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County Leaders Unite to Fight the Heroin and Opioid Abuse Epidemic

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone hosted a heroin and opioid abuse event today to offer a prescription for local action to help combat addiction in Long Island.
 
Bellone welcomed Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz to discuss the findings of the National Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Abuse and to discuss policy and partnership solutions that have been recommended by the task force. Poloncarz is the New York State local government representative on the national task force. 
 
The Long Island event brought together dozens of legislators, law enforcement, mental health, health care, and addiction prevention officials from Nassau and Suffolk counties.
 
“We will have these regional forums across the state. They are designed to discuss prevention and education strategies that can help to stem the tide of drug, especially opioid abuse in local communities,” said Erie County Executive Poloncarz.
 
“The heroin and opioid abuse epidemic is impacting too many families in our communities, and it cannot and should not be ignored,” said County Executive Bellone. “This is an opportunity for local government officials, law enforcement, and health care specialists to come together to see what's working and what needs to happen to address this issue now.  With overdose rates continuing to rise, we must act now.”
 
The local meeting is part of a nationwide effort sponsored by the National Association of Counties (NACo) and the National League of Cities to focus on strategies and programs that aim to prevent individuals from becoming dependent on prescription painkillers and heroin. As the number of drug-related deaths rise across the U.S., these local leaders are redoubling their efforts to boost prevention, designed to keep individuals from becoming drug dependent in the first place.
 
“This collaborative approach by local leaders is intended to bolster our respective efforts to mitigate the opioid crisis and strengthen the safety and security of our neighborhoods. These regional dialogues are designed to encourage community leaders to discuss the issues related to this crisis, growing trends, and proven responses,” said Matt Chase, executive director of the National Association of Counties.
 
“As county leaders, we are entrusted with preserving the health and safety of our communities.  It is our duty to do whatever we can to help break the cycles of addiction, overdose, and death that have taken hold in so many corners of this state,” said Schoharie County Treasurer William E. Cherry, president of the New York State Association of Counties, which is coordinating the regional events across the state. 

NYSAC Release: 4th quarter sales taxes continue slow growth

January 13, 2017
 
The 4th quarter 2016 sales tax revenue data released today shows continues the trend of slower sales tax growth compared to the years leading up to the Great Recession, according to the New York State Association of Counties.
 
“It is difficult at this time to precisely explain the slower growth in many counties.  While Internet sales continue to outpace brick and mortar storefront sales, gasoline prices were about 12 percent lower in 2016 compared to 2015.  Meanwhile, stagnant wage growth and higher costs of health care and housing could be placing downward pressure on retail sales, and therefore sales tax collections,” said NYSAC President William E. Cherry, Schoharie County Treasurer.
When comparing sales tax collections in the 4th Quarter 2016 to the 4th Quarter of 2015:
  • 20 counties had negative receipts,
  • the percent increase for all counties was +1.9%, and
  • the average change per county was +1.2%.
 
When comparing sales tax collections for the full year of 2016 to the full year of 2015:
  • 18 counties had negative receipts,
  • the percent increase for all counties was +1.4%, and
  • the average change per county was 1.1%.
 
These trends well documented in a recent report by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who noted: “local sales tax revenue growth fell from 3.6 percent to 1.8 percent in the first nine months of 2016 from the same period a year earlier. While revenue collections varied by region, counties are particularly reliant on sales tax revenues.”
Counties use sales and property tax revenue to provide road and bridge maintenance, 9-1-1 emergency dispatch services, sheriff road patrol, restaurant inspections, veterans services, worker training, addiction prevention counseling, and senior programs such as meals on wheels.  In addition, counties are required by the State fund $7.5 billion of the state's Medicaid program. Other mandated responsibilities include safety net, pre-school special education, early intervention, public defense, probation, youth detention, child welfare, and pensions. In total, these nine state mandates consume 99% of the aggregate county property taxes collected statewide. All other county programs are funded through sales tax revenues.
 

 


 

NYSAC Statement on the State of our Counties

January 10, 2017

Free Tuition Not Best Use of Tax Money

Editorial from The Daily Gazette, 1/4/17

 

NYSAC Statement on the veto of Public Defense Mandate Relief Act

Statement by NYSAC President William E. Cherry on the Governor's Veto of the Public Defense Mandate Relief Act

Indigent Legal Services Bill: Statement from NYSAC Executive Director

This legislation would ensure legal representation for the poor and help reduce local property taxes.

