Budget and Fiscal Policy Committee
September 21, 2000
9 a.m.
Scott B. Heyman Conference Room

Present: T. Joseph, P. Penniman, S. Davis, T. Todd, F. Proto (arrived late)
Staff: D. Squires, R. Erb, K. Smithers, W. Skinner
Guests: P. Bonaparte-Krogh, Executive Director of Cooperative Extension and D. Showman Cooperative Extension Treasurer
 

Mr. Joseph called the meeting to order at 9:04 a.m.

Addition to the Agenda

The following items were added to the agenda:

Discussion – Fiscal impact of salary negotiations

Discussion – Budget calendar

Resolution – Appropriating Funds To Purchase Property To Accommodate The Office Space Needs Of Cornell Cooperative Extension Of Tompkins County

The following resolution was MOVED by Ms. Davis and seconded by Mr. Penniman:

RESOLUTION NO. - APPROPRIATING FUNDS TO PURCHASE PROPERTY TO ACCOMMODATE THE OFFICE SPACE NEEDS OF CORNELL COOPERATIVE EXTENSION OF TOMPKINS COUNTY Mr. Bonaparte-Krogh said Cooperative Extension has asked that the County Board advance that agency $180,000 and give them a year to figure out how they are going to pay for the building.

Mr. Squires said after reviewing this he would recommend deleting any reference in the resolution to the term "loan. Mr. Todd suggested that Cooperative Extension look at the model Foodnet is using to pay the County back for their space.

Mr. Bonaparte-Krogh said the word "loan" was placed back in the resolution because the Planning and Intermunicipal Coordination Committee wanted to make it clear that this money is a loan. He said part of the plan was originally included in the resolution has since been removed. He stated Cooperative Extension is fully in agreement that they are going to prepare a plan for repayment and bring it back to the Board for discussion.

Ms. Davis stated that she is troubled that the plan for repayment is coming after the money is going to be given. Mr. Todd concurred with Ms. Davis; however, said part of the problem is that the building came up for sale without any advance notice.

Mrs. Smithers reminded the Committee that the County still maintains fiscal control because it allocates $500,000 to Cooperative Extension annually.

Mr. Bonaparte-Krogh said he understands this is a loan and will do his best to come up with a plan by the deadline. It was agreed that he will come back and have a discussion about the terms of the repayment plan.

A voice vote resulted as follows: Ayes – 4, Noes – 0, Excused – 1 (Representative Proto). MOTION CARRIED.

WHEREAS, the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County (CCETC) has been a partner with County government in improving the lives of its residents for over 80 years, and is a subordinate governmental agency under County Law 224, and

WHEREAS, the CCETC office building at 615 Willow Avenue in Ithaca can no longer accommodate the organization’s space needs, and

WHEREAS, the adjacent building owned by the Automobile Club of Syracuse (commonly known as the AAA Building) at 303 West Lincoln Street is being vacated and is available for purchase, and

WHEREAS, CCETC has inspected the property and judged it to be suitable for the expansion of their office space, and

WHEREAS, the negotiated purchase price of $180,000 is contingent on financing being obtained from Tompkins County for said purchase, and

WHEREAS, the County wishes to assist CCETC in completing this purchase, now therefore be it

RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Planning and Intermunicipal Coordination and Budget and Fiscal Policy Committees, That $180,000 be appropriated from the General Fund Balance to CCETC to purchase the 303 West Lincoln Street property,

RESOLVED, further, That the CCETC shall prepare a plan whereby the County shall be reimbursed over a five year period; said plan to be submitted to the County by August 1, 2001.

SEQR ACTION: TYPE II-2

____________________

Approval of Minutes of September 7, 2000

It was MOVED by Ms. Davis, seconded by Mr. Penniman, and unanimously adopted by voice vote by members present, to approve the minutes of September 7, 2000 as submitted. MINUTES APPROVED.

Chair’s Report

Mr. Joseph had no report. He said the dates of the calendar for the Expanded Budget and Fiscal Policy Committee have been set; however, there will be a slight change in the agenda for a couple of those days. He will have revised schedules distributed to all Board members.

County Administrator’s Report

Mr. Erb had no report.

Finance Director’s Report

Mr. Squires distributed a document showing estimated cash flows for 2001-2006. He reported tobacco consumption has gone down and because of this it is forecasted that revenue are going to diminish as the companies are required to pay based on the amount of cigarettes shipped. Mr. Squires reported the Local Development Corporation is being created and as to act by the third week in October. The members of that are the Chair of the Board, County Admnistrator, Finance Director, and an independent member yet to named.

Report from the Deputy County Administrator

Ms. Smithers had no report.

Mr. Penniman spoke of the process of salary negotiations and said it would be very helpful for Board members to have an understanding of the tax increase impact of salary increases. Mr. Squires said payroll is $26 million; however, all salaries are not paid with County dollars. Ms. Smithers will compile this information.

Mr. Proto requested information on the number of employees who use flex-time and who they are. He said that he has had difficulty contacting some staff members. Ms. Smithers said she would follow up on this request.

Capital Project Discussion

There was discussion about tobacco revenues and what capital projects would be paid for with tobacco funds. Mr. Erb said he proposed budget recommendation includes using all securitized tobacco proceeds because he was trying to bring the tax rate down.

A brief discussion ensued regarding use of the former Library building. Mr. Proto asked when a decision would be made regarding whether or not the County is going to sell the building. Mr. Erb said meetings continue to take place and that no final decision has been made.

Mr. Penniman said he thinks the Board should be funding 20-year projects. He suggested creating a new budget line titled "Future Space Needs". Ms. Smithers said there are departments such as Workforce Development, the Day Reporting Program, and Records Management that have space issues and consideration is being given to moving those programs into that building. Mr. Penniman said if it is going to cost as much to renovate the old Library as it would to build a new building, he would rather build a new building.

It was MOVED by Mr. Joseph, seconded by Mr. Penniman, to make the following changes to Schedule B – Capital Program – Local Share Financing with 50 Percent Securitization as follows:

Line 3 – Public Safety Communications – pay from property tax rather than tobacco money.

Line – 6 – Public Safety Building – Renovations – amend from $230,000 to $30,000 for 2001.

Line 25 – Replacement of GA Facility at Airport – amend total project share from $1,2375,000 to zero.

Mr. Joseph said the purpose of this is to make up for the shortfall in tobacco revenues. In discussing the GA Facility at the Airport, Mr. Proto said the Airports is anticipating receiving a grant from the FAA in the amount of $1 million. Mr. Joseph said the Airport has several sources of money to try to fund this project. While he does not want to list it using General Fund Revenues, he does not have a problem listing it as a capital project.

A voice vote on the motion resulted as follows: Ayes – 5, Noes – 0. MOTION CARRIED.

Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 11:05 a.m.

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