Counties in the News, December 5, 2016

Monday's news from counties across the state
Indigent defense program reforms still to be considered by Governor Cuomo
Among the 25 bills that have passed the both houses of the State Legislature that have not yet been sent to the Governor for his consideration is a state takeover of county indigent defense costs. The bipartisan legislation S.8114/A.10706, sponsored by Senate Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco and Assembly Member Pat Fahy. 

This bill accomplishes three objectives. It provides real and meaningful mandate relief for counties and property taxpayers. In 2015, the total local costs for indigent defense was $389. This bill includes a phased in 7-year state takeover of public defense costs that will reduce costs locally and lower taxes. It also protects taxpayers from costly and unnecessary lawsuits against New York's public defense program. An ACLU lawsuit was settled in 2014 with an agreement to expand indigent defense services for the five counties and provided state funding for placing case load caps on public defenders and providing legal counsel on first arraignment. This settlement created an inequitable system of indigent defense where the five counties provide expanded services funded by the state and the other 52 counties are left with their existing property tax-funded public defense system. This bill fixes the program for the 52 counties left out of the settlement, improving legal defense services for the poor in all counties in the state. 
NYSAC Weekly Wire for the December 5, 2016

Small-town officials: Cuomo's ethics rule misplaced

County Leaders, Clergy & Justice Leaders, Legal Experts Convene in Support of Legislation That Improves Public Defense, Provides Mandate Relief

County budgets grapple with weak sales tax growth

Downtown Riverhead project, Peconic Crossing, gets $350K from county

Holiday Light Show returns to Suffolk County

Sullivan seeks federal funding for Brownfield assessment

Rockland Legislature to vote Tuesday on changes to Day's $674M budget

Dutchess legislature to hold public hearing on county budget Monday

Ulster agency plans hearing on tax policy for senior, dormitory housing projects

Draft Ulster County transportation plan focuses on human services

NY Comptroller Issues 'County of Ulster Property Tax Exemptions' Report

Rensselaer County legislators keep 2017 budget under tax cap

Saratoga County expected to approve tax cap override

Albany County Cares about our Veterans Collection Effort Delivers

St. Lawrence County attorney heading to Albany to urge Cuomo to sign Justice Equality Act that could save county millions

Franklin County Legislature approves $103.3 million budget for 2017

JCIDA approves UTEP, loan and the new JCLDC vice chairman

Comptroller sites taxpayers savings from refinancing debt

Local business leaders discuss opioid abuse in Broome County (Video)

New Gaming Floor at Tioga Downs Now Open to Public

County Receives $50K to Study Law Enforcement Consolidation

Supporting communities: Genesee County's Cornell Cooperative Extension will observe 100th birthday

Fitch Appointed to Vacant Yates Legislature Seat

Projected opioid overdose deaths down (Video)

Legislature ratifies snowplow contract with local municipalities