Budget and Fiscal Policy Committee
December 7, 2000
9 a.m.
Scott B. Heyman Conference Room


Present: T. Joseph, P. Penniman (arrived at 9:18 a.m.), S. Davis, T. Todd
Excused: F. Proto
Staff: R. Erb, K. Smithers, B. Benjamin, D. Squires, A. Fitzpatrick, W. Skinner, M. Pottorff
Board Members: D. Kiefer

Mr. Joseph called the meeting to order at 9:05 a.m.

Chair’s Report

Mr. Joseph had no report.

Changes to the Agenda

Mr. Joseph added the subject of controlling spending in 2001 to the agenda. Several resolutions were added to the agenda.

Approval of Minutes

It was MOVED by Ms. Davis, seconded by Mr. Todd, and unanimously adopted by voice vote by members present, to approve the minutes of November 16, 2000 as submitted. MINUTES APPROVED.

County Administrator’s Report

Mr. Erb reported Chair Mink went to New York City and signed papers for tobacco securitization. He noted that Tompkins County was the only County to send a single representative. Mr. Erb also reported he received a fax from NYSAC that illustrated what the costs would have been if Tompkins County had chosen to go alone with securitization.

Finance Director’s Report

Mr. Squires reported the November financial reports show the County finished 2000 very strong. He has done an analysis on all accounts and said the septage/disposal and Community College chargebacks are the only accounts over budget. He said the unallocated revenues are high as a result of high sales tax receipts. He reported real property penalty receipts are down; however, the collection rate for real property taxes is about the same. Based on an analysis of some major accounts, DSS is doing very well and is running ahead of last year’s budget. Mr. Squires distributed copies of a General Fund analysis and an operating budget summary dated November 30, 2000.

Deputy County Administrator’s Report

Ms. Smithers reported that production of the final 2001 Tompkins County Budget has been delayed and that the document will not be available until January.

Sheriff’s Department

It was MOVED by Ms. Davis, seconded by Mr. Todd, and unanimously adopted by voice vote by members present to approve the following resolution and submit to the full Board:

RESOLUTION NO. - APPROPRIATION FROM CONTINGENT FUND FOR

REPLACEMENT PAY AT THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE

WHEREAS, the Sheriff’s Office has had several employees who were disabled or injured and unable to perform their duty, and

WHEREAS, the Fiscal Policy of Tompkins County allows for such replacement pay for employees who have been out longer than two months, now therefore be it

RESOLVED, on recommendations of the Public Safety Committee and Budget and Quality Planning Committee, That the Director of Finance appropriate a total of $113,203 to the Sheriff’s budget for replacement pay for the period of August 1, 2000 through December 31, 2000,

RESOLVED, further, That the money be distributed to the following accounts:

FROM: CONTINGENT FUND A1990.54400 $113,203

TO: UNIFORM DIVISION A3113.51000Regular Pay 47,932

A3113.58800Fringe 11,983

CORRECTIONS DIVISION A3150.51000Regular Pay 42,630

A3150.58800Fringe 10,658

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It was MOVED by Ms. Davis, seconded by Mr. Todd, and unanimously adopted by voice vote by members present to approve the following resolution and submit to the full Board:

RESOLUTION NO. - APPROPRIATION FROM CONTINGENT FUND - TERMINAL PAY AT THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE

WHEREAS, a staff member of the Sheriff’s Office resigned and has received terminal pay at a total of $14,462, and

WHEREAS, Section 5.03(B) of the County Fiscal Policy describes Departmental Entitlements, including contingent fund requests for the unbudgeted costs of terminal pay for employees, now therefore be it

RESOLVED, on recommendations of the Public Safety and Budget and Quality Planning Committee, That the Director of Finance appropriate a total of $14,462 to the Sheriff’s budget for terminal pay,

RESOLVED, further, That the money be distributed to the following accounts:

FROM: CONTINGENT FUND A1990.54400 $14,462

TO: CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS A3112.51000REG. PAY 11,570

A3112.58800FRINGE 2,892

RESOLVED, further, That this adjustment is for 2000 and does not affect the Fiscal Target for 2001.

