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County Budget Presentation Summary – Week ending September 7, 2018

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County Budget Presentation Summary – Week ending September 7, 2018

Friday, September 7, 2018

In their initial session this week, Legislators acting as an Expanded Budget Committee heard budget presentations from the first nine County departments and agencies, as they began review of County Administrator Jason Molino’s 2019 Recommended Budget. 

The following departments and agencies presented on September 6: 

  • County Clerk; The History Center; Transportation Planning; the Tompkins County Soil and Water Conservation District; Board of Elections; Opportunities, Alternatives, and Resources (OAR); Animal Control/SPCA; and the County Historian.

The administrator’s $186.5 million Recommended Budget would increase the County’s property tax levy by 1.43%, (less than the Legislature’s 2.2% levy goal for 2019) and would decrease the County tax rate for the fifth consecutive year, due to a substantial increase in the county’s tax base.  A $3 increase in the County’s Solid Waste Annual Fee is also recommended.  Under the Recommended Budget, the County property tax bill for the owner of a median-valued $185,000 home would increase by $15.40.

Presentation highlights:

The County Clerk’s budget includes one over-target request (OTR) for $25,000 (net ) in one-time vehicle replacement funding, to purchase a plug-in electric mail vehicle for its Central Services division.  That net amount reflects a $5,000 revenue offset from NYS Clean Energy Communities grant funding received by the County, which provides financial support to County departments for the cost differential to buy a plug-in electric vehicle rather than a conventional one.

The Recommended Budget supports $10,000 one-time funding request to pay for basement archival storage space in its existing building at 401 E. State Street during 2019, as the History Center transitions to its new home at the County-owned Tompkins Center for History and Culture.  Not included in the administrator’s budget is $20,000 in one-time funding for continued support of an office manager/bookkeeper position,  jointly funded with Historic Ithaca.  Director Rod Howe noted that personnel costs overall will increase in 2019, in part to meet expectations for expanded hours in the new Center.

$88,000 in one-time funding for the successful College Initiative Upstate college prep program is included in OAR’s recommended budget.  While agency requests for two new target-funded positions, a Parolee Case Manager and Housing Case Manager were not approved, the County Administrator as an alternative recommended $50,000 in one-time funding for a combined position of Parolee/Housing Case Manager.  OAR Director Deborah Dietrich noted that OAR over the past two years has taken the positive step of expanding its services to include more intensive work with parolees and that requests for housing assistance continue to increase, with “a notable shortage” in housing supply.  The College Initiative Upstate program, which would be supported by the County for the third year, was said to be making a real difference in people’s lives, and many Legislators expressed deep appreciation for the positive work that is being done through that impressive program.

Included in the Board of Elections recommended budget is $19,880. supported through department rollover funding, for voting machine replacement.  Funds are budgeted for repairs, now that voting machine warranties have expired.

The Legislature’s recommended budget includes $2,500 in target funding, to increase the long-standing allocation for conference expenses, to allow more Legislators to attend the annual NYSAC Conference.

The Expanded Budget Committee will resume work Tuesday, September 11.

The 2019 Recommended Budget, along with schedules and other budget-related information (including presentation documents from departments and agencies) is posted on the budget page of the County web site at