Cortland County approves 2023 budget

Cortland County office building. (Photo Source: Kevin L. Smith/Cortland Voice)

Cortland County legislators approved the 2023 county budget at Thursday’s meeting. 

The $152 million spending plan includes a .708 percent tax rate increase, which on average is 11 cents higher than last year’s per $1,000 of assessed value. The budget levies $38.5 million in property taxes, an increase of about two percent from last year, and stays within the state’s mandated tax cap.

A copy of the county’s 2023 budget can be seen here.

Legislator Ronald VanDee (D-LD-4) was the only legislator to vote against the budget.

Legislature chair Kevin Fitch (R-LD-8) thanked legislators during the County Legislature meeting Thursday night.

“This is one of the first times that I've seen that the committees (worked thoroughly) with every department,” he said. “They reviewed the budget. It was presented. They went back, they reviewed it again. So really as for the Legislature, and for each committee, I think you've worked well with (County administrator Rob) Corpora. I think we got an outstanding budget.”

Since the budget was unveiled in early October, legislators have made several amendments to the spending plan. One of them added two budgetary requests from Tompkins Cortland Community College. One of the requests was for $88,920 in operating expenses and the other was for $95,000 in capital improvements and deferred maintenance.

Another amendment was approved at last month’s Legislature meeting, where legislators unanimously approved $100,000 in supplementary funding that would go toward direct mental health services provided by Family Counseling Services (FCS) at all county schools.

The county also plans to spend funds out of its unappropriated fund balance account to hire a grant writer in the next year. County documents suggest the position will cost $86,468 from the fund balance account. Additionally, legislators also agreed to include $6,500 in funding for the Cortland Agricultural Corporation for renovations with the County Junior Fair. Lastly, legislators also voted to give the County Soil and Water Conservation District an added $11,344 to their budget.