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Tompkins County 2019 Budget Adopted

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Tompkins County 2019 Budget Adopted

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Concluding a process that started at the beginning of September, the Tompkins County Legislature tonight adopted the County’s 2019 budget and the 2019-2023 Tompkins County Capital Program. The budget was approved by unanimous vote.

The $187.5 million budget, which includes $90.6 million in net local spending, increases the County tax levy by 1.54% and represents an increase in local spending of 3.55%.  The tax rate of $6.41 per thousand is down by 17 cents (-2.58%) from 2018, representing an increase of $14.63 in the tax bill for the median-valued $185,000 county home.  The levy increase falls below the County’s tax cap of approximately 9.59%, as calculated by New York State.

Before the adoption vote, Legislators, after considerable discussion, approved one amendment to the budget, advanced by Legislator Henry Granison, which holds in the Contingent Fund $25,000 in one-time funding to increase the County’s $20,000 share of support for the Community Outreach Worker Program, administered by Family and Children’s Service.  The increase matches a similar increase recently approved by the City of Ithaca.  Agency representatives in recent weeks advocated for the increase, maintaining it’s needed to hire a second outreach worker and support related costs to meet vastly increased demand for the program serving vulnerable individuals in the downtown core.  While the consensus was that the program has been valuable, some legislators, as well as County Administrator Jason Molino, in discussion had suggested that there needs to be discussion, planning and consensus reached among program partners—County, City, the Ithaca Downtown Partnership, and Cayuga Medical Center—about their shared vision for the program, desired outcomes, and the way in which the program should expand.  The amendment was ultimately approved by a 12-2 vote, Legislators Glenn Morey and Leslyn McBean-Clairborne voting no. 

Following adoption, Budget chair Michael Lane thanked his colleagues for their efforts throughout the budget process, and said that he hoped the budget demonstrates that the Legislature is trying to both keep taxes down and preserve county services that people need.

2019 Solid Waste Annual Fee:
In an action separate from, but related to, the 2019 Tompkins County Budget, Legislators also acted to formally establish the $58.00 unit charge included in the budget as the County’s 2019 Solid Waste Annual Fee, a $3.00 increase from the 2018 fee.  The action also codifies unit charges for types of properties other than single-family residences (considered one unit)—such as two-family and multi-unit residences, colleges and schools, and other types of properties.

An overview of the 2019 budget and other budget documents may be found on the budget page of the County website at   The full 2019 Adopted Budget will be posted there soon.