The Cortland County Legislature approved its 2018 budget in a special meeting Thursday night.
Two amendments from Legislator Sandy Price restored some funding to the Health Department’s Early Intervention effort and a pre-K program. “Using state revenue for covering part of the costs, expenditures are for transportation and tuition, and taking some money from the appropriated fund balance, and taking $178,563 from the unappropriated fund balance.
That means money could be a little tight next year. Majority Chair Charles Sudbrink found some legislators amused by his frustration. “We’re doing the same thing that the Legislature’s done for the last 25 years, not making hard decisions, kicking the can down the road and taking what we don’t really have at all, and that’s what we’re doing again here tonight.”
Despite all the effort by many to reduce the 2018 budget, one legislator, George Wagner, was determined to add a 2% raise for department heads, a group that includes legislators. (Price) “And where would you propose taking the money from?” (Wagner) “Well, we’re not at the tax cap yet.” (Price) “So you’d add it to the tax levy?” (Wagner) “I would. I would.”
Enter legislator James Denkenberger. “I’d like to see the taxpayers of this county get a 2% raise – or, translated – a 2% cut in their taxes. That’s what I’d like to see. Who’s looking out for them, and don’t tell me that they don’t work hard for their money, too.” (George Wagner) “I am and the department heads.”
Again, the budget for 2018 passed with no votes from Legislators Denkenberger, Jones, Steinhoff, Sudbrink, Wagner, and Wheelock.