Upcoming Events

NYSAC Fall Seminar

September 13-15, 2017
Marriott Syracuse Downtown
Syracuse NY



Local Laws: Tow Trucks, Conflict Defenders, and Probation Fees

By Patrick Cummings, NYSAC Counsel

Economy and Public Policies Impact County Revenues, Expenditures

By Dave Lucas, NYSAC Director of Finance and Intergovernmental Relations

NY First Home Proposal: Keeping New Yorkers in New York

By Mike Kelly, Director of Government Affairs, New York State Association of REALTORS®, Inc.

What to Watch For in 2017: The Guide to Issues Impacting Counties

By the NYSAC Legislative Team

Succession Planning: A True Story of Transition in Local Government

By Ted Fafinski, Retired Town Supervisor and former Chair of the Ontario County Board of Supervisors


Ulster County Recognized For Environmental Results

Ulster County Executive Mike Hein recently announced that Ulster County was prominently featured in National Geographic December, 2016 edition. The county was selected for its “Dreaming Green” campaign that highlights some of the county's environmental achievements.

“The fact that Ulster County is featured in such an iconic and globally significant publication as National Geographic is extraordinary for our community, humbling for my administration and a source of great pride for everyone involved in our environmental initiatives. I firmly believe that we have a fundamental obligation to protect our pristine environment for all our citizens as well as for future generations. The work my administration has done in conjunction with our many partners, especially the Ulster County Legislature, has helped deliver responsible environmental stewardship as the only net carbon neutral county in the state plus the highest concentration of municipal electric vehicle charging stations and the purchasing of all our electricity from renewable sources,” said Ulster County Executive Mike Hein.

Ulster County's environmental initiatives include:

„„ Becoming the first and only county in New York State to become Net Carbon Neutral;
„„ Becoming the only county that gets 100% of our electricity from renewable resources;
„„ Converting the county's fleet to alternate fuel vehicles;
„„ Creating an electric vehicle charging network;
„„ Embarking on a Utility-Scale Solar Project at the Community College in Stone Ridge and at the former landfill site in the Town of Ulster with the potential to ultimately generate 20% of the county's electric;
„„ Creating a Green Campus at the Kingston Center of SUNY Ulster by using adaptive reuse and practical green building techniques which included installing a green wall, rain gardens and bio-retention areas, and using permeable pavers and asphalt in order to control stormwater runoff;
„„ Creating a world-class interconnected rail trail system; and
„„ County light fixtures were replaced with LEDs, bottled water was replaced with energy efficient water fountains, and environmentally friendly cleaning supplies used.

Some of the environmental awards received by Ulster County include:

„„ 2015 Recipient of a U.S. EPA Green Power Leadership Award;
„„ U.S. EPA continues to rank Ulster County as a leader in Green Power Use (most currently ranked 26th nationally among local governments);
„„ 2015 National Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties for County Resiliency and Sustainability for the “Carbon Footprint Reduction program";
„„ Awarded the Bronze Level Certified Climate Smart Community by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (one of three municipalities, and the only county, in the state to reach this level which is the highest that has been achieved through the program);
„„ The Hudson Valley Trail Network, which Ulster County hosts sections of, was the most recent inductee into the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's Rail-Trail Hall of Fame; and
„„ In the fall of 2016 the White House recognized Ulster County for its commitment to reducing Green House Gas Emissions with the deployment of alternate fuel vehicles as well as expanding the county's charging station network.

Introducing the NYSAC Women 's Leadership Roundtable

By Nicole Correia, NYSAC Communication Coordinator

Legislative Program

“This Legislative Program was developed by county delegates, and reflects the need for specific state or federal action. These priority issues have a direct impact on local governments, our businesses, and the New Yorkers who live in our communities.”
- NYSAC President William E. Cherry

