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Legislature Supports Adoption of TC3 Operating Budget, Approves Additional One-Time Funding

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Legislature Supports Adoption of TC3 Operating Budget, Approves Additional One-Time Funding

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Tompkins County Legislature, by unanimous vote (Legislator Leslyn McBean-Clairborne was excused), recommended adoption of the Tompkins Cortland Community College operating budget for the coming academic year. The $40.8 million budget contains no increase in sponsor support, instead of the 1% increase first recommended by the Legislature’s budget committee—that recommendation revised in light of Cortland County’s unwillingness to support an increase. Both sponsoring counties must agree on the level of sponsor support. The budget contains total sponsor support of $4,650,364), split between the two counties based on proportional student enrollment—64% ($2,976,233) from Tompkins County and 36% ($1,674,131) from Cortland.

In a separate action, the Legislature, also without dissent, authorized a one-time supplemental discretionary Contingent Fund appropriation of an equivalent amount— $46,504— outside the budget process, to assist the College in implementing a Service Management Modernization Plan. The Legislature, at its June 6th meeting, already approved $83,200 in one-time funding toward that program, in line with an enrollment-based share of the cost. Cortland County has declined to recommend funding toward that program. Tompkins’ one-time contributions, with the supplement approved tonight, support the full cost of the Service Management Modernization Plan, and provide the College a level of support, outside the budget process, equivalent to what would have received through a 1% budget increase from both counties.

Also by unanimous vote, Legislators approved a $46,503 Contingent Fund appropriation for sponsor support in the current year’s budget, reflecting the increase in Tompkins’ proportional student enrollment, from 63 to 64%.

At the public hearing that preceded the votes, Enfield resident and College alum Robert Lynch, spoke in strong support of the College, the budget, the Legislature’s supplemental appropriation. But he deeply questioned Cortland County’s priorities and refusal to approve any increase in support. He urged that discussions begin toward possible severance if conditions don’t change after this year.

Before the budget vote, Legislator Rich John said that he wished he could have supported the budget at the prior level. Calling TC3 “a jewel,” Mr. John said, “It’s such a valuable asset. It pains me to vote for a budget with no increase.”

Many Legislators expressed their high regard for retiring President Haynes and his many contributions over many years, and gave him a standing ovation. President Haynes expressed his “heartfelt thanks” to the Legislature, “not only for tonight but for many years of support…Coming before this body and getting such warmth and support is one of the things I will really miss,” he said.