Called to Order
Mr. Koplinka-Loehr called the meeting to order at 11:32 a.m.
Changes to the Agenda
The following items were withdrawn from the agenda:
Position Request - Program Development Specialist,
Resolution - Ratification of Bargaining Agreement - Corrections Officers Local 2062 Union
Approval of Minutes of May 20, 2005
It was MOVED by Mr. Todd, seconded by Mrs. McBean-Clairborne, and unanimously adopted by voice vote, to approve the minutes of May 20, 2005. MINUTES APPROVED.
Comments from the Public
No member of the public wished to speak.
Mr. Koplinka-Loehr had no report.
Finance Director's Report
Mr. Squires reported on the foreclosure auction that was held last week and said all properties were sold. There was a total of $24,000 in unpaid taxes that had to be covered and the gross proceeds were $85,000. He noted the amount of properties being foreclosed upon is lower than in past years which is an indicator of a healthier tax base, although it was slightly lower than the $100,000 that was budgeted in allocated revenues from the sale of property in the 2005 County Budget. Mr. Squires also commented on the operating budget and stated there are no major items for him to comment on at this time.
County Administrator's Report
Mr. Whicher had no report at this time.
Public Information Coordinator's Report
Ms. Skinner had no report.
Health Department Position Request
It was MOVED by Ms. Robertson, seconded by Mr. Booth, and unanimously adopted by voice vote, to approve a request to fill one full-time position of Public Health Sanitarian in the Health Department at a salary of $40,908; approximately 25 percent is local funding.
Ms. Robertson stated this position includes the responsibility of septic inspections. The Department is trying to keep up with the many new buildings, this was approved by the Health and Human Services Committee.
Funding for Expanded Recruitment Efforts
Mr. Whicher said he tried to capture the essence of the questions brought forward by departments. He included in the agenda packed an overview of this subject and said this will be discussed tomorrow at the Department Head meeting. He spoke of the potential for increased costs for advertising and recruitment because of the broader search process. He said he thinks that departments can afford to pay for these costs if they have a vacancy; however, if a department does not have the funds there should be a process established for them to go to the Contingent Fund for replacement.
Mrs. McBean-Clairborne said she would like to know what people were doing before the diversity initiative in terms of the costs of recruitment. Ms. Fitzpatrick said it depends on the position being recruited for. In the last six months there have been some positions that have resulted in higher-than-usual costs. She said all recruitment is done through the Personnel Department and departments reimburse Personnel for expenses related to this.
Mr. Booth suggested that departments continue to pay for this, but a small contingent fund be established to cover these costs in the future.
Mr. Koplinka-Loehr said if costs are extraordinarily high departments can approach the Legislature for funds; he does not feel a policy change is needed at this time. He suggested Mr. Whicher discuss this with department heads and if they feel strongly one way or another it can be brought back for further discussion by this Committee.
RESOLUTION NO. - IN SUPPORT OF NEW YORK STATE BILL A6637/S4197 TO ALLOW CREDIT UNIONS AND THRIFT INSTITUTIONS TO ACCEPT MUNICIPAL DEPOSITS
MOVED by Mrs. McBean-Clairborne, seconded by Mr. Todd. Ms. Kiefer said she could support this if it were only credit unions but said she does not support extension to savings and loan institutions. A voice vote resulted as follows: Ayes – 5, Noes – 0. MOTION CARRIED.
WHEREAS, the General Municipal Law of the State
of New York requires that local governments designate one or more banks
or trust companies for the deposit of public funds, and
WHEREAS, many states and large cities throughout the United States expressly allow for the deposit of public funds in credit unions, savings banks, and savings and loan associations (hereinafter referred to as "thrift institutions"), and
WHEREAS, the State of New York remains one of the few states where banks and trust companies are granted the ability to maintain a virtual monopoly over municipal deposits, and
WHEREAS, by amending the applicable State law to permit the deposit of municipal funds in credit unions and thrift institutions, the State will be helping local governments to improve and ensure their financial strength by expanding such options, while at the same time keeping these important financial institutions viable and successful in their communities, and
WHEREAS, like banks, credit unions are insured by the National Credit Union Insurance Fund, a federal agency comparable to the Federal Deposit Insurance Company, now therefore be it
RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Budget and Capital Committee, That the Tompkins County Legislature calls upon the New York State Legislature to pass A6637/S4197 amending all applicable State law to allow local government to deposit public funds in credit unions and thrift institutions.
