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Tompkins County 2017 Budget Adopted

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Tompkins County 2017 Budget Adopted

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Ending two-and-a-half months of deliberation and review, the Tompkins County Legislature tonight adopted the County’s 2017 budget and the capital program for the next five years. The budget was approved by a 13-1 vote, with Legislator Dooley Kiefer voting no.

The $171 million budget represents an increase in local spending of 0.9% and increases the County tax levy by 2.93%. The tax rate of $6.62 per thousand is down by 11 cents (1.53% from 2016, representing an increase of $15.65 in the tax bill for the median-valued $175,000 county home. The levy increase exceeds the County’s adjusted tax cap of 2.22%, as defined by New York State.

Legislator Kiefer said she could not vote for the budget, since she is uncomfortable about the increase in sales tax revenue estimates for 2017, made late in the budget process. 

There were no amendments advanced before the budget vote. Legislator Martha Robertson said she had planned to propose an additional corrections officer for the County Jail, but then decided to hold off pending findings from the jail study that will soon begin. 

Reflecting on the budget process, Budget Chair Jim Dennis said the Legislature was able to support a number of valuable programs and services through the budget, while attempting to remain within the framework of the County Administrator’s budget. Mr. Dennis praised Administrator Joe Mareane, Budget Coordinator Kevin McGuire, and his legislative colleagues for all their work.

Administrator Mareane called the County’s nearly nine-month budget process “a really remarkable process that seems to work.” He thanked Legislator Dennis for his leadership, and recognized legislators, departments, Finance Director Rick Snyder, and especially Budget Coordinator McGuire for his tremendous success in managing the process through the County’s new budget system. 

2017 Solid Waste Fee: Apart from, but related to the budget, the Legislature, by unanimous vote, also formally established the 2017 annual Solid Waste Fee, which remains at $55.00 per household/billing unit.

The summary of the final amendments and the adopted budget will be posted on the budget page of the County website at