2021 Finance Report and County Audit
Finance Director Rick Snyder presented the County’s 2021 financial report. The presentation included that the County’s unassigned fund balance has grown significantly over the past several years, which is currently at $62 million, up around $44 million over the past nine years.
Sales tax was referenced as being a key element of the increasing revenues contributing to the fund balance, with 2021 sales tax coming in $6.8 million over budget and casino revenue coming in $1.5 million over budget. Tompkins County Administrator Lisa Holmes added context that the 2021 budget was put together in a time of uncertainty, and that additionally in 2020 $5.8 million in cost reductions were implemented. Holmes also spoke to the fortunate economic rebound in 2021. Snyder included several illustrations of the increases relative to significant challenges having come in in 2020 during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, which impacted Tompkins County’s economy significantly.
In 2021 the Legislature increased a target policy for unassigned fund balance from 10% to 18% of the County’s actual revenues – the balance is currently at 30.7%. The unassigned fund balance does not include funds gained via the American Rescue Plan Act.
The financial report included that the County’s audit presented an unmodified opinion, which is the highest level that can be received, reflecting the financial health of the County and the success of its accounting procedures and internal controls – no instances of noncompliance were found. The Legislature unanimously accepted the audit report (13-0, Legislator Amanda Champion (D-Ithaca) excused). Snyder stated that “We can all be proud of Tompkins County and the wise budget decisions that you have made.”
Following his earlier plea to consider alternate use for the former Baker Dental Building on Tioga Street owned by the County, Legislator Dan Klein (D-Danby) moved to reconsider the resolution supporting deconstruction as, “The building is further deteriorated than I had believed. Quite a bit of rain was coming in during the rainstorm last week,” Klein also cited the cost of the roof replacement as one reason why it is not feasible to be used for other purposes.
The resolution to deconstruct the building passed 12-1, with Legislator Mike Lane (D-Dryden) opposed and Legislator Amanda Champion (D-Ithaca) excused.
Among Other Business
Tompkins County Public Health Director Frank Kruppa gave an update on monkeypox, 3 cases have been identified in Tompkins County residents, though none were locally acquired and only one had local close contacts. Kruppa shared that he anticipates more cases locally over time, though reminded the Legislature that symptoms and spread are not as severe as COVID-19. Kruppa shared that information has been going out publicly and through the local healthcare system, so practitioners know what to look for, as well as messaging directly to the LGBTQ community as the U.S. outbreak has been primarily spreading amongst men who have sex with men. Monkeypox is transmitted through close intimate contact, anyone can get monkeypox. More information on monkeypox can be found on the TCHD website: https://www.tompkinscountyny.gov/health/monkeypox