As Cayuga County lawmakers work to finalize the Budget 2024some notable issues will be discussed in the coming weeks.
For years, the county budget has included funding for the Cayuga Economic Development Agency. The 2023 budget included $375,000 to support CEDA operations.
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A work group trained to assess CEDA and the agency’s board of directors underwent a leadership shakeup.
However, lawmaker Robert Shea proposed a different idea in September. He proposed redirecting CEDA funding to the Cayuga County Industrial Development Agency.
Cayuga County Legislator David Gould announced during a recent budget workshop that he would call a special meeting “within the next week or two.” CEDA and CCIDA will be invited to make presentations at the meeting.
The county’s proposed budget includes $375,000 for economic development, but lawmakers must decide whether CEDA or IDA will get that money.
One of the most discussed topics during the budget workshops was funding for the Cayuga County Sheriff’s Office to purchase a new boat.
Cayuga County Sheriff Brian Schenck would like to purchase a new boat to replace one of his agency’s four vessels. The boat will cost about $200,000, but matching funds are available from the state. The actual cost to the town will be approximately $100,000.
The debate among lawmakers is over how to pay for a new boat. Some favored taking money from the county’s fund balance. But there are also unused funds from the American Rescue Plan. One question, however, is whether the county could use that federal funding to purchase the boat while still receiving matching funds from the state.
There has been no final decision on whether or not to purchase the boat, but it is clear that several lawmakers support the purchase. The hardest part is knowing how to pay for it.
Shea surprised colleagues with a new proposal during a budget workshop. He requested $500,000 for the Cayuga County Public Utilities Agency, or CCPUSA.
The agency’s mission, according to its website, is to “create opportunities for Cayuga County residents and businesses to access clean, affordable, renewable energy.”
Shea’s argument for funding is that residents don’t see the benefits of solar and wind projects, so he wants “seed capital” for CCPUSA to support energy projects in the county.
But some lawmakers questioned how the request would be funded — Shea said he didn’t care where the money came from — and the CCPUSA’s apparent lack of transparency. Legislator Christina Calarco asked about the agency’s meeting minutes. On its website, the most recent minutes date from 2019.
Shea withdrew his motion, but Gould asked him to bring documents to a future meeting describing how the CCPUSA would use the funding.
Political reporter Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.