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Cayuga County committee passes preliminary 2019 budget with 2.4 percent tax levy increase

A Cayuga County Legislature committee Tuesday passed a preliminary budget for 2019, reducing the total tax levy by approximately $200,000 from the tentative budget proposed by the county administrator.

The Ways and Means committee voted in favor of a budget with a property tax increase of 2.4 percent over the 2018 budget with a total tax levy of approximately $40.75 million, down from a 2.9-percent increase and a $40.95 million total first proposed by County Administrator J. Justin Woods and Budget Director Lynn Marinelli.

The 2018 adopted budget had a total tax levy of $39.8 million.

The preliminary budget approved by the committee also reduced the use of the fund balance to $806,975, down from $945,536 in the tentative budget.

Several legislators on and off the committee argued in favor of further reduction down to a 2-percent increase.

Legislator Andrew Dennison, R-Ira, referred to a report from the CGR consultant’s group that the county’s population would likely fall to 66,000 by 2040, saying ever-increasing taxes were a primary motivator for residents leaving the county and the state.

“I just look at this and say ‘this is why CGR says we’re going to drop,'” Dennison said.

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