Advocacy 101: Working with NYSAC to Communicate County Needs

By Kathryn Hohman, NYSAC Program Specialist

What Happens and When: NYSAC's Advocacy Timeline

NYSAC's mission is to represent, educate, advocate for, and serve member counties and the thousands of elected and appointed county officials who serve the public. The NYSAC Legislative Team works together to analyze legislation, develop lobbying action plans, and coordinate NYSAC's Legislative Agenda to advocate for counties with a unified voice. Each year, the NYSAC Legislative Team follows a timeline of budget and legislative work to be accomplished on behalf of our members. The timeline aligns with the NYS budget process and legislative calendar.
The Legislative Team also works closely with the 13 NYSAC Standing Committees (Agriculture; Children with Special Needs; Economic Development, Environment and Rural Affairs; Intergovernmental Affairs; Legislative; Medicaid & Human Services; Native American Affairs & Gaming; Public Employee Relations; Public Health & Mental Health; Public Safety; Resolutions; Taxation & Finance; and Transportation & Public Works). These member-chaired committees develop, discuss and adopt the series of resolutions that go before the full county delegation, and then become the basis of NYSAC's legislative program, including our legislative agenda for the coming year.
Every September, the whole NYSAC team, the 13 NYSAC Standing Committees, and our general membership convene at the NYSAC Fall Seminar. During this conference, standing committees are tasked with issuing, reviewing and passing resolutions that represent the membership's interests and offer practical solutions.
Once the resolutions are passed through their respective committees and adopted by the membership, the Legislative Team organizes and identifies the priorities to create the coming year's Legislative Program. Once the platform is complete, the Legislative Team identifies budget priorities and non-budget legislative priorities. NYSAC expands on both the budget and legislative priorities and provides supporting material and data for each item. We then schedule meetings with representatives from the New York State Division on Budget (DOB) to share our members' budget-related requests.
January marks the beginning of the New York State Legislative Session. The Session begins the first Wednesday after the first Monday of the New Year. The opening is usually marked by the Governor's delivery of the "State of the State Message" in Albany. This year, Governor Cuomo delivered his “State of the State Address” in regional presentations throughout the state. These messages generally outline the priorities and programs the Governor wants the Legislature to address during the year ahead. The Governor must submit his Executive Budget Proposal to the Legislature, along with the related appropriation, revenue, and budget bills, by the third week in January (or by February 1st in a gubernatorial election year).
Once the Governor's Executive Budget Proposal is released, NYSAC's Legislative Team identifies key issues for counties within, or excluded from, the Executive Budget Proposal.
The Legislative Team then develops a lobbying plan for each issue. This involves analyzing the bills, obtaining county
feedback and data, and organizing strategic meetings with the Legislature, staff, DOB, and the Governor's Office.

If there are any major county-involved items within (or excluded from) the Executive Budget Proposal but not part of our Legislative Platform, the Legislative Team drafts resolutions to be presented to the proper standing committee at the annual Legislative Conference at the end of January/beginning of February.
While the budget process continues, new bills are introduced daily by members of the Legislature. The Legislative Team reviews daily introductions, reviews committee reports, and responds accordingly with memos in support or opposition.
At the conclusion of the NYSAC Legislative Conference, the Legislative Team sends the adopted resolutions to the
Governor, Senate and Assembly leadership, each member of the Legislature, agency heads, Congressional Membership and any/all appropriate staff.
During February, the Legislature creates Legislative Budget,Standing Committees and commences Joint Legislative Budget Hearings. The Legislative TNYeam prepares testimony to be presented at the Local Government Hearing and coordinates meeting with the Senate and Assembly leadership and staff.
The Governor generally releases 21-Day Amendments and 30-Day Amendments to the Executive Budget Proposal bills by the end of February, depending on when initial bills are introduced. Once the 30-Day Amendments are released, the Senate and Assembly release their own budget proposals. The Legislative Team identifies key issues for counties within or excluded from the Legislature's budget proposals and revises the lobbying plan for each issue as needed.
The Executive State Budget must be passed by April 1. Upon adoption of the final State Budget, the Legislative Team immediately prepares a full analysis of the final State Budget to provide to NYSAC members.

Budget priorities that were not completed in the final State Budget are transitioned into non-budget legislative priority items. The Legislative Team begins their lobbying efforts for the Legislature on counties' key no- budget priorities.
As the session concludes at the end of June, the Legislative Team assembles analyses of all legislation that has passed both houses and measures each bill's impact on individual member counties. Once the analysis is complete, the Legislative Team compiles the “Passed Both Houses” report, which is sent to NYSAC members. This report explains all the key items from the final State Budget along with a description of all the bills that have an impact on counties. Our team continues to update the report through the end of the calendar year.
Once bills are transmitted to the Governor's office, NYSAC drafts letters to the Governor's Counsel to report counties' support or opposition to the pending legislation.