Budget and Fiscal Policy Committee
February 3, 2000
9 a.m.
Scott B. Heyman Conference Room

Present: T. Joseph, P. Penniman, F. Proto, T. Todd

Staff: K. West, M. Dolan, M. Pottorff, D. Squires, R. Erb

Called to Order

            Mr. Joseph called the meeting to order at 9:11 a.m.

Changes to the Agenda

        The following items were added to the agenda:

Approval of Minutes

        It was MOVED by Mr. Proto, seconded by Mr. Penniman, and unanimously adopted by voice vote by members present, to approve the minutes of January 20, 2000 as submitted. MINUTES APPROVED.

Chairís Report

        Mr. Joseph had no report. He commented on resolutions being brought to the Board without going through the proper channels of being placed on an agenda of this Committee. Mr. Joseph said there have been three incidents already this year where this has happened.

County Administratorís Report

        Mr. Erb asked who would be planning to attend the day-long meeting in Albany on March 2 on tobacco funds. No one from this Committee expected to attend. He said he will be attending and will see that information comes back to this Committee.

Finance Directorís Report

        Mr. Squires reported on sales tax. He provided the Committee with a history showing that the last quarter of 1999 Tompkins County received the largest amount of sales tax for a quarter ever. The fourth quarter sales tax was in the amount of $5,382,406 after a negative adjustment in the amount of $33,500. He said there is no relationship between reconciled amounts and prior period adjustments. Mr. Squires said the reconciled amount is the closest figure to reflect actual sales.


        Ms. Dolan said the Department has received childcare block grant and since there was an increase in income and some parents were having a difficult time paying the fees, the Department felt it would be appropriate to use those funds to reduce the fees.

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

        WHEREAS, New York Stateís regulations governing day care subsidies require recipient families in certain eligible categories to pay a portion of their providerís fees, and
        WHEREAS, in response to a demand for subsidies that exceeded available funds for same, the Tompkins County Department of Social Services for several years has used the highest parent fee percentage allowed in order to provide benefits to more families, and
        WHEREAS, the day care block grant funding mechanism and its allocation levels have vastly increased the Departmentís financial resources for day care subsidies, and
        WHEREAS, the Department wishes to reduce the burden borne by low income families receiving day care subsidies, now therefore be it
        RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Health and Human Services and Budget and Fiscal Policy Committee, That the Department of Social Services shall lower the maximum percentage of income which families receiving day care subsidies will be required to pay toward day care parent fees from thirty-five percent (35%) to twenty percent (20%),
        RESOLVED, further, That the Director of Finance shall make the following budget adjustments to the 2000 books to account for this change.

        REVENUE:                 A6055.43655         NYS CCBG               $60,000
        APPROPRIATION: A6055.54400         Program Expense     $60,000

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        By reducing the out-of-pocket increase they experience once day care subsidies cease, parent fees lessen the shock felt when families begin to pay full day care rates for themselves.

        However, day care subsidy recipients and day care providers have told us that the current maximum rate sometimes result of parents being unable to pay their providers the fees which they are owed. Both parties believe that he proposed reduction will alleviate, if mot eliminate, this problem.

NOTE: With this change, the Department anticipates claiming approximately $1.6 million against our NYSCCBG allocation which totals $2.3 million the current state fiscal year.

Deputy County Administratorís Report

        Ms. West said she has calculated the amount of sales tax municipalities will receive. The amount of the calculation for the Human Services Coalition agencies is within $200 of what it used to be; therefore, they will not need the additional $9,000 that was appropriated for them in the 2000 budget.

        Ms. West distributed a document on the sales tax allocation projections for 2000 that contained the following figures:

Countywide sales tax for 2000 = $35,022,222
3 percent of the above amount = $26,266,666
1 percent of the additional sales tax = $755,556
The Cityís 50 % share on all inside the City sales (current about 45 % of all sales are inside the City) = $5,910,000
The Countyís 50 % share on sales (on 3%) = $13,133,333
The towns and villages share of 50 percent of outside the City sales U(currently about 55% of all sales are outside the City) = $7,223,333
The additional one percent sales tax is projected to be $985,000
The Countyís share of the additional one percent is 75% = $6,566,667
The Cityís share of the amount would be 25% of all sales inside the City which is currently about 45% of all sales are inside the City = $985,000
The towns and villages share of 25 percent of sales outside the City =$1,203,889
Based on the agreement with the City for youth and transportation services, the City will be receiving $926,8884.
The County will allocate $32,908 based on agreement with other municipalities.

