County Perspective Week of April 10, 2017

The County Perspective: State Budget, Finance School, Inflation, Broadband
Legislative Update
Over the weekend Legislators enacted the 2017/18 Budget.
On Friday, April 7th Governor Cuomo announced a $153 billion dollar budget deal. The Assembly worked through the night on Friday to pass the remaining budget items that included State Operations and the final article seven bill - Revenue.  The Senate concluded their work Sunday night. The Revenue bill included many of the major items such as ridesharing, raise the age, tuition free college as well as Federal Response Funding Plan in case of any many actions taken on the federal level.
The Senate and Assembly will reconvene again on Monday, April 24th, following the Passover and Easter holidays.
Phase 3 of the New NY Broadband Program
On Thursday, March 30th the New NY Broadband Program Office (BPO) released the Phase 3 Request for Proposal Guidelines.  Round III will consist of two separate, simultaneous auction processes, which together will target all remaining unserved and underserved areas in the state:
  • The majority of the locations in Round III will be addressed through the "New York Auction," which is modeled after the two previous rounds and will consist solely of state funding
  • Additionally, the "New York CAF Auction," will focus on the remaining areas, which are eligible for $170 million in Connect America Funds (CAF) recently allocated to New York State by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
The BPO will begin accepting applications for broadband funding on the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) portal starting on June 6, 2017.  Applications must be submitted by August 15, 2017.   More information can be found here:
State Interoperable Communications Grants
In December of 2016 the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, Office of Interoperable and Emergency Communications, announced the Statewide Interoperable Communications Grant program where funding is distributed by formula. New formula grant program continues to aid county public safety organizations in enhancing emergency response and improving capability and performance results from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP), improvements in governance structures, operating procedures, infrastructure development, and addressing SAFECOM guidance from U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Emergency Communications (OEC).
On Wednesday, March 29th Governor Cuomo announced $45 million in funding for counties to provide upgrades to technology and improve emergency communications systems. The funding is part of the State Interoperable Communications Grant funding, which is administered by the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. The 2016 State Interoperable Communications grant awards list is available here:
On Thursday, March 30 the Department of Commerce and First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) announced the selection of AT&T to build the first nationwide wireless broadband network dedicated to America's first responders.
The broad terms of this 25-year agreement between FirstNet and AT&T are:
  • FirstNet will provide 20 MHz of high-value, telecommunications spectrum and success-based payments of $6.5 billion over the next five years to support the Network buildout - FirstNet's funding was raised from previous FCC spectrum auctions;
  • AT&T will spend about $40 billion over the life of the contract to build, deploy, operate and maintain the network, with a focus on ensuring robust coverage for public safety;
  • Additionally, AT&T will connect FirstNet users to the company's telecommunications network assets, valued at more than $180 billion.
The ability to communicate seamlessly across jurisdictions is critical for law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical services (EMS) when securing large events or responding to emergencies and disasters.  In those instances, networks can become overloaded and inaccessible, limiting responders' use of vital communication technologies, such as smartphones and applications dedicated to public safety services.  The program will allow for a high-speed network built specifically for the millions of public safety users in all 50 states, 5 U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, including those serving rural communities and tribal lands.  The Network will modernize first responders' communications and deliver specialized features that are not available to them on wireless networks today.
Inflation Data Running Higher than in Recent Years
For the 12 months ending February 2017, the national inflation rate has been running at about 2.7 percent. This is significantly higher than inflation rates over the last few years where they have been coming in at, or below, 1.5 percent. Inflation rate trends are important for counties in regard to the calculation of the state imposed property tax cap. Through February 2017 we have the eight months of data necessary to calculate the 2018 inflation factor for counties. If current trends continue through June of 2017 counties would expect to see a property tax cap inflation factor of about 1.9 percent.  For the last two years the county property tax cap inflation factor came in around .7 percent. We will keep counties posted as more data becomes available in the coming months.
US Supreme Court to Hear Case that Could Impact Criminal Conviction Appeal Standards

On April 19, the US Supreme Court will hear arguments in WEAVER V. MASSACHUSETTS.  This case may change the analysis process state courts use to determine ineffective assistance of criminal counsel. Under current law a criminal defendant appealing a conviction can have a ruling reversed if a court finds ineffective assistance of counsel which can be considered a constitutional violation. Under standards established previously by the high court, "most constitutional errors can be harmless," and therefore the court has "adopted the general rule that a constitutional error does not automatically require reversal of a [criminal] conviction" and is subject to a "harmless-error analysis."
The question presented in this matter is when a defendant asserting an ineffective assistance appeal, is proving their counsel made a structural error enough show prejudice by counsel's ineffectiveness (and therefore prejudice is presumed, as was ruled in this matter by two federal circuit courts and two state high courts); or must there be in additional demonstration of deficient performance on top of the structural error (as held by four circuits and five state courts of last resort).
NYSAC will track this case and provide updates as they become available.  
Distracted Driving Prevention Challenge
April is Distracted Driving Month, and the New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal (NYMIR) has posed a challenge to NYMIR counties and local governments.
Nationally, distracted driving has been the leading cause of motor vehicle crashes.  In 2014, the Official U.S. Government website for Distracted Driving reported that 3,179 people were killed and 431,000 injured in moving vehicle accidents. Vehicle claims represent a significant concern for insurers and local governments, and preventing distracted driving can boost your risk management efforts.
NYMIR is holding risk management seminars to provide train-the-trainer instruction for distracted driving classes to prepare your own employees as instructors. These training sessions can be provided by NYMIR Risk Management staff either regionally or at your county.
For more information contact NYMIR Vice President of Marketing and Member Services at 518-292-0057.
Spring Regional Local Government Workshop
Friday May 19, 2017, Burgundy Basin Inn, Pittsford, NY
For workshop information, including registration brochure please visit or contact David Zorn at Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council at or 585-454-0190 x14.
Sessions include:Planning Board Overview, Zoning Board of Appeals Overview, Clean Energy Communities Program, Historic Commission Training, Siting Solar, Streamlining Solar Permitting, Challenges for Local Government Reorganization, Distributed Wind, Municipal Planning Board's Role in EV Charging Station Deployment, An Interagency Approach to Flood Risk Management, Finding and Getting Grants for your Project, Climate Smart Communities Grants, and State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) Basics.
Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) and American Fact Finder Workshop
David Kraiker, Geographic Coordinator, New York Regional Office, U.S. Census Bureau
April 12, 2017, 9:00 - 11:00, Town of Victor Town Hall, 85 East Main Street, Victor, NY.  Free registration at
The presentation will be an information session about what the LUCA Program is, how it impacts the community/region and how to get involved with the program. LUCA is the only opportunity offered to tribal, state, and local governments to review and comment on the U.S. Census Bureau's residential address list for their jurisdiction prior to the 2020 Census. The Census Address List Improvement Act of 1994 (Public Law 103-430) authorizes the LUCA.  The Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council did the LUCA program for the nine county Genesee-Finger Lakes Region prior to the 2010 Decennial Census and is preparing to do it again for the 2020 Census.   An accurate count helps the federal government annually allocate more than $400 billion across 26 federal agencies for tribal, state, and local government programs and services and helps your community plan for future needs.  For more information on the LUCA program please visit  The workshop will focus on how to utilize American Fact Finder to retrieve information.