CORTLAND, N.Y. – Cortland County legislators voted down a proposal Thursday that would have increased the county’s contribution to Tompkins Cortland Community College by 2 percent.
The proposal failed by an 8-7 vote. Legislators Sandra Price and Thomas Hartnett, who were absent, were counted as no votes.
The “2 and 2” agreement would have had the county increasing its “cash” contribution to the college by 2 percent—or just under $39,000—while authorizing TC3 to draw an additional 2 percent increase from the college’s surplus funds, which is jointly owned by Tompkins and Cortland counties.
Cortland County contributes about $1.7 million to the college annually.
TC3 President Carl Haynes said he was “disappointed and confused” by Thursday’s vote.
“I thought we had worked all this out and were fine,” Haynes said. “The key thing here is that the two counties have to come together to work it out.”
Haynes says the state only recognizes a sponsor of one entity—meaning Tompkins and Cortland counties have to come to a funding agreement in order for the college’s budget to gain approval from the state.
Legislator Kevin Whitney, who chairs the budget and finance committee, voted against the 2 percent increase Thursday. He had originally voted in favor of the proposal when it was brought to a vote at the committee level earlier this month.
“The committee decided they wanted to bring it to the floor,” Whitney said Thursday. “I’ve had more people contact me since then and discuss the fact that they felt that it shouldn’t be approved.”
Whitney said he planned to reach out to Haynes Friday morning to discuss how to move forward.
“I suspect Tompkins County will be reaching out to us just as quick,” he said.
The Tompkins County Legislature is scheduled to vote on its financial contribution to the college next month.