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Mr. Benjamin distributed a memorandum dated November 21, 2000 from Sheriff Meskill to himself and Personnel Commissioner, Anita Fitzpatrick, regarding the backfill because of the loss of dispatchers.

Mr. Meskill explained the time frame for the change. He said there are a series of things that have to be accomplished over the next five weeks and because the dispatch function is a 24-hour operation, it will be difficult. He described the benefits that will result from consolidated service and dispatch: quicker service by dispatch, efficient and good service regardless of emergency or non-emergency numbers, and this opportunity will give the Fire Coordinator and employees an opportunity to work together first, better decisions will be made on the new space.

Mr. Benjamin noted that the nature Fire, Disaster, and EMS Coordinator’s job has changed over the past years and said this will need to be looked at in the future.

It was MOVED by Mr. Todd, seconded by Mr. Penniman, and unanimously adopted by voice vote by members present to approve the following resolution and submit to the full Board:

RESOLUTION NO. – APPROPRIATION OF CONTINGENT FUND FOR SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT POSITIONS AND ADJUSTMENT OF THE SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT 2002 TARGET WHEREAS, Tompkins County will be transferring four dispatchers from the Sheriff’s Department to the Fire Coordinator’s Department in 2001 to further the goal of consolidating all public safety dispatching in the County, and

WHEREAS, $242,674 was already transferred from the Sheriff’s 2001 target budget to the Fire Coordinator’s target budget to pay these dispatchers, and

WHEREAS, the Board of Representatives recognized that the dispatchers spent approximately 40 percent of their time performing duties for the Sheriff’s Depa3rtment that are unrelated to dispatching, and

WHEREAS, $145,604 was included in the 2001 Contingent Fund to hire replacement personnel at the Sheriff’s to assume these duties, now therefore be it

RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Public Safety Committee and the Budget and Fiscal Policy Committee. That $143,375 be appropriate from the 2001 Contingent Fund for the Sheriff’s Department to hire new personnel,

RESOLVED, further, That the Sheriff’s 2002 permanent target budget be increased by $136,875 for the ongoing cost of these additional employees and that the 2002 target for the Contingent Fund be lowered by $145,604.

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It was MOVED by Ms. Davis, seconded by Mr. Todd, and unanimously adopted by voice vote by members present to approve the following resolution and submit to the full Board on the Consent Agenda:

RESOLUTION NO. - PRINTING OF TAX RATES

RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Budget and Fiscal Policy Committee, That after the tax rates are ascertained for the various towns and the City of Ithaca, the Clerk shall print such rates in the 2000 Proceedings of the Board following budgets of the several towns and City.

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It was MOVED by Ms. Davis, seconded by Mr. Todd, and unanimously adopted by voice vote by members present to approve the following resolution and submit to the full Board on the Consent Agenda:
 
 

RESOLUTION NO. - TOWN BUDGETS

RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Budget and Fiscal Policy Committee, That in accordance with budgets adopted by the several town boards of the County of Tompkins now on file with the Clerk of the Board and laws of the State of New York and in accordance with the foregoing report and recommendation of the Budget and Personnel Committee there be levied upon and collected from the taxable property of the several towns of the County and the City of Ithaca the foregoing sums for the purposes therein named,

RESOLVED, further, That said summaries of the budgets of the several towns of the County and the City of Ithaca be printed in the 2000 Proceedings of the Board of Representatives.

