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Tompkins Co. Legislature Passes $52 Million 2021 Budget

TOMPKINS COUNTY, NY (WSKG) - Without additional discussion from legislators or the public, the Tompkins County Legislature unanimously passed its 2021 budget at its regular meeting on Tuesday night.

The budget totals $52,399,459 about a 6 percent decrease from the 2020 budget.

The main reason for the estimated continued revenue losses is the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his monthly report on the county's finances, Comptroller Rick Snyder noted that the county sales tax revenue was down 11.88 percent from October 2019.

County Administrator, Jason Molino shared a chart with legislators detailing the county payroll expenses related COVID-19. From March to mid-November the pandemic cost the county more than $1.6 million in regular payroll and overtime.

Molino said that there have been over 3,000 hours of time taken by county staff under the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), mostly related to childcare needs.

Legislator Mike Lane commented on the challenges the pandemic has created for the many county staff including Molino in putting together next year's budget.

"We couldn’t possibly have gone through this COVID year and had any idea what we were doing without the great advice, the great research that they have done," Lane said just before the vote.

Deputy County Administrator Amie Hendrix informed the legislature that another COVID-19 sampling site is coming to Tompkins County. The new one will be in downtown Ithaca.

"It will be a smaller facility than the mall sampling site. We will not be shutting that site down," she said.

The new site will be an indoor location. Hendrix said the exact location is still being finalized. The existing one is an outdoor drive through located at a shopping mall just north of Ithaca.

Hendrix says they are planning to open the new site shortly after Thanksgiving. Access to the new site will be by appointment only.