SEQR ACTION: TYPE II-20
* * * * * * * * *
RESOLUTION NO. - ESTABLISHMENT OF GUIDELINES AND FISCAL TARGETS FOR ALL COUNTY BUDGETING UNITS FOR THE PREPARATION OF THE 2006 BUDGET
MOVED by Ms. Robertson, seconded by Mrs. McBean-Clairborne.
Mr. Whicher reviewed the scenarios provided in the agenda packet. He stated that when the Legislature was considering a three percent increase in the tax levy he felt he could accomplish that; however, when a decision was made to produce a budget at a zero percent level he felt it would be much more difficult and said it would take approximately a five percent reduction in fiscal targets to achieve the needed $1.8 million. He said 75 to 80 percent of over-target requests are usually approved by the Legislature and that it takes departments a significant amount of time to produce those requests. Based on that, he produced a list of possible options for the Committee to consider which are outlined in the document presented to the Committee.
Mr. Whicher said the Legislature could look at its core responsibilities and make cuts to agencies. Other possibilities could be to eliminate salary and fringe from the Rollover Policy and to adopt a Mortgage Recording Tax or a Transfer Tax.
Ms. Robertson commented on the options presented and spoke to the option of structural changes. She said nothing comes to mind that the Legislature hasn’t already thought of. She also spoke to the suggestion to cut agencies and said it is a misunderstanding to think that agencies do not provide core services in some way because they do a lot of work that the County is required to do. In many ways, having an agency do work saves the County money. Ms. Robertson spoke to the option of reducing mandate estimates for 2006 and said she feels it is too early to tell if those estimates could be reduced. She also said she supports a Transfer Tax but does not support a Mortgage Recording Tax.
Mr. Whicher questioned whether it would be worthwhile to ask County departments to submit a five percent reduction in budgets because it would require a substantial amount of work and he does not feel it would be very worthwhile.
Mr. Booth said it will take a mixture of things to reach the intended goal and said he would like to see a portion of a target reduction included in the options being considered.
Ms. Kiefer spoke to the list of options presented by Mr. Whicher and stated she would like discussion on Mr. Whicher’s list with Legislature recommendations to him on each of the options presented. She also stated that a tax levy increase of zero is, in fact, a reduction; also an assumption should not be made that agencies do not provide core services to the County.
Mr. Todd said he did not agree with all of the options presented by Mr. Whicher; however, he is willing to support this resolution so that departments can generate budgets and the process can move forward.
Mr. Booth said he would like to see budgets submitted with a fiscal target reduction. Mr. Whicher said that this resolution does not preclude him from having fiscal target reductions in his recommendation.
Ms. Robertson said an across-the-board target reduction creates an unnecessary stress on staff and feels every department will know that Mr. Whicher will be looking for target reductions and efficiencies wherever possible. She said nothing can be gained by arbitrary reductions, and that a zero percent increase is effectively a cut due to rising costs.
It was MOVED by Mr. Booth, seconded by Mr. Todd, to amend the resolution to include language that requests departments to prepare 2006 budgets with a 2.5 percent fiscal target reduction.
Mr. Meskill said he doesn’t disagree with Mr. Booth; however, feels his department is being penalized for having successfully negotiated a union contract. Mr. Joseph said a department would not be penalized if the reduction were taken after salary settlements.
A voice vote resulted as follows: Ayes – 2 (Booth and Todd); Noes – 3 (Robertson, McBean-Clairborne, and Koplinka-Loehr). MOTION FAILED.
A voice vote on the resolution as presented resulted as follows: Ayes – 3 (Koplinka-Loehr, McBean-Clairborne, and Robertson); Noes – 2 (Booth and Todd). MOTION CARRIED.
Ms. Kiefer said she would like more information on Option 6 in Mr. Whicher’s proposal (Review of Fiscal Policies).
WHEREAS, the Tompkins County Fiscal Policy specifies
that a fiscal target is the maximum amount of general revenue spending
authority that a department head or program director may request without
initiating an Over-Target Request, and changes in fiscal targets should
be communicated to department heads and program directors as timely as
possible in order for them to submit their budget requests by August 1,
WHEREAS, CSEA White Collar, CSEA Blue Collar and the Employees’ Union of the Tompkins County Sheriff Department staff contracts will not be established in time prior to submission of the 2006 department budget requests, and
WHEREAS, the Tompkins County Legislature has charged the County Administrator with the responsibility for producing a recommended budget for 2006 that does not increase the Tax Levy for 2006 above the 2005 Tax Levy, and
WHEREAS, the Tompkins County Legislature wishes to establish targets at 2005 levels for departments and agencies in preparing 2006 budget requests, now therefore be it
RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Budget and Capital Committee, That fiscal targets for all budgeting units for preparation of the 2006 budget are hereby established as follows:
1. For not-for-profit agency grants, the amount approved
in the 2005 adopted budget less any over-target funding designated as one-time
less any funds re-appropriated from previous years.
