Four organizations may have to cut events and services or raise fees if the Cortland County Legislature decides not to fund their operational expenses in the 2020 budget, as the $135 million draft of the 2020 budget suggests.
“This is not new, this has been going for several years,” said Glenn Reisweber, the director of Lime Hollow Nature Center.
The four agencies and the amount they requested:
- Lime Hollow: $16,000.
- 1890 House: $10,500.
- CNY Living History Center: $24,000.
- Cortland County Historical Society: $21,500.
The groups received those same amounts in the 2019 adopted budget. Reisweber said the nature center was noticed last year that it would need to pick up the additional $16,000. If that remains the case, it could mean people will see increased costs for summer camps and other activities.
“I have no choice,” Reisweber said. “If we’re going to provide the goods and services, we’re going to have to pass that onto the consumer.”
The CNY Living History Center plans to continue raising funds this year through various avenues while waiting the budget process out, said Director Cindy Stoker.
History society Director Tabitha Scoville said a lack of county funding will compromise the group’s ability to visit classrooms in schools across the county and educate students or provide free programs to county residents.
“Both Chenango and Madison counties fund their historical societies because they recognize the importance of having historical resources available to their citizens,” Scoville said Wednesday in a statement. “We will continue to do all we can with the resources we have, but this cut will certainly make it harder to do.”
The president of the board for the 1890 House couldn’t be reached for comment.
None of the organizations can use occupancy tax money to cover those costs because the that money is restricted to tourism purposes, such as marketing an event.
Reisweber said he will apply for that grant, but that it is a competitive process.
Legislature Chairman Kevin Whitney (R-Cortlandville) said the budget is only a draft and things could change. It’s exactly what happened last year during the budget process, with the organizations getting the money in the end.
“It’s always been an issue that we’ve struggled with,” he said. “The Legislature always finds a way to put that money back in.”
However, Whitney said this year could be a little harder to do that again.