Old TVs and Computers Impacting Local Property Tax Bills

Old TVs and Computers Impacting Local Property Tax Bills
 

ADVOCATES CALL FOR DEDICATED RESOURCES FOR 9-1-1 TECHNOLOGY UPGRADES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                       Contact:              Mark Lavigne
October 11, 2016                                                                                                                      518.465.1473
                                                                                                                                                      mlavigne@nysac.org
 
 
A statewide coalition of advocates comprised of county leaders, emergency planners, and first responders assembled in Albany today to raise the profile of a widely held concern that New York's
9-1-1 emergency communication call centers need more dedicated resources to address escalating call volumes with aging systems.
 
The effort called Rescuing 911, was publicized at the Albany Marriott where members of the Atlantic Chapter of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials and New York State's 9-1-1 Coordinators Association gathered for sessions on the use of enhanced emergency communications systems, including Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911) technologies.
 
Rescuing 911 has the backing and support of a wide range of local officials including county executives, sheriffs, legislators, supervisors, 9-1-1 coordinators, firefighters, emergency managers, and other first responders.
 
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple, a member of the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) Standing Committee on Public Safety, shares his perspective on this important initiative: “Our 9-1-1 emergency systems have come a long way in 50 years, and Next Generation technologies will allow us to better pinpoint the location of a caller and the emergency as well as translate text messages, which will help keep all New Yorker's safer.”
 
Sheriff Apple coordinates a system serving all of Albany County that responds to 49 fire departments, 22 EMS squads, and 15 local and state law enforcement departments.
 
“Having a reliable and consistent state funding stream for investing in 9-1-1- services is critical for Albany County and for every other county that provides emergency dispatch services for New Yorkers,” Apple continued.
 
John Merklinger, director of the City of Rochester 9-1-1 call center, said: “Last year, millions of New Yorkers instinctively dialed 9-1-1 when faced with a fire, accident or emergency. Increasingly, those calls are coming on mobile devices – everyone in the community from senior citizens on the board walk to young people on a school bus. These are the most difficult and important calls to trace.”
 
Merklinger coordinates a system serving all of Monroe County that responds to 46 fire departments, 32 EMS squads, and 16 police departments.
 
The federal government has recognized the need to adapt these new technologies and they are requiring states and localities to adopt NG911 standards.  Equipment and technology costs associated with New York's NG911 services are expected to approach $2.2 billion over the next 10 years. 
 
“Unless and until counties have access to a dedicated revenue stream to help pay for the system upgrades and new communications equipment, NG911 will be out of reach for many areas of the state. That's what this campaign is all about,” said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario. “In order to meet the expectations of the millions of New Yorkers who are calling and texting 9-1-1 from their cell phone, we need to upgrade our systems.”
 
In the 1960's emergency phone calls came through dedicated phone lines into the homes, and workers would then notify the fire department. As these emergency call services were consolidated under 9-1-1, the function was taken over by the state police. Today, most of the state's 9-1-1 emergency communication systems are operated and funded at the county level. However in the absence of additional resources many counties will be unable to finance public safety upgrades and equipment without a more dedicated revenue stream.
 
In the Capital Region, Rensselaer County, which spans from the east side of the Hudson River to the Massachusetts boarder, County Executive Kathleen Jimino has been a vocal advocate for Rescuing911 – and has appeared in a one-minute video outlining the campaign.
 
“Rescuing 911 grew out of a grass roots discussion driven by a fundamental concern about public safety,” said NYSAC President William E. Cherry, the Schoharie County Treasurer. “In every corner of the state, from rural and remote communities to our inner cities we must be prepared to answer the call.”
 
A Twitter handle – @Rescuing911— and a YouTube Channel have been created to allow the public to engage in the effort. To learn more about the initiative, visit: http://www.nysac.org/rescuing911 .
 
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The New York State Association of Counties is a bipartisan municipal association serving the counties of New York State. Organized in 1925, NYSAC's mission is to represent, educate and advocate for member counties. www.nysac.org

SHERIFF RANDY BOWER AND ORLEANS COUNTY PLAY ROLE IN RESCUING 911 BY CALLING FOR DEDICATED RESOURCES

The New York-based Rescuing 911 campaign is intended to raise the profile of a widely held concern that the state's emergency communication systems need more dedicated resources to address call volume and communication technologies. 

Media Advisory: County Executives To Hold Press Conference Opposing Federal Families First Bill that Puts New York Last

Today at 1:30, Niagara Falls  Conference & Event Center
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