NOTE: Side agreements with the City and towns call for an additional 25 percent on sales tax in the City to be paid out of the Countyís share and reimbursements to b e paid to various towns. As a result the County actually receives about 64 percent, rather than 75 percent of the one percent sales tax.


        There was discussion over the concern this proposed policy amendment with comments including very little time is spent on this and the possible conflict this policy may have with the forfeiture policy. The conclusion from the discussion was that although most of the time budget adjustments are routine, once in a while there are some that raise questions to Board members. The Committee felt they would like to continue with the existing policy. The resolution was withdrawn.

        WHEREAS, Fiscal Policy, Section 5.02, paragraph B requires that all budget adjustments "must be approved by the program committee" and "the Board of Representatives", and
        WHEREAS, minor adjustment amounts of up to $5,000 per revenue or appropriation transaction would more effectively be served by     authorizing the Director of Finance to approve such adjustments, and report such information to the Budget and Fiscal Policy Committee as an information-only item, now therefore be it
        RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Budget and Fiscal Policy Committee, That Policy 5.02 section B be amended to authorize the Director of Finance to approve budget adjustments of up to $5,000 per revenue or appropriation.

        (no deletion to existing wording; additional wording shown in bold and underlined)

Section 5.02 Budget Adjustments
        A.  DEFINITION. A budget adjustment is an equal increase or decrease in spending and revenues.
        B.  PROCEDURE FOR ENACTING. All adjustments must be reviewed and recommended upon by the Director of Finance and all appropriation and/or revenue adjustments greater than $5,000 must be approved by the program committee of the budgeting unit and the Board of Representatives. All transactions authorized exclusively by the Director of Finance must be reported to the Budget Committee as an information-only item. A budget adjustment that increases or decreases capital spending is an amendment to the Capital Program and therefore must be approved by a vote of two-thirds of the total authorized membership of the Board of Representatives.


        MOVED by Mr. Joseph, seconded by Mr. Proto.

        Mr. Erb said this resolution is the result of the Planning Department not being able to retain field planners because of low wages and also because of the workload on Planning Department staff. Mr. Joseph raised the following questions: is this being driven by difficulty in hiring and retaining staff? Why are the salaries of secretarial employees being increased? If the driving force behind this resolution is to retain staff, why does the first whereas state additional services are needed?

        Joan Jurkowich explained that the Department did not know it was going to be in this situation when the Department's 2000 budget was being prepared last June. She said the Department does have a problem hiring and retaining staff; however, there are a number of projects and programs that have been placed on hold because they do not have the staff resources to complete them. She said they have primarily continued doing those things which they have a contractual obligation to do. She also said many employees are currently working 40 hour weeks but are not getting paid for it.

Ms. West said most of the County's positions that are working 40 hours a week are doing so because of the workload. She believes the workload in the Planning Department justifies this increase. Ms. West noted it is cheaper for the County to increase hours than to increase staff.

Mr. Joseph said the Committee has the option of approving this for 2000 and the option of refusing it as an over target request in the 2001 budget. He said; however, if members don't intend to make this a target increase now they are setting employees up to have a reduction in hours.

        Mr. Proto felt this issue should have been addressed during the budget process; Mr. Todd agreed.

        A voice vote on the resolution resulted as follows: Ayes - 2 (Joseph and Penniman); Noes - 2 (Proto and Todd); Excused - 1 (Davis). MOTION FAILED.

        This resolution will be forwarded to the full Board without the recommendation of this Committee.

        WHEREAS, the Department of Planning has need for additional services from staff, now therefore be it
        RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Planning and Intermunicipal Coordination Committee, That the following positions be increased from 35.0 to 40.0 hours per week effective February 6, 2000:
            Circuit Rider Planner, labor grade (N), (14/694), white collar
            Community Development Planner, labor grade (N), (14/717), white collar
            Environmental Planner, labor grade (N), (14/682), white collar
            Geographic Information System Analyst, labor grade (M), (13/714), white collar
            Planning Analyst, labor grade (N), (14/684), white collar
            Secretary, labor grade (J), (10/671), white collar
            Senior Account Clerk/Typist, labor grade (I), (9/529), white collar
            Water Resources Planner, labor grade (N), (14/516), white collar
        RESOLVED, further, That a permanent fiscal target adjustment of $46,300 be made in order that these positions be continued indefinitely.

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        On motion the meeting adjourned at 10:56 a.m.