2. For Human Service and Criminal Justice agencies receiving reimbursement pursuant to the Sales Tax Agreement between the County and City of Ithaca, the fiscal target shall be equal to the current year appropriation, including the sales tax revenue, minus any one-time adjustments for prior years. The target is now equal to the local county share.
3. For all County departments, an amount equal to the general revenue portion of the 2005 adopted County budget, less any over-target funding designated as one-time, less any funds re-appropriated from previous years, plus 2005 Management, Confidential, Sheriff, and County Clerk salary and fringe adjustments.
4. For the Corrections Unit of the Sheriff’s Department, an amount equal to the general revenue portion of the 2005 adopted County budget, less any over-target funding designated as one-time, less any funds re-appropriated from previous years, plus 2005 Correction Officers contractual salary and fringe adjustments, plus 2005 Management and Confidential salary and fringe adjustments.
5. All other salary changes and associated fringe costs or savings will be paid through or received by the General Fund.
RESOLVED, further, That the County Administrator shall work in close collaboration with Department Heads to develop fiscally responsible approaches to achieve the Legislature’s goal to develop a financially sound budget that does not exceed the 2005 Tax Levy.
SEQR ACTION: TYPE II-20
RESOLUTION NO. - ADOPTION OF 2005-2006 OPERATING BUDGET - TOMPKINS CORTLAND COMMUNITY COLLEGE
MOVED by Mrs. McBean-Clairborne, seconded by Ms. Robertson.
Mr. Haynes provided the Committee with an overview of the College budget. He stated there are 36 departments at the College which submitted budget requests that exceed what could be approved by $1.5 million. He said the Governor’s veto had a significant impact on the College as there was $400,000 to $500,000 less in the operating budget in the Fall that had to be absorbed. He said there have increases in health insurance, liability insurance, and contractual expenses. There has also been a 4.5 percent increase in enrollment.
Mr. Haynes spoke of cost shifts and said the split in enrollment had been 62% – Tompkins County and 38% Cortland County; however, Tompkins County’s percentage has moved down one percent and Cortland County’s has increased to 39%.
He spoke to the increase in sponsorship being requested of Tompkins County ($49,000) and said this is the first time in four years that the College has requested an increase. Although an increase could be made in tuition he feels that has already been increased as much as possible. He said he does not want to increase fees because students cannot get TAP assistance on fees. He also noted that because of cuts that were made to this year’s budget, the amount budgeted is not the amount the College was able to spend in the present budget. He said the tuition has increased from $2,950 to $3,100 and the total number of students is 3,230 which includes both part- and full-time students. He stated the Cortland County Legislature approved this last Thursday.
Ms. Kiefer said she feels this increase is a good start to bringing the local sponsor shares back to each being one-third.
A voice vote resulted as follows: Ayes – 4, Noes – 1 (Robertson). MOTION CARRIED.
WHEREAS, a proposed operating budget for Tompkins Cortland
Community College for the fiscal year September 1, 2005, through August
31, 2006, has been presented to the Legislature of the County of Tompkins
pursuant to County Law and Section 6306 of the Education Law, and
WHEREAS, the Legislature has conducted a public hearing on said proposed budget on the 21st of June 2005, now therefore be it
RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Budget and Capital Committee, That said proposed 2005-2006 operating budget in the amount of $25,815,965 of which the sponsoring community contribution is in the amount of $3,568,500 be and the same hereby is approved,
RESOLVED, further, That the Legislature of Tompkins County includes in the 2006 Tompkins County Budget an amount to be determined pursuant to the approved plan for said College in effect as of September 1, 2005, and that the amount when determined be raised by taxation in the County of Tompkins in the fiscal year 2006,
RESOLVED, further, That this resolution shall become effective upon the adoption of a concurrent resolution by the Cortland County Legislature.
