Budget and Quality Planning Committee
June 17, 1999
9:15 a.m.
Scott B. Heyman Conference Room

Present: T. Joseph, F. Proto, P. Penniman, M. Koplinka-Loehr, T. Todd, N. Schuler, S. Davis
Staff: R. Erb, W. Skinner, M. Pottorff

Mr. Joseph called the meeting to order at 9:20 a.m.

Changes to the Agenda

Mr. Joseph distributed copies of a document relating to program evaluation that was inadvertently left out of the agenda packet.

Approval of Minutes or June 3, 1999

It was MOVED by Ms. Davis, seconded by Mr. Todd, and unanimously adopted by voice vote to approve the minutes of June 3, 1999 as submitted. MINUTES APPROVED.

Chairís Report

Mr. Joseph had no report.

County Administratorís Report

Mr. Erb reported preliminary 2000 budgets were due yesterday and are now being compiled as they arrive. He said Mr. Proto had called yesterday to ask if he was aware of what impacts the delay in the State budget would have on Tompkins County, particularly in the Health Department. He said there is not too much concern; however, there is concern over the sunset of the Medicaid cost containment measures that were adopted in 1995-96. Mr. Erb also reported a couple of days ago a letter was received from the State Department of Taxation and Finance, informing Tompkins County if it intended to adopt the clothing and footwear exemption the Board must pass a resolution. He said once a county enacts it, they are not allowed to back out. Mr. Erb reported on a discussion he participated in with representatives of some municipalities on tax issues and said it was a productive meeting. As a result of the meeting it was felt that it would probably be a good idea if a meeting were held with them on a yearly basis to keep everyone informed on what is going on and what is owed to whom. Mr. Joseph said meetings have been held between municipalities and the Assessment Director to resolve ongoing issues; these meetings have gone well and produced positive outcomes.

It was MOVED by Mr. Koplinka-Loehr, seconded by Mrs. Schuler, and unanimously adopted by voice vote, to approve the following resolution and submit to the full Board:


WHEREAS, two staff members have resigned from the Tompkins County Planning Department, and

WHEREAS, the total cost of terminal pay incurred by the Planning Department amounts to $8921, 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 recommendation of the Planning, Intergovernmental Relations, and Education Committee, and the Budget and Quality Planning Committee, That the following budget appropriation be made:

FROM: A1990.44000 Contingency Fund $8921

TO: A8020.51000 Regular Pay $8921



It was MOVED by Mr. Proto, seconded by Mr. Koplinka-Loehr, and unanimously adopted by voice vote, to approve the following resolution and submit to the full Board:


It was MOVED by Ms. Davis, seconded by Mr. Proto, and unanimously adopted by voice vote to approve the following resolution and submit to the Budget and Quality Planning Committee.

WHEREAS, the WIC Program has had a Health Aide absent from work for longer than two months, and

WHEREAS, County Fiscal Policy allows the appropriation of Contingency Funds for the cost of replacing this employee, and

WHEREAS, the cost of unbudgeted replacement pay in the amount of $5,710 has been incurred by the WIC Program, now therefore be it

RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Health and Human Services and Budget and Quality Planning Committees, That the following budget appropriation be made:

FROM: A1990.54400 Contingent Fund $5,710

TO: A4012.5100 Regular Pay $4,605

A4012.58800 Fringes $1,105



Discussion - Tobacco Settlement

Mr. Joseph said the issue for this Committee is not what to do with tobacco settlement monies, but to make a recommendation whether those funds should be treated as general revenue or whether it should be available for special projects. He said he delayed bringing this item back to the Committee until the Board was presented with budget scenarios. Mr. Joseph feels funds from the settlement will be needed and should be used as general revenue to replace other sources that donít exist any longer.

Mr. Proto questioned whether this Committee should even be discussing this because it seems speculative at this time. Mr. Joseph said the first payment is scheduled for April, 2000. Mr. Erb said the last thing he heard from NYSAC was they are hopeful that the pending lawsuits will be resolved in September because of the impact those cases have on the distribution of the monies.

