Weekly Wire Week Ending March 4, 2016

NYSAC Presents
NYSAC Advocates for Counties' Concerns
Last week was a busy one at the State Capitol. Thousands of advocates descended on Albany seeking support for their budget priorities, including farming, libraries, MTA, pharmacies, and other purposes.
Your NYSAC Legislative team was there meeting with Senate and Assembly leadership and fiscal committee staff to discuss the major spending issues that will impact counties. Those include: community college funding, indigent defense, 911 surcharge funding, and bank settlement funds for infrastructure.
NYSAC provided state budget experts with budget briefing documents that detail county positions on these and other items in the proposed State Budget. Those fact sheets can be found at
County Leaders Urged to Contact State Representatives 
The 2016-17 State Budget presents a unique opportunity for the State Legislature to build upon recent mandate relief efforts in support of counties and local taxpayers. Counties project our tax cap will be nearly zero in 2017 (.3%), and maintaining the tax cap under these circumstances will be difficult.
Counties have worked hard to hold down local taxes and recently submitted more than $2 billion in government efficiency and shared service plans to the Executive as required under the property tax freeze initiative. In addition, county governments are significantly leaner today than just before the Great Recession, with the total county workforce down by more than 10 percent. (Some counties are down more than 30 percent.) Many counties have privatized functions, consolidated internal operations, and last year more than 40 percent of counties held their tax rate flat or cut it. With your help we can continue these efforts in support of local taxpayers.
County leaders are encouraging state lawmakers to fight for:
  1. A takeover of county indigent defense costs
  2. Increased community college funding
  3. Lowering and expanding the E 9-1-1 surcharge
  4. Targeting bank settlement funds for infrastructure
View and download NYSAC's fact sheets on these issues.
Counties and Drinking Water Quality: A NYSAC Report
Concerns about drinking water quality and contamination are rising in communities across New York State and the nation. In response, the NYSAC released a report that addresses the role that counties play in the drinking water systems across the state, and recommends a more streamlined process for notifying the public when EPA violations are identified in our drinking water systems.
The report, Preserving and Protecting our Drinking Water, is available on the NYSAC website.
"It is critical that we know, now more than ever, the sources of our drinking water, the vulnerabilities in public water systems, and the roles that different levels of government play in ensuring our collective safety," said NYSAC President William E. Cherry, Schoharie County Treasurer.
State Update
One House Budgets Pending
The Senate and Assembly are expected to release their one house spending plans in the next week.  These could take the form of bills or resolutions that establish the major priorities of each house. 
State lawmakers have agreed there is $225 million more revenue than the Cuomo administration projected for the end of this fiscal year and the coming one, which begins April 1, according to an official report.
Once these one house measures are released and passed by their respective chambers, legislative leaders will name Budget Conference Committees which negotiate aspects of the budget still in question. 
Conference committee meetings could begin as early as the week of March 16th, leading up to final negotiations and a budget agreement due by April 1st.
On March 1, the Governor announced the New NY Broadband Program's Consolidated Funding Application Portal, which is now accepting applications for the Request for Proposals issued on Jan. 8.
Funding recipients will be chosen through a "reverse-auction" methodology, which awards projects to bidders seeking the lowest amount of state investment. Phase 1 of the RFP Grant Guidelines and Application Questions are available on the New York State Broadband Program Office's website. Applications may now be submitted through the New York State CFA Portal, and are due Friday, April 15, 2016 at 4:30 p.m. Potential applicants should review the Guidelines and questions, located here, to prepare their Phase 1 applications.
Applicants must be able to complete projects by December 31, 2018. Subsequent rounds of funding will be announced throughout 2016.
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Erie County Exec. Named to National Task Force on Opioid Epidemic
The National League of Cities (NLC) and the National Association of Counties (NACo) announced the members of a new joint national task force to address our nation's opioid and heroin abuse crisis. The National City-County Task Force on the Opioid Epidemic is comprised of city and county leaders from across the country who will aim to enhance awareness, facilitate peer exchanges and identify sound policy and partnership solutions.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz has been named to the committee.
