Called to Order
Mr. Koplinka-Loehr called the meeting to order at 11:36 a.m.
Changes to the Agenda
The order of the agenda was changed to accommodate a need by the Personnel Department to be at another meeting.
It was MOVED by Ms. Robertson, seconded by Mr. Todd, and unanimously adopted by voice vote by members present, to add a resolution entitled Appropriation from the Contingent Fund – Replacement Pay – Health Department.
Mr. Koplinka-Loehr distributed the agenda for the Legislative Budget Retreat April 28, 2005 and also preparation materials for the Retreat.
The resolution entitled Urging Amendment of New York State Public Health Law 4173 to Increase Vital Records Fees - Health Department, was withdrawn from the agenda because it was acted upon at the last Legislature meeting.
Approval of Minutes
It was MOVED by Ms. Robertson, seconded by Mr. Todd, to approve the minutes of April 12, 2005 with the suggestions offered by Ms. Robertson. Mr. Booth said although he will vote to approve the minutes he does not agree with staff trying to summarize discussions such as the one held at the last meeting with regard to boardouts. He said the discussion concerning Jail boardout costs was lengthy and complicated with many legislators expressing points of view. He does not feel the minutes should attempt to summarize that type of discussion. Mr. Koplinka-Loehr said there is a special legislative subcommittee looking at the issue of minutes and how they should be prepared. A voice vote on approving the April 12, 2005 minutes resulted as follows: Ayes – 5, Noes – 0. MINUTES APPROVED.
Privilege of the Floor by the Public
No member of the public was present.
Mr. Koplinka-Loehr reviewed the agenda for the April 28 Legislative Budget Retreat.
Ms. Robertson requested information on what the current and projected inflation levels are. Concern was expressed that not enough time was being allocated at the Retreat to discuss the Budget. It was the consensus that the process and decisions would not be rushed for the purpose of keeping on track with the agenda. .
In response to a question posed by Ms. Jayne about the format of budget information, it was requested that Administration present budget information in groupings based on committee rather than by cabinet structure. Mr. Koplinka-Loehr said current copies of the budget calendar will be distributed to members.
Finance Director’s Report
Mr. Squires referred to the first quarter operating summary that was distributed with the agenda; he said the quarter was uneventful with no trends identified. He distributed a sales tax distribution summary to be used to compare 2004 and 2005. He said although the total distribution was less on a dollar for-dollar basis, yet the County’s receipts increased. This is based on a redistribution in the geographic area of activity. The County is above the budgeted amount for the first quarter.
Mrs. McBean-Clairborne requested a meeting with Mr. Squires to get a better understanding of the sales tax distribution. Ms. Jayne will send information on the sales tax distribution formula to all members.
Mr. Squires reported every year the County shares in the revenues from the tobacco settlement; this year's estimated amount was $575,000; however, he reported the amount came in at $683,000. This represents Tompkins County’s share of .17 percent of the total tobacco settlement. .
DSS – Position Request
It was MOVED by Ms. Robertson, seconded by Mrs. McBean-Clairborne, and unanimously adopted by voice vote, to approve a request by the Department of Social Services to fill one full-time position of Financial Investigator at a salary of $34,355; 10 percent local funding.
It was MOVED by Ms. Robertson, seconded by Mrs. McBean-Clairborne, and unanimously adopted by voice vote, to approve a request by the Department of Social Services to fill one position of full-time Foster Care Caseworker at a salary of $40,908; 28 percent local funding.
Highway Division Positions - Status Report
Mrs. McBean-Clairborne asked for a status report on the Highway positions. Ms. Fitzpatrick said during the recruitment period 75 applications were received. Of those, 23-30 applicants have been interviewed; they will now return for the second phase of the process, which is for hands-on testing.
The Committee reviewed the Personnel Changes report distributed by Commissioner Fitzpatrick dated March, 2005.
Transition from Affirmative Action Plan to County Workforce Diversity Plan
Mr. Koplinka-Loehr said the County is presently in the process of transitioning from the Affirmative Action Plan to a County Workforce Diversity Plan and asked if there are any questions members had at this time. No question was posed by a Committee member.
