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Budget & Finance Committee to Review Potential Tax Cap Override

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The Cortland County Budget and Finance Committee will meet tomorrow (October 15) afternoon and continue discussions on potentially overriding the state’s property tax cap to close an anticipated $2.4M deficit within the 2020 budget.

That was recommended last week by Chairman Kevin Whitney, after little to no budget cuts were put forward since his working draft was released last month.

According to Whitney, his proposed 7% tax levy would completely absolve the county of its running debt total. The maximum rate under the state’s current property tax cap would be just over 3.7%.

(more on the tentative budget here)

Several legislators have indicated they would rather find additional budget cuts than approve an override of the state’s property tax cap.

Tomorrow’s meeting will also review a resolution that culminates months of progress developing a centralized arraignment process, as required by recent changes in criminal justice law at the state level.

Centralized arraignment is also one of the recommendations that’s been made to reduce the county jail population and other sources of strain on the local judicial system.

The committee will also revisit the contract for a potential solar project at the county landfill, which was again moved forward last week by the Ag/Planning/Environmental Committee.

That proposal failed by a close vote at last month’s full legislative session, but supporting Legislators including Sandra Price have indicated they believe enough ‘ays‘ have now been gathered to get it passed this time around.

Additionally, Legislator Paul Heider has again put forward a proposal to transfer $600K from the Jail Reserve Fund to the General Fund.

Heider has said he feels the Legislature should be reimbursed for payments it made from that fund to board out inmates while mandated repairs were being made on the jail, which was vacant for several months.

Chairman Whitney questioned this proposition at last week’s special budget release meeting, arguing that either way it was the county’s money and would have no effect on the deficit.

Tomorrow’s Budget and Finance Committee meeting is set for Noon.

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