Counties and cities have recognized that the opioid and heroin abuse crisis has reached epidemic proportions. Drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, with more than 47,000 lethal drug overdoses in 2014. This epidemic is driven largely by overdose deaths related to prescription pain relievers (18,893) and deaths related to heroin (10,574).
The task force will take the following actions:
  • Conduct at least two national dialogues where city and county elected leaders will explore the comprehensive issues related to this crisis, growing trends and proven responses;
  • Develop educational opportunities for counties and cities through special forums, educational workshops, webinars and other opportunities; and
  • Publish a national summary report of city-county collaboration, focusing on community prevention and overdose response, effective treatment options, public safety enforcement and supply reduction.
As part of NACo's Legislative Conference, NACo and NLC announced the creation of the task force on Feb. 22.  Click here to watch a video of the joint announcement:  
See more at:
Training & Funding Opportunitiesbooks
Webinars for Newly-Elected County Officials
Join us on March 3rd for the next webinar in our special 4-part training series for newly elected and appointed county officials. 
The webinar on March 3rd will discuss the topic of "Ethics in Government" and will be presented by Mark Stevens of the legal division of the Office of the NYS Comptroller. 
The webinar will provide an overview of codes and other related legal requirements of county elected officials under state and local ethics laws, policies and procedures. A discussion of proper ethical conduct by county officials, above and beyond legal requirements, will be included to give county officials a better understanding of what is meant by the term "Good Government Ethics."
For more information and to register, visit
To view parts 1, 2 and 3 of the webinar series for Newly Elected County Officials, visit NYSAC's webinar archives.
Solar Power on Landfills: Case Studies and Lessons Learned Webinar
On Thursday, Mar. 10, 2016, 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM the Department of Environmental Conservation will hold a Climate Smart Communities webinar and will provide an overview of the special considerations involved when installing solar power on landfills. Speakers will describe the resources available to support these projects from the US EPA, NYSERDA, and DEC. Webinar participants will also learn about case studies from the growing number municipalities in New York State who have successfully installed solar power on their landfills and are thereby reducing their carbon footprint.
Speakers will include Maureen Leddy of NYSERDA's NY-Sun program and Clarkstown Supervisor George Hoehmann who was an integral part of the team that installed a 13-acre, 2.3MW solar field on the Town's landfill.
 For information or to register for this webinar please see click here!
NYS Assoc. of County Coroners and Medical Examiners Conference
NYSACCME will hold their Spring 2016 Conference from Friday, March 18 - Sunday, March 20, 2016 at the Harbor Hotel in Watkins Glen.  The agenda and registration information can be found at The conference topic is Fire Related Deaths.  With legislation already introduced [again] in the form of Senate Bill 6251 regarding minimum training for newly elected or appointed Coroners, an 8 hour Coroner 101 training class will be held on Friday, March 18.
NYMIR Playground Equipment and Inspection Training
The New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal will be holding a playground equipment training program on Monday, March 21, 2016 from 8:30 am to noon in the Town of Clarence auditorium.
The training will focus on reviewing playground inspection and documentation designed to avoid or reduce litigation against your municipality. They will cover legal matters related to recreation programs, use of facilities, athletic participation waivers and other related topics. Issues surrounding background checks will also be discussed along with case law and other legal principles associated with municipal parks and playgrounds.
Please RSVP by March 17 to: Erin Barilla -518-437-1171 ext. 318 or via email
US Communities to Host Cooperative Purchasing Summits
Strategic sourcing summits are free, half-day educational seminars for public officials to learn about the program, meet the U.S. Communities program managers, and hear from several suppliers about products and solutions and the best overall government pricing that may be of interest to your counties.
Friday, March 18, 10:00am - 1:30pm (Complimentary Lunch Included)
Nassau BOCES (Garden City, NY)
Address and Registration Link can be found here.
Wednesday, April 20, 10:00am - 2:00pm (Complimentary Lunch Included)
New York State School Boards Association Rita M. Lashway Conference Center (Latham, NY)
Address and Registration Link can be found here.