Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How Much Does Cornell Cooperative Extension Cost You?

I thought that it would be interesting to look at the effective cost per household of some of the county budget items in question this year. I went to the county budget posted online and extracted relevant numbers for yearly operating costs (2010 actual vs. 2011 projected) for Cornell Cooperative Extension and for the 6 county nature centers scheduled to be closed.

If you look at actual property tax revenues in the proposed $1.6B budget (county tax revenue = $548 million), then CCE's desired budget of $990k = .18% of property taxes. If an typical  household pays $4000 in county taxes (assuming an average local tax bill is $20k of which, according to the county budget report, 15-20% is county taxes), then the effective cost is $7.20 per household for support of CCE programs. If local tax averages are DOUBLE ($40k), the effective cost per household is still under $15 for CCE.

A similar calculation for operating costs (including personnel) for the 6 nature centers to be closed results in a net cost savings of 64 cents for an average household. (Effective cost per household = $2.16 for 2011 vs. $2.80 for 2010.) This is based upon total operating costs of $384,900 for 2010 and $297,400 for 2011.

These sample calculations do not include all of the proposed Parks & Rec cuts - specifically the Deer Management research program. At around $60k annual (field biologist's salary and misc expenses), this program works out to be 40 cents per household.

A similar cost analysis could be done to reveal the $/household impacts of other items in the budget. Roughly, every $30k in budget costs results in about 20 cents per household.

These are rough calcs, but with numbers such as these per household, the value equation of such environmental and educational services becomes obvious. The cuts are penny-wise and pound foolish.


Please contact the County Executive and the Board of Legislators about the importance of these services and your willingness as a county tax payer to support continuation of such services (all total - at a cost of under $20 per household).

Schedule of Public Meetings on the Budget: 

Wednesday November 30 at 7pm
Somers High School
120 Primrose Street, Lincolndale

Tuesday December 6 at 7pm
Westchester County Center
198 Central Ave, White Plains, NY 10606.

Come early and register to speak up!

Call or write to County Executive Astorino at
and let him know that the Nature Centers, Parks, and wildlife habitat are important to you.

Call or write to your County Legislator - here is a page which lists all of them and links to contact info (email, phone) for each of the legislators.

Spread the word by sharing this email! 

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