At first blush, the initial draft of the 2018 budget for Cayuga County looks good. But we'd like to remind legislators of their responsibility to try to make it even better.
The plan is to increase the tax levy by about 2 percent; take $550,000 out of the fund balance; and spend more money on road repairs.
The budget, put together in the absence of a county administrator, appears to be a good start. It holds the line on taxes; leans on a reasonable amount of savings; and addresses crucial repairs to roads, some of which were damaged by flooding this spring.
It also includes adding a probation officer position to comply with state guidelines; addressing staffing shortages for Meals on Wheels; and funding some water quality testing for Cayuga Lake.
With the absence of any glaring oversights or a big tax increase, it would be easy to relax at this point, but this is one of those times when legislators should be putting in some extra work on behalf of their constituents.
Are there any savings that can be squeezed out of this proposal for the benefit of the taxpayers? It doesn't need to be finalized until the end of the year, so there's still time to make changes.
We encourage every member of the Legislature to dive into this budget and pick it apart over the next two months. This draft is a good beginning, but it should not be allowed to serve as the end result.
The Citizen editorial board includes publisher Rob Forcey, executive editor Jeremy Boyer and managing editor Mike Dowd.