Legislature approves county’s 2024 budget

(Photo via Unsplash).

The Cortland County Legislature adopted the county’s 2024 budget at Thursday’s county legislature meeting.

The $155.9 million spending plan signifies an increase in expenditures of about $2.1 million from this year’s budget. Next year’s budget will also see an increase in $770,000 in taxes levied, about a 1.96% bump from the 2023 spending plan. The tax rate will rise about 1.12% from $15.91 to $16.09 per $1,000 in assessed property value.  

Legislator Ann Homer (D-LD-7) said there were items in the budget she wanted to support and therefore would be voting in favor of adopting the new spending plan. However, she noted, there were some other items she did not agree with.

“This is a quandary for me for three reasons. I don’t believe that the legislators should get an increase (in salary),” she said, referencing a measure passed by legislators earlier in the fall that would increase their salary by 20%.

Homer also noted legislature committees pulled a resolution setting the county’s new insurance rates, which are up 10.4%. County officials explained the legislature did not need to approve a resolution to set the new insurance rate. Homer argued last night the county had been voting on setting new insurance rates for 30 years.

“I think it is disingenuous not to present the resolution and the health insurance rates just because we don't have to, doesn't mean that we shouldn't,” Homer said.

Homer also noted the budget does not include a provision that protects health insurance for retirees if the county loses a lawsuit that can determine the future of the county’s Medicare Advantage plan offerings. Details on the suit can be found by clicking here.

“I see a special session in December if the county does in fact lose that lawsuit,” Homer added.