County Delegates Convened for 2017 Legislative Conference
From January 30th through February 1st, delegates from all 57 counties and the City of New York convened at the Legislative Conference of the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC). Hundreds of county officials attended meetings, educational forums, keynote addresses and state budget presentations over the course of the three-day conference.
The county delegation received an insightful assessment of the state's economic conditions, a presentation on the sobering numbers of New Yorkers being lost to opioid addiction, and a stirring speech about the Governor's proposal to have county leaders convene local governments to develop a local referendum to share services.
To see a video of NYSAC President William E. Cherry's remarks to the county delegation, visit the NYSAC TV channel at https://youtu.be/bn2rnha3-_s.
Over the three-day period, county delegates also discussed and adopted a series of 41 resolutions on timely state and federal issues that impact counties, including 9-1-1 emergency services, highway funding, heroin addiction, Medicaid administration, preschool special education, early voting, state cost shifts, economic development, and Internet sales taxes.
The full resolutions packet is available here: http://www.nysac.org/resolutions, and will be to counties, state lawmakers, and Governor Andrew Cuomo early next week.
NYSAC Thanks Sponsors and Exhibitors.
NYSAC extends our sincere thanks to the sponsors and exhibitors who work with our counties and helped to make this conference successful. www.nysac.org/files/LC17%20ThankYouExhibitorsSponsors.pdf
NYSAC Takes a Position on Shared Services Referendum Proposal
"NYSAC supports shared services and has been ever vigilant in the search for increased operational efficiencies at all levels of government. Our goal is the reduction of property taxes in New York State, but in order for a realistic discussion to take place, school taxes and how public education is funded must be a part of the solution. School taxes account for approximately 65% of local property tax bills, and county taxes account for about 20% of that annual tax bill. Furthermore, of the 20% county share, NY State mandates are responsible for almost all of that tax bill. Shared services and consolidation efforts, while laudable, are simply not the answer to the much larger issue of high property taxes in this state. Any solution to that problem must include the addressing of school taxes and unfunded state mandates. NYSAC therefore rejects the consolidation plan and referendum proposal as presented by the Governor as being incomplete in its scope," according to an excerpt in NYSAC's adopted resolution urging state legislative leaders to focus their property tax relief efforts on fiscal reforms that will lead to permanent and historic property tax reduction.
While counties will continue to aggressively pursue improved government operations, they do believe that more can always be done and we should never settle for the status quo. To this end, NYSAC and member counties look forward to working with the Governor and Legislature to identify the appropriate mechanism to foster greater cooperation amongst the local governments.
NYSAC Testifies on the Budget, Raising the Age of Criminal Responsibility, and Local Government Restructuring Incentives
NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario presented testimony to a Joint Legislative Budget Hearing on Local Government on Monday January 30. For a copy of the testimony, click here. To see a video recording of Mr. Acquario's testimony, visit the NYSAC TV YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8lEKuUk61c.
Mr. Acquario was accompanied on February 6
th by two members of the Council of Probation Administrators; Rocco Pozzi, Commissioner of Probation at Westchester County and Robert Iusi, Probation Director for Warren County will present testimony to the Senate Children & Families Committee and Senate Crime Victims, Crime, & Corrections Committees to discuss the Governor's Raise the Age budget proposal.
On January 23rd, NYSAC presented testimony to the NYS Assembly Committees on Local Governments and Cities on the series of local government shared service incentive programs offered by the state. To see a recording of the testimony, visit NYSAC TV at www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLSQLQ_d9eU. For a copy of the testimony, click here.
It his verbal testimony, Mr. Acquario referenced the government efficiency plans submitted by counties in 2015 for a total property tax savings of more than $882 million. Those plans are accumulating savings through county fiscal year 2019. For a copy NYSAC's 2015 Report on Government Efficiency Programs, click here.
County Real Property Directors Held 2017 Winter Conference
Last week, the NYS Association of County Directors of Real Property Tax Services held their annual winter conference in Albany N.Y. This conference was led by their president, Cattaraugus County Real Property Tax Director Daniel Martonis. Tax Directors from over 50 counties met for continual professional training and idea sharing. Workshops included training on tax appraisal challenges for unique properties such as drug stores and condos as well as a seminar on modern municipal revaluation.