Weekly Wire Ending March 18, 2016

Budget News, Federal Update, Training, Contact Your State Reps
NYSAC Presents
Save the Date: 50th Annual County Finance School financial_accounting.jpg
May 18-20, 2016 at the Sheraton Syracuse University Hotel
Each May, NYSAC partners with the Office of the State Comptroller and the New York State County Treasurers and Finance Officers Association to present the Annual County Finance School.  County Finance School offers a unique opportunity to learn the ins and outs of county-specific financial regulations, procedures, challenges, and solutions.  County Finance School features a number of workshops that are CPE-accredited by the Office of the State Comptroller and the NYS Dept. of Education for CPAs. 

Write an Article for NYSAC News
Counties are involved in preserving and promoting our natural resources, from agriculture to clean energy, from parks to waterways, from recycling to recreation.
The next issue of the NYSAC News magazine will focus on the many ways counties work with New York's varied natural resources. We're now accepting articles about innovative county programs, services, and solutions related to New York's land and water. Articles should be 750-1,000 words and can be sent to Nicole Correia ( by April 15.  View recent issues of NYSAC News magazine.
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.
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
For the latest on these issues, view 

NYSAC's 2016-17 State Budget Fact Sheets (click issue title to view each fact sheet): 

·        9-1-1 Surcharge
·        Agriculture
·        Bank Settlements
·        Bond Allocation
·        Community Colleges
·        District Attorney Salaries
·        Early Intervention funding
·        Elections
·        End Cost Shifts
·        Environment
·        Government Consolidation
·        Indigent Defense
·        Organ Donation
·        Public Safety
All of NYSAC's 2016 budget advocacy materials can be found at
State Update
Ongoing Budget Negotiations
On March 15th, legislative leaders appointed Joint Legislative Budget Committees charged with negotiating some of the differences between the three versions of the State Budget. Meanwhile state leaders Governor Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Flanagan, and Assembly Speaker Heastie are expected to meet regularly to discuss budget positions and move the process toward final budget passage, which is expected on or before the April 1st start of the State Fiscal Year.  (Click here to view the full list of the Conference Committees.) We can expect the release of table targets in the coming days.  
NYSAC has provided county leaders with an interim budget report highlighting the county impact of each respective budget proposal.
NYSAC continues to meet with state lawmakers to advocate for agreements that address county concerns and demonstrate their commitment to property taxpayers and local governments.
Expansions to the Medical Marijuana Program
The Medical Marijuana program has been up and running for over 2 months now.  With the growth of the program some legislators are looking to expand it. The Assembly included in their one house budget proposal language that would allow for five additional registered organizations that manufacture medical marihuana by January 1, 2017, require the Commissioner of Health to seek to provide dispensaries in underserved areas, and require the Commissioner of Health to consider and give appropriate weight to applicants involved in the initial review process.
Senator Savino recently introduced three pieces of legislation co-sponsored by Assemblyman Gottfried, the bills would amend the current law to:
  • allow nurse practitioners to prescribe medical marijuana. As it's written, the law only allows physicians to prescribe the drug,
  • allow medical marihuana to be used to treat additional diseases and conditions and to remove the limit of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), 
  • Set up an Advisory Committee to work with the Department of Health Commissioner in regards to making regulations for the Compassionate Care Act 
Mixed Martial Arts to Pass the Assembly 
The Governor included in his budget proposal included language to authorize the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) to regulate professional mixed martial arts (MMA) in a manner similar to how NYSAC regulates professional boxing, wrestling, and sparring.
The Senate also included the Governor's proposal in their One House Budget Bills  and the Assembly did not.   On February 1 the Senate passed S5949A sponsored by Senate Griffo that would allow for the establishment of protocols for combative sports; authorizes mixed martial arts events in this state. Although the Assembly did not support the Governor's Budget item, Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle, who has sponsored the bill for several years stated that he is confident that more than three-quarters of our members in the majority support the bill, will but put on the floor for a vote the week of March 21.
Federal Updateamerican_flag.jpg

NYSAC Joins Call with the White House on POWER+ Plan and the State of Appalachian Economy
On March 16, 2016, NYSAC Executive Director Stephen Acquario, along with many elected officials and county representatives from the Appalachian Region, participated in a conference call with the White House for a briefing on President Obama's proposed POWER Plus (POWER+) Plan. Included in the FY2016 Budget, the President aims to invest economic development funds in communities reliant on the declining coal industry. Coal mining, processing, and use in energy production has historically been one of the main staples of the Appalachian economy and the plan seeks to ensure that communities, workers, and their families are not left behind moving forward in our changing energy landscape.
During the call, Senior Economic Policy Advisor to the White House Jason Walsh discussed a four-pillared approach to the proposal. Mr. Walsh detailed the plan's support for economic diversification and job creation with over $55 million implemented across a number of federal programs. The POWER+ Plan will provide legislative reforms to strengthen the health and pension plans for over 100,000 retired coal miners and their families. New development opportunities and jobs in abandoned mine land (AML) communities will address the continuing legacy of AMLs on the health, safety, environment, and economic development potential of the communities. The final pillar establishes the deployment of carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration technologies through new tax incentives that will complement each other in driving improvements in green technology.
The Appalachian region encompasses an estimated 205,000-square-mile area, from northern Mississippi, along the Appalachian Mountains, to southern New York. In New York's Southern Tier, 14 counties comprise the northernmost region of Appalachia: Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany, Steuben, Schuyler, Chemung, Tompkins, Tioga, Cortland, Broome, Chenango, Delaware, Otsego, and Schoharie. There are only three active power stations generated by coal in NYS, one of which, the Cayuga Power Station in Tompkins County, being in Appalachia. The impact of the shifting energy landscape in New York can already be felt through layoffs and plant shutdowns, the Dunkirk Generating Station, shut down in December, being the most recent. President Obama's POWER+ Plan should be supported by New York State legislators in order to make sure our communities are provided for and that workers and their families can live healthy and fruitful lives.
Training & Funding Opportunitiesbooks
Southern Tier Regional Leadership Conference
NYSAC will provide a series of County Government Institute credit courses at the STC Regional Leadership Conference, which will be held on March 31st at Corning Community College. The leadership conference  provides information, sharing and training opportunities for elected and appointed local government officials in Chemung, Schuyler and Steuben Counties. County officials are welcome to attend. The NYSAC County Government Institute courses include Budgeting, Foundations of County Government, and Media and Constituent Relations. For more information and to register, visit
Solar Opportunities: NYSAC Webinar
NYSAC will present a webinar outlining solar energy opportunities for counties on Tuesday, April 5, 2016 from 2:00-3:00 PM.  Details are below.
New and Continuing Solar Opportunities for Counties
The State of New York's goal to add more than 3 gigawatts of installed solar capacity by 2023 is being leveraged by several counties to save not only fossil fuels, but taxpayer dollars as well. For the past several years, New York State and the federal government have been offering incentives to help governments, schools, businesses, and homeowners defray the upfront cost of installing solar panels, helping them lock in long term ongoing savings in monthly electric bills.
Presenters from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority will discuss the NY-Sun Incentive and other programs designed to help New Yorkers reduce the cost of electricity and make New York State a national leader in developing a robust, sustainable solar industry.
Click here to register.
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.