Cayuga County

Minor changes made on second day of Cayuga County budget meeting

2012-11-16T03:05:00Z 2012-11-16T11:24:17Z Minor changes made on second day of Cayuga County budget meetingSistina Giordano The Citizen Auburn Citizen
November 16, 2012 3:05 am  • 

AUBURN | For the second straight night, the Cayuga County Ways and Means Committee made minor adjustments to the 2013 pending budget Thursday night.

The Emergency-911 Department spurred the most noticeable change, to accommodate fees and expenses for its new digital system.

Cayuga County is on the verge of moving over to the new system and will begin working with three other counties to maintain the 911 master site — the brains behind the 911 radio system. County officials estimated the department's costs would rise but weren't sure by how much.

On Thursday night, County Administrator Tom Squires recommended that legislators increase funds for the master site agreement from $155,000 to $205,000 — an increase of $50,000; and to decrease the department's overtime budget by $15,000 to help make up for the increase. The department's overtime budget is set at $75,000 and the change would bring it down to $60,000.

Crunching the numbers is a way to make up for the costly site agreement, Squires said.

"We were comfortable with the numbers but in looking to find a way to come up with that increase we thought lets squeeze it a little thinner," Squires said.

The difference — or $35,000 will come out of the fund balance, Squires added.

Committee members also discussed and addressed changes in legislative contracts for the budget. Two of the most notable discussions came from the county's tourism office and the Cornell Cooperation Extension.

With the increase in tourism, Squires said he expects to see more room occupancy tax revenue and he recommended the county take some of those additional dollars —or $60,000— and establish a new position in the tourism office different from current positions.

"I'm recommending that the county establish a position that would blend tourism development," Squires said. "For example, offering services or products to people and businesses who may not have the resources or wherewithal to do so."

Ultimately, committee members decided on an agreement to take the $60,000 proposed in the budget and increase the direct sales effort. While many agreed that a new position could be instrumental in the future, legislators held off until they could get a better grasp of tourism efforts over the next year.

Cornell Cooperation Extension's contract with the county was also modified. Squires proposed reducing its contribution by $7,500 for 2013 and moving those funds to a special contingency account to be used for the Cayuga County Fair and the 4-H Youth Fair.

The new account would give legislators final say on whether to give those funds to one group or both, Squires said. The idea is to hopefully encourage both groups to work together, he added.

While all changes were agreed upon by committee members on Thursday night, resolutions amending the initial budget will be brought to the county's monthly Ways and Means meeting on Nov. 20. Upon approval, the budget with the amended changes will go before the full Legislature on Nov. 27.

Staff writer Sistina Giordano can be reached at 282 -2237 or Follow her on Twitter at CitizenGiordano.

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