Cayuga County Office Building

The Cayuga County Office Building, at 160 Genesee St. in Auburn, opened in 1969.

Sarah Jean Condon, The Citizen

Cayuga County legislators will meet next week to discuss the future of the county's office building at 160 Genesee St. in Auburn and the county's 2018 budget.

This summer, legislators had some discussion about renovating the existing office building, though asbestos concerns have led to considering erecting a new building altogether. Initial cost estimates from a July meeting indicated a renovation could cost about $11 million, and a new building could cost between $25 and $26 million.

Legislature Chairman Keith Batman said the Legislature will gather for a committee of the whole on Nov. 16 to discuss all county buildings, and Public Works Committee Chair Terry Baxter will lead the discussion.

"The intent of that really is to set a direction of what we need to do with the county office building, but look at it broader so we can discuss buildings in general," Batman said. "The intent is not to make any decisions about anything, quite frankly, to really set a direction of what kind of information needs to be gathered so we can begin that process."

The reason for gathering the meeting now and not earlier, Batman said, is because the county has now hired a new administrator. The county hired J. Justin Woods on Nov. 7, and he is expected to start work in Cayuga County sometime before Jan. 1. With no administrator earlier this year, Batman said there was no one available to set an intentional direction for the building.

Prior to the committee of the whole meeting, a special Legislature meeting will examine the county's 2018 proposed budget. The Ways and Means Committee made a few changes to the budget at a special committee meeting Nov. 7, using about $36,000 more from the fund balance than the first proposed budget. Those changes will be discussed as well as any others legislators might want to propose.

Legislators will vote on the budget, which Batman said will then go to the full body's meeting and a public hearing on Nov. 28. Legislators will have to pass a final budget by Dec. 14, their final meeting.

Staff writer Gwendolyn Craig can be reached at (315) 282-2237 or gwendolyn.craig@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter @gwendolynnn1.

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