October 18, 2021

More county layoffs likely unavoidable

Retirement offer could keep job cuts to a minimum

Cortland County will look at laying off staff, although exactly how many won’t be known until possibly October, according to County Administrator Rob Corpora.

“I want to get through the retirement incentives first and see what all is needed and keep it as minimal as possible,” Corpora said Tuesday during a Budget and Finance Committee meeting.

Corpora also said there was a good response to the county’s retirement incentive program, which was established Aug. 27 and allows for employees to retire and receive a one-time payment of $10,000 if they met certain criteria. People are allowed to request that incentive until Sept. 17.

Talks on layoffs come as Corpora continues to discuss and meet with department heads over their 2021 budgets as he creates a tentative budget for the Legislature to review in early October. Corpora had previously told legislators that the county was looking at a $2 million loss in sales tax revenue — it got $17.4 million in 2019 — and an estimated $3.4 million loss in state aid, about 20%.

The county laid off up to 75 of its 600 employees from May 4 to July 31 to try to ease some financial stress.

Legislator Sandra Price (D-Harford, Virgil) said she hopes the layoffs don’t take place weeks before Christmas.

“I’ve been here when the layoffs have happened just before Christmas and it’s too sad,” she said.

Committee Chairman George Wagner (R-Marathon, Lapeer) asked if department heads were working to lower their budgets.

“Many of them have come in lower than 2020,” Corpora said.

Corpora said there is hope the budget, in concert with the passage of various resolutions by the Legislature, will help the county close the gap in the budget due to the loss in revenue.

Corpora also said there would be another resolution in the coming week that would help the county financially, although he did not elaborate more on what the resolution involved.