended Budget.

Legislator Carol Chock said, “I think we have grappled with and come up with a good budget,” even though in some cases she would have liked to do more.  Legislator Kiefer said she cannot support the budget for a number of reasons since, as she sees it, “it omits too many things that we can afford to do,’ but did not because of concerns to keep the tax levy down.  Legislator Martha Robertson called it “a solid budget to send to the public” and noted there will be an opportunity to make changes later in the process.  Both Budget Chair Jim Dennis and Legislature Chair Mike Lane thanked Legislators for their work during nine meetings of the Expanded Budget Committee.

The amended package, now known as the legislative Tentative Budget, replaces Administrator Joe Mareane’s recommended budget as the basis of budget deliberations and will be sent on to public hearing.  The Legislature will hold the public budget hearing on Tuesday, November 10, beginning at 7 p.m. at Legislature Chambers, located at the Governor Daniel D. Tompkins Building (Second Floor), 121 E. Court Street, Ithaca.  The Legislature’s final budget adoption vote is scheduled November 17, and changes may still be made prior to final adoption. 

Amendments to the Recommended Budget, as well as other information regarding the 2015 budget process, are available for review online at the County website at www.tompkinscountyny.gov/ctyadmin/2016budget.