October 28, 2021

TC3 cuts budget 3.4%, furloughs workers

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DRYDEN — Tompkins Cortland Community College plans to cut spending 3.4% in 2021 — renegotiating contracts, not hiring new people for positions left vacant and furloughing non-teaching staff.

Cortland County legislators will consider today the community college’s $34.5 million operating budget for 2020-21, down from this year’s nearly $35.7 million budget, school finance documents show.

Much of the change is because of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Bill Talbot, the interim vice president of finance and administration. These include:

Renegotiating contracts for services not used during the pandemic, like the college’s copy center.

Not hiring new people to fill positions because of retirements but looking to fill them with current staff.

Redirecting cleaning workers who weren’t being utilized to clean buildings like dorms and canceling other contracts in their place.

Furloughing all non-teaching staff for one to three days and the state’s Shared Work program.

“We saved an extra $1.1 million in anticipation for a bad year,” Talbot said.

He noted that furloughing workers helped the college save around $400,000.

The school has faced budget reductions in the past, including a 12.4% decrease from 2018-19 to 2019-20, according to the school’s website.

Talbot said that when the economy has been good, as it has the past couple of years, enrollment in the college declines. However, the coronavirus pandemic and simultaneous recession may change that.

“It’s pretty likely we’ll see an increase in the next year to two years,” he said.

Cortland County Legislature Chairman Paul Heider (R-Cuyler, Solon, Truxton) said he expects the budget to pass tonight.

“We have a responsibility to contractually support TC3,” he said.

Tompkins County Legislator David McKenna (R-Newfield, Endfield), the vice-chairman of the county’s Budget, Capital and Personnel committee, also said he expected the budget to pass the Tompkins legislature.

The State University of New York Board of Trustees must also approve the budget.