SEQR ACTION: TYPE II-20
RESOLUTION NO. - CONTINGENT FUND APPROPRIATION OF $620,000 TO PAY FOR COUNTY SHARE OF THE INITIAL COST OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE TOMPKINS CORTLAND COMMUNITY COLLEGE MASTER PLAN
MOVED by Mrs. McBean-Clairborne, seconded by Ms. Robertson. Mr. Squires said the College was receiving payments on the site work for the Master Plan and needs some liquidity to pay their bills if they are going to proceed as planned. Mr. Joseph said this just reduces the future payment because the County will bond for less.
Mr. Squires said there are four options: take out of the Contingent Fund, take out of the Fund Balance, take out of the authorized budget from undedicated places, or do not approve the request.
Mr. Joseph asked if Tompkins County is locked into the 62/38 rate for the next ten years and was told yes. Mr. Haynes said Cortland County may be willing to take the lead on this or look at some unique type of municipal bonding for what is expected to be a 20-year bond.
A voice vote resulted as follows: Ayes – 5, Noes – 0. MOTION CARRIED. Mr. Haynes provided the Committee with a status report on the Master Plan work. Ms. Kiefer and Mr. Haynes agreed to discuss energy alternatives at a later time.
WHEREAS, Tompkins Cortland Community College has
received budget approval from its sponsors and New York State on a $27,000,000
Campus Master Plan to upgrade and expand its facilities, and
WHEREAS, site work on the master plan project is scheduled to commence this month, and
WHEREAS, the State of New York has advised the college that funding for the State share of the project will not be available until spring of 2006, and
WHEREAS, the college is desirous of starting work during the current construction season but is unable to advance sufficient funds to cover the cost of initial project expenses without sponsor assistance of $1,000,000, now therefore be it
RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Budget and Capital Committee, That an appropriation of $620,000 be authorized from the Contingent Fund to provide for Tompkins County's sixty-two percent share of the $1,000,000 construction advance for the Campus Master Plan,
RESOLVED, further, That the Finance Director coordinate with Cortland County in securing within ninety days the necessary bonding authority and intermunicipal agreements to provide for the remaining portion of sponsor funding,
RESOLVED, further, That the Finance Director is authorized to make the following budget appropriations in implementation of this resolution:
FROM: A1990.54400 Contingent Fund $620,000
TO: A9576.54400 Contribution to Construction $620,000
SEQR ACTION: TYPE II-2
Target Fund Balance
Mr. Whicher said during the budget retreat he made a statement that it was being recommended that the Target Fund Balance be increased from five to six percent. He said it was realized that there was a reduction in the A Fund prior arriving at five percent and Mr. Whicher questioned whether that should continue to be done. He said if that reduction was eliminated, the A Fund target fund balance would be increased to $5,685,000 which he believes would be adequate. Mr. Koplinka-Loehr clarified that what this attempts to do is to reinterpret the application of the Fiscal Policy of five percent capturing all funds. Mr. Squires was in agreement with doing this.
Mr. Joseph said the Target Fund Balance has been treated as a floor that the Legislature will not go below. He also said other counties do not have this and feels Tompkins County has a fair amount of cash on hand and doesn't think this fund balance should be raised because it will mean making those funds inaccessible as the funds are never used.
No action was taken on this item; discussion will continue at the next meeting.
RESOLUTION NO. AUTHORIZING SALARY INCREASES FOR POSITIONS WITH SALARIES SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY BOARD RESOLUTIONABOVE SALRY RANGE
MOVED by Mrs. McBean-Clairborne, seconded by Ms. Robertson.
Ms. Kiefer opposes this because it does away with the Legislature's annual responsibility pertaining to these positions. She also feels a percentage increase applied to these high salary levels yields large dollar amounts. Mr. Koplinka-Loehr said this is being put forward at this time because it was unclear in May of this year if the same terms applied to this group as approved for the Management and Confidential employees. Ms. Robertson requested additional information, including how much two percent equated to as well as some alternative increases.
It was MOVED by Ms. Robertson, seconded by Mrs. McBean-Clairborne, to TABLE this resolution to the June 28 meeting. A voice vote resulted as follows: Ayes - 4, Noes - 1 (Koplinka-Loehr). MOTION CARRIED; RESOLUTION TABLED TO JUNE 28, 2005.
Capital Project books were distributed. Members
were asked to be prepared to discuss at the June 28 meeting.
This item was postponed until the next meeting.
The meeting adjourned at 1:45 p.m.
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