October 22, 2021

City of Cortland $21.3M 2021 budget plan raises taxes 1%, cuts spending

Cortland’s $21.3 million proposed budget for 2021 would raises taxes 1%, even as it cuts spending about 1% from the $21.4 million 2020 budget.

However, city leaders, in discussing the plan at a common council meeting, said they may still need to exceed a 2% property tax cap.

Mayor Brian Tobin said challenges the city faces because of the coronavirus pandemic “will continue into next year”.

Actions the city is considering:

Encouraging retirements, then replacing those people with new workers at a lower wage.

Adding a stormwater assessment based on stream frontage that could raise $120,000.

Looking for new funding sources for Department of Public Works projects, like drainage work being done on Owego Street.

Absent federal help — Congress is still debating economic stimulation packages — Alderman John Bennett Jr. (D-4th Ward) said that residents may not receive services they have in the past — like repairing lawns in the spring from winter plow damage.

“Without knowing what might happen after Election Day, the possibility of maybe being helped out by federal funds, I think our residents may have to realize that every single thing is up in the air,” he said.

Public hearings for the budget and a tax levy override, which was not finalized but opened for a possibility, were scheduled for the council’s Nov. 3 meeting.