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Tompkins County Legislature Reviews 2020 Mid-Year Budget Update, Discusses 2021 Budget Priorities

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Tompkins County Legislature Reviews 2020 Mid-Year Budget Update, Discusses 2021 Budget Priorities

Thursday, July 2, 2020

(Ithaca, N.Y.) Members of the Tompkins County Legislature’s Budget, Capital, and Personnel committee received an update on the 2020 County budget impacted by COVID-19 and discussed 2021 budget priorities. A recording of the meeting can be viewed here.

County Administrator Jason Molino presented an updated document on 2020 budget scenarios, expenditure reductions, and impacts from COVID-19. The presentation detailed concern regarding state aid payments, further conversation on the County’s hiring freeze, aid for supporting agencies, and consideration of further mid-year cuts.

Molino stated “This budget year presents extremely difficult choices, we will continue to see in the coming months how our mild and severe scenario projections fare, but we have to plan for reductions in expenses in response to this unprecedented crisis.” Molino continued “This crisis is forcing us to look at service delivery through new lenses, there is opportunity to assess how we meet the needs of our community in a more efficient and equitable way moving forward.”

Additionally, Administrator Molino shared a 2021 budget outlook outlining scenarios for increased taxes, use of unassigned fund balance, and potential ongoing spending reductions. Guidance shared with County departmental leadership includes preparing for budget reductions, over-target request adjustments, and adjustments related to the Results Based Accountability (RBA) system used by the County.

Martha Robertson, Chair of the Legislature’s Budget, Capital, and Personnel Committee kicked off a discussion by Legislators on how best to allocate resources to the programs and services that provide the greatest value to residents. The discussion included mandated programs and services, the prospect of public safety reform, and opportunities for adjusted services to better meet the needs of those negatively impacted by COVID-19.

Members of the public are encouraged to provide feedback on budget priorities to legislators (legislature@tompkins-co.org) and County Administration. Future opportunities to learn more about the Tompkins County budget and provide input and feedback are being planned and will be shared with the public in the coming weeks.

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