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Highlights of the October 13th, 2020 meeting of the Tompkins County Legislature Expanded Budget Committee

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Highlights of the October 13th, 2020 meeting of the Tompkins County Legislature Expanded Budget Committee

Thursday, October 15, 2020

The expanded Budget, Capital, and Personnel Committee of the Tompkins County Legislature met to review the proposed 2021 budgets from the County’s facilities and infrastructure departments. Those departments include Facilities, Highway, Recycling & Materials Management, the Airport, and Weights and Measures. Due to financial impacts from COVID-19, County departments were required to submit budgets that reflect a 12% reduction. Proposed 2021 budgets from the Human Services Coalition and supported agencies were also presented to Legislators.

Highway Department & Highway Machinery

Department Director Jeff Smith presented the $5.8 million recommended Highway budget and $1.4 million recommended Highway Machinery budget. Smith shared that the department would see a total of three positions eliminated in the 2021 budget. Details on the Capital Projects Plan (which includes paving roads and bridge construction and maintenance) and the draft 2021 highway roadwork plan were also shared with legislators.

The full presentation from the Highway Department can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/aui1hIu8GMk?t=801

Recycling & Materials Management

Department Director Barb Eckstrom shared the recommended $6.5 million budget for the department. Recycling and Materials Management operates as an enterprise fund, with fees and revenues covering a majority of the department’s budget, including 13.5 full time equivalent employees. The budget proposes a $5 increase in the annual recycling fee per household, brining the fee to $65. Eckstrom reported that the annual fee covers recycling collection, some recycling center operations, waste reduction, monitoring and maintaining old landfills, and other programs and administration.

The full presentation from Recycling & Materials Management can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/aui1hIu8GMk?t=2472

Ithaca Tompkins International Airport

The newly renamed Ithaca Tompkins International Airport presented their recommended budget totaling just over $3.8 million, including 15 full time equivalent employees. The airport operates as an enterprise fund, with fees and revenues covering a majority of the department’s budget. Airport leadership reported that traffic is at 30% year over year due to the pandemic, following increased traffic in the months of January and February through the newly renovated facility. The airport will be offering two new services in 2021, direct international arrivals and consolidated local fuel services.

The full presentation from the Airport can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/aui1hIu8GMk?t=3952


Human Services Coalition of Tompkins County and Supported Nonprofit Agencies

The Human Services Coalition presented their recommended budget of $430,000. The coalition was also subject to the required 12% reduction in County funding. Coalition Executive Director Kathy Schlather reported major factors having impacts throughout 2020, including an increase in health insurance navigation cases, needs for consultations to other nonprofit agencies, and the increase in calls to the 2-1-1 information and referral help line related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Calls to 2-1-1 have increased by 40% year over year, with staff reporting over 14,500 calls so far in 2020 and an increase in crisis calls as the pandemic has progressed.

The Coalition also presented the recommended budget for supported nonprofit community agencies, totaling $1 million with $259,000 in recommended over target requests. The Coalition and representatives from the community review agency budgets annually and make recommendations to the County. Schlather reported that COVID-19 has had major influences on agencies, including a lack of clarity from New York State on withheld 2020 funding and uncertainties of the 2021 state budget.

Tompkins Community (TC) Action presented their budget, supported by the County. TC Action’s programming is focused on alleviating poverty in Tompkins County including Head Start programming, energy services, and homelessness and housing services and programs.

The SPCA presented its budget and the services that it provides the County including the rabies vaccination clinics that they operate. SPCA Director Jim Bouderau shared impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the SPCA, including an increase in adoptions and a decrease in animal surrenders to the agency.

The full presentations from the Human Services Coalition supported nonprofit agencies can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/aui1hIu8GMk?t=6613

Facilities

The County’s Facilities Department presented their recommend 2021 budget of just over $4 million, representing 33 full time equivalent employees.

The full presentation from the Facilities Department can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/aui1hIu8GMk?t=92

Weights and Measures

The County’s Weights and Measures Department presented their $100,000 budget and shared details on how the department serves the public via consumer protection functions.

The full presentation from the Weights and Measures Department can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/aui1hIu8GMk?t=5150

Past 2021 budget presentations and discussion can be viewed on the County’s YouTube page.
The County’s budget process and documents can be found on the County Administration Website.

Contact, Jason Molino, Tompkins County Administrator, 607-274-5551, Martha Robertson, Chair, Budget, Capital and Personnel Committee, 607-592-3119