County Administrator Report
The Committee reviewed preliminary budget estimates for the 2006 budget. Mr. Whicher said this may be a good year to move required target Fund Balance from $5 million to $6 million. He noted that since the fund balance is based on a percentage, this would mean an increase in that percentage to approximately 6% in our Capital reserve policy. He said the document contains a projected increase in mandated Medicaid expenses in the amount of $350,000. He noted the information includes many different assumptions and that such information could change.
Mr. Booth said none of the scenarios encompass any cuts in what the County is now doing and said there should be a scenario that takes money out of line 2 – non-mandated services or reducing the tax rate. He also requested that a document be prepared that lists what the major assumptions are.
Mr. Whicher noted that no payroll increases have been calculated into the scenarios.
Mr. Whicher distributed a document entitled “Benchmarking: Payroll Fringe Costs. This is a preliminary document showing a comparison of fringe and payroll costs for different counties and Ithaca College.
RESOLUTION NO. - ESTABLISHMENT OF 2006 - 2007 COUNTY FINANCIAL GOALS
It was MOVED by Ms. Robertson, seconded by Mrs. McBean-Clairborne, to delete the last Resolved. Ms. Robertson said in her mind the issue is spending and does not think the Legislature should make assumptions about the workforce levels. She believes the real focus is how much taxes are raised and how it is spent and she doesn’t feel that language is necessary. Mr. Booth felt that because the budget is made up largely of employee expenses the language should remain in the resolution.
Mr. Joseph said this language would limit the County’s abilities in some ways and gave an example of applying for grants and the Highway Division hiring employees.
Mr. Koplinka-Loehr said he will support keeping the language in the resolution because he feels it establishes a worthwhile goal.
The Committee reached agreement to amend the language in the last Resolved from "That the County maintain workforce levels…" to "That the County establish a goal of maintaining workforce levels..". The motion to amend the resolution was withdrawn.
A voice vote on approving the resolution and submitting to the full Legislature resulted as follows: Ayes - 5, Noes - 0. MOTION CARRIED.
WHEREAS, Tompkins County, as part of its budget policy and process, wishes to develop financial parameters for the County, to establish the framework for the budget over the new year, now therefore be it
WHEREAS, Tompkins County, as part of its budget policy
and process, wishes to develop financial parameters for the County, to
establish the framework for the budget over the next year, now therefore
RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Budget and Capital Committee, That the Legislature establishes the goal of reducing the 2005 ($7.18/1,000) tax rate for 2006 and 2007,
RESOLVED, further, That the Legislature establishes the goal of a maximum annual increase in the tax levy of 3 percent for 2006 and 2007,
RESOLVED, further, That the County Administrator shall be charged to recommend further consolidations of departments and functions where opportunities exist for improved efficiencies,
RESOLVED, further, That the County establish a goal of maintaining workforce levels at or below current levels in the 2006 and 2007 Budgets.
SEQR ACTION: TYPE II - 20
At this time the Committee reviewed the following budget documents:
County Property Tax Levy and Sales Tax Rate Trends
Payroll Fringe Projections
Mr. Whicher said there has been concern over Tompkins County's projected prescription drug costs; however, after looking at a comparison of other counties and Ithaca College's costs it appears our cost increases are in-line with others. He said he is still looking at this issue and reported there is a consortium of county administrators to see if counties can get a better price by working together.
Solid Waste Annual Fee Refund
A report was presented for the Committee’s information only.
Ms. Jayne reviewed changes that have been made to the Rollover request forms and said they reflect suggestions that have been made by legislators. These forms will be distributed to department heads who will be given three weeks to submit their requests.
Ms. Jayne alerted the Committee that County Administration is changing the budget system to align it with the Countywide Pentamation system; this will allow the system to be automatically aligned and no longer be reliant on County Personnel to input information. She said there may be some minor variances in the way members see information in the budget process and asked that legislators recognize this is a result of using a different process and system.
The meeting adjourned at 1:35 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by Michelle Pottorff, TC Legislature
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