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It was MOVED by Ms. Davis, seconded by Mr. Todd, and unanimously adopted by voice vote by members present to approve the following resolution and submit to the full Board on the Consent Agenda:

RESOLUTION NO. - APPROVING COMPLETED TAX ROLLS AND DIRECTING THE EXECUTING AND DELIVERY OF WARRANTS WHEREAS, upon the tax rolls of the several towns and City, the several taxes will be extended, now therefore be it

RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Budget and Fiscal Policy Committee, That the tax rolls be approved as completed and that there shall be extended and carried out upon the roll the amount to be levied against each parcel of real property shown thereon,

RESOLVED, further, That there be annexed to each of said rolls a tax warrant prepared by the Director of Assessment as provided for in Section 4.02(b) of the Tompkins County Charter and Code, that such warrants shall be the respective amounts theretofore authorized to be levied upon each of said rolls, that the several warrants be signed by the Chairman and the Clerk of the Board under seal of the Board and by the Director of Assessment, that said rolls with said warrants annexed are to be forthwith delivered to the respective collectors of the several districts of the County.

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It was MOVED by Ms. Davis, seconded by Mr. Todd, and unanimously adopted by voice vote by members present to approve the following resolution and submit to the full Board on the Consent Agenda:

RESOLUTION NO. - AUTHORIZATION FOR DIRECTOR OF FINANCE TO MAKE YEAR-END TRANSFERS, APPROPRIATIONS AND BUDGET ADJUSTMENTS AS REQUIRED

RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Budget and Fiscal Policy Committee, That the County Finance Director be and he hereby is authorized and directed to make year-end transfers, appropriations, and budget adjustments required to clear credit balances from the books at year-end,

RESOLVED, further, That any such additional entries made by the County Finance Director shall be reported back to the Board of Representatives.

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It was MOVED by Ms. Davis, seconded by Mr. Todd, and unanimously adopted by voice vote by members present to approve the following resolution and submit to the full Board on the Consent Agenda:

RESOLUTION NO. - WORKER’S COMPENSATION BUDGET AND APPORTIONMENT - MUTUAL SELF INSURANCE PLAN

WHEREAS, the Budget and Fiscal Policy Committee estimates that the sum of $2,000 will be required during the year 2001 for the payment of compensation in old and pending cases on behalf of the County and participating municipalities under the mutual Self-Insurance Plan and for the expenses of administering same, now therefore be it

RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Budget and Fiscal Policy Committee, That there be raised from the County and participating municipalities in 2001 the total sum of $2,000 the same to be apportioned to the County and the several participating municipalities in the proportion that their equalized valuation bears to the aggregate valuation of the County and all participating municipal corporations as follows:

Municipality Assessed Full Value Apportionment

Caroline 102,740,991 $ 27.92

Danby 129,006,529 $ 35.06

Dryden 424,700,068 $ 115.43

Enfield 95,927,906 $ 26.07

Groton 96,574,037 $ 26.25

Ithaca (Town) 497,426,300 $ 135.20

Lansing 746,949,446 $ 203.01

Newfield 149,695,315 $ 40.69

Ulysses 230,320,039 $ 62.60

Ithaca (City) 835,245,488 $ 227.01

Dryden (Village) 63,595,938 $ 17.28

Freeville (Village) 13,909,221 $ 3.78

Groton (Village) 52,093,300 $ 14.16

Cayuga Heights (Village) 241,230,744 $ 65.56

County of Tompkins 3,679,415,322 $ 999.98

Total 7,358,830,644 $2,000.00

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It was MOVED by Ms. Davis, seconded by Mr. Todd, and unanimously adopted by voice vote by members present to approve the following resolution and submit to the full Board on the Consent Agenda:

RESOLUTION NO. - AUTHORIZATION TO SIGN DRAFTS - COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Budget and Fiscal Policy Committee, That the County Administrator be and he hereby is authorized to sign all drafts of the County of Tompkins and to delegate this authority to the Deputy County Administrator.

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It was requested that the County Attorney look into the necessity of the Board acting on these boilerplate resolutions each year. Mr. Squires said he would follow up on this.

