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Legislature Approves Update in 20-Year Capital Plan

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Legislature Approves Update in 20-Year Capital Plan

Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Following up a detailed presentation at their last meeting, the Legislature adopted an update in the County's 20-Year Capital Plan. The vote was 13-1, with Legislator Carol Chock voting no, and Legislator Kathy Luz Herrera excused.

The Plan, adopted in 2006, is "used as a guide in making decisions regarding the community infrastructure needed to support the operations and responsibilities of Tompkins County government with a consistent and manageable level of public investment." In part, the $91.2 million Plan sets a revised investment goal of a 0.75% tax levy increase for capital purposes in 2014 and 2015 (providing approximately $328,000 in additional support each year), followed by a goal of a 0.50% levy increase thereafter (generating approximately $219,000 in additional annual support). The 1% annual levy increase specified in the original Plan could not be sustained during the economic crisis.

Legislator Carol Chock expressed some concern about the plan, maintaining that the Plan should also address "deferred maintenance" for public health, mental health, and social health needs, suggesting that capital expenditures set down in the plan could overtake other needed social priorities. Others pointed out that, while those needs are important, they do not amount to capital expenditures, and County Administrator Joe Mareane stressed that the Capital Plan is "a blueprint" that can change as conditions change, with legislative approval needed to move specific projects forward.