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Legislators Adopt Amendments to 2019 Recommended Budget

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Legislators Adopt Amendments to 2019 Recommended Budget

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Tompkins County Legislature, by unanimous vote, formally adopted amendments to the County Administrator’s 2019 Recommended Budget and the Capital Program for the next five years, as recommended by the Expanded Budget Committee. 

Before the vote, Legislators made one additional amendment to the budget, advanced by Chair Martha Robertson, which moved into Contingency a one-time-funded $62,000 allocation to Cooperative Extension to support a space expansion project, using shipping containers, to increase storage and classroom space.  The amendment, which had failed by a tie 7-7 vote at the last Expanded Budget Committee, this time was approved 8-6—with Robertson changing her vote from no to yes (Legislators Anna Kelles, Michael Lane, Anne Koreman, Glenn Morey, and Dan Klein voted no.)  Robertson said that, as a measure of transparency and accountability, she would like to see a detailed plan and more financial details and have the Legislature give final authorization at that point.

The amended budget would increase the County tax levy 1.54%, which compares to 1.43% in the Administrator’s budget and is lower than the Legislature’s 2.2% levy goal for 2019.  The recommended county-wide average tax rate of $6.40 per thousand, 18 cents less than 2018, is a decrease of 2.64%, representing an increase of $13.90 in the tax bill for the median-valued $185,000 home.  The amended Tentative Budget also contains a $3 increase in the County’s annual Solid Waste Fee, to $58.  Tompkins County’s State-calculated 2019 Tax Cap is just under 5%.

Chair Martha Robertson thanked Administrator Jason Molino and staff for their expertise and hard work in guiding the Legislature through the budget process and Budget Chair Michael Lane for his leadership.  Legislator Leslyn McBean-Clairborne also recognized department heads and staff for their role in the process.

The amended package, now known as the Tentative Budget, replaces Administrator Jason Molino’s recommended budget as the basis of budget deliberations, and will be sent on to public hearing Tuesday, October 30, 7:00 p.m., at Legislature Chambers in the Governor Daniel D. Tompkins Building, 121 E. Court Street (second floor), Ithaca.  The Legislature’s final budget adoption vote is scheduled November 8, and changes may still be made prior to final adoption. 

The Recommended Budget, all amendments to the Recommended Budget, and other information regarding the 2019 budget process, are available for review online at the County website at