It was MOVED by Ms. Davis, seconded by Mr. Todd, and unanimously adopted by voice vote by members present to approve the following resolution and submit to the full Board:

RESOLUTION NO. – MODIFICATION OF THE 2000-2001 CAPITAL BUDGET – TOMPKINS CORTLAND COMMUNITY COLLEGE WHEREAS, the Board of Trustees of Tompkins Community College has presented to this Legislature a Modification to the Capital Budget for fiscal year 2000-2001, now therefore be it

RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Budget and Fiscal Policy Committee, That said Modified 2000-2001 Capital Budget in the amount of $225,000 of which the sponsoring community contribution remains $0 be and the same hereby is adopted,

RESOLVED, further, That this resolution shall become effective upon adoption of a concurrent resolution by the Cortland County Legislature.

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It was MOVED by Ms. Davis, seconded by Mr. Todd, and unanimously adopted by voice vote by members present to approve the following resolution and submit to the full Board:

RESOLUTION NO. - UPDATE TOMPKINS CORTLAND COMMUNITY COLLEGE CAMPUS MASTER PLAN WHEREAS, there is a need to update the Tompkins Cortland Community College Campus Master Plan, and

WHEREAS, funding for an update to the Campus Master Plan will be made available from operating and capital chargeback dollars with no additional cost to sponsoring counties, now therefore be it

RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Budget and Fiscal Policy Committee, That the Tompkins County Board of Representatives authorizes Tompkins Cortland Community College to proceed with an update of the campus master plan,

RESOLVED, further, That this resolution shall become effective upon adoption of a concurrent resolution by the Cortland County Legislature.

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Discussion – Controlling Spending in 2001

Mr. Joseph said at the next meeting the full Board will take action on a resolution proposing to approve a large number of positions in the 2001 budget. He said he would like this Committee to discuss ways in which the Board can control County spending in 2001.

Mr. Erb said he would like the Department of County Administration to give direction on what the Board is looking for in terms of controlling spending and monitoring expenses more closely in the 2001 budget. He said the Board does have options of releasing funds to departments quarterly or semi-annually.

Ms. Davis said the message she would like to give department heads is that the County is facing a very difficult 2002 budget and although various positions were justified, there is concern that the maintenance of funding at that level may not be possible.

Various suggestions were made, including approving positions with a schedule for filling them and amending the County’s rollover policy. Ms. Davis said she wants to empower departments to be proactive to protect services while conserving spending without a negative penalty. Mr. Erb said he would like to advise departments to use rollover funds towards their 2002 budgets.

Mr. Joseph asked to what extent is County government functioning as a team that you can ask for team effort – is it possible to go to department heads and say "we are in trouble" He noted rollover funds are usually excess revenue, not unused funds. He said one option is to keep the Rollover policy as it is and give warning about potential cuts in target budgets; this way departments will have rollover funds to help them get through.

Ms. Kiefer arrived at 10:12 a.m.

Mr. Meskill cautioned against causing a panic among departments too early and suggested waiting until the end of January when more is known about the budget. He strongly urged that the Board keep the lines of communication open with departments and not to take away their ability to manage. He said the rollover policy is a double-edged sword. Program based budgeting gives the Board the ability to prioritize; this is something many other counties are not able to do.

Ms. Kiefer said rollover has been a useful tool and has worked well in good times; however, there has not been much discussion about its use in bad times. Mr. Joseph took a poll of the committee to see how members felt. He found very mixed emotions with no clear strong opinion.

When asked what message Mr. Joseph should be delivering to administration and departments, it was the consensus that it would read like this: "We are seriously concerned about the dependence on surplus funds and the fact that we cannot see the level of surplus available this year as being available last year and predicts a $3 million shortfall. The Board doesn’t want to take action at this point. When the surplus is certified in March we will then be looking at what types of actions will be necessary to deal with it. That may include zero or negative targets next year, no OTR’s. We are asking for your cooperation if you can contain your spending between now and when the surplus is certified. Everyone will be asked to contain spending and with voluntary givebacks, the less the Board will be asking for them.

Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 11:15 a.m.

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