Mr. Koplinka-Loehr recommended that all monies received be applied for health-related initiatives and not be placed in the General Fund.

Mr. Penniman agreed with spending some of this money in the way suggested by Mr. Koplinka-Loehr, however, questioned how that would work in practice in keeping it separate in perpetuity. He questioned to what extent was the settlement based on costs already incurred and to what extent was it based on costs anticipated as result of tobacco-related illnesses.

Mr. Erb questioned if the discussion is about Medicaid funds that have already been expended, what was the source of those funds - did they come from the taxpayer already? He asked if there is going to be reimbursement, should it be exclusively going into health care if the County has already expended taxation funds based on the cost of smoking to date.

Mr. Joseph said by placing the monies in the General Fund it would be recovering public expenditures since the source was originally the taxpayers. Mr. Proto agreed with Mr. Joseph's comments.

Ms. Davis said taxpayers in her district would rather see the funds be restricted to health issues. She said the last time the County had a surplus, a memo was sent out to departments looking for measures that would be cost-effective, and that is how she would like to see these funds used. She said by providing a health care program that is preventative-based, the County will reduce future expenses.

Mr. Todd agreed with Mr. Joseph and felt all the proceeds should be applied to the tax rate and other programs should be funded on their own merit.

Mr. Penniman said he is inclined to not put any restrictions on the funding; however, he would support looking at health related issues.

Mrs. Schuler said she can support the money being returned to taxpayers in the form of health related programs. She said she would have a hard time seeing it spent on bridges and roads. She felt that by not trying to stop people from smoking it will continue into the next generation.

Mr. Proto said he feels it is a personal choice that people make to smoke. He suggested that before the County spends some of the money, it should first find out how effective some of the programs are that exist now. He feels if the money is put into the General Fund there is no reason it canít be used towards health related programs. He agreed with Mr. Erb that the taxpayers are the original source of the funds.

Mr. Todd said he thinks there is a real danger in dividing the money; he agreed with Mr. Joseph that all should be put into the General Fund and each proposal should be evaluated on its own merit.

Ms. Davis disagreed with Mr. Proto. She said tobacco use is not a choice but an addiction. She said it has been proven that tobacco companies have put additives into tobacco products to make them more addictive.

At this time there were two members who wanted to restrict the money to be used towards health care purposes, two who wanted to split the difference and put some into health designated areas, and three who wanted to put the money into the General Fund. No recommendation was made by the Committee on how the money should be spent.

Program Evaluation - Weights and Measures

The Committee reviewed the revised document provided by Mr. Joseph.

There was agreement on all areas except decreasing efforts in the area of annual device testing. After hearing from Ms. Tynyk that by reducing the devices tested, revenues would also reduced, some members were not supportive of reducing the Department's efforts.

Ms. Tynyk will work to increase education by providing more outreach to schools. She will also try to do more accuracy testing of prepackaged goods which she clarified would not make up for lost revenue resulting from a decrease in device testing.

Ms. Davis spoke of the purpose of program evaluation and said she envisioned the Board going through this process to become educated on what departments are doing throughout the County and for programs to showcase their accomplishments. Mr. Koplinka-Loehr said another purpose is to align programs with the County's mission. Mr. Joseph said as the Committee has met, he has learned a lot about what a department is doing and since the Board ultimately makes decision about finding, this is valuable to him. He sees program evaluation as:

A vote on the whether to decrease efforts in the area of device testing or keep the same resulted as follows:

In support of decreasing efforts: 3 (Joseph, Koplinka-Loehr, and Penniman)

In support of keeping the same: 4 (Davis, Proto, Schuler, and Todd)

The program evaluation for the Weights and Measures Department was concluded.

There was discussion on what department should be scheduled for evaluation next. Mr. Joseph will speak with Anthony DeLuca, Commissioner of Mental Health, about the possibility of that Department being next.


The meeting adjourned at 11:05 a.m.

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