The County Perspective: State Lamakers Return, Foster Care, CHIPS funding, Training events

Week of April 24, 2017
Lawmakers Returning to Capitol Today
State lawmakers will convene for Session this week after a two-week Spring Break. The Senate and Assembly Session is scheduled for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday the week of April 24th. With a total of 26 days left of the 2017 Legislative Session the remaining weeks will be a busy time in Albany.  NYSAC continues to advocate for counties to ensure new programs place no additional financial burdens on county property taxpayers. NYSAC's complete legislative platform for 2017, indicating session priorities by issue area, can be found at  NYSAC will continue to advocate for legislation that benefits county governments, and will continue to monitor the implementation of budget initiatives that will impact counties.  
State Preparing Implementation of Foster Care Funding Cuts Adopted in State Budget
The Legislature agreed in the adopted state budget to cut State reimbursement for Foster Care costs as proposed by the Governor. The Executive is working to determine county social services district allocations for the coming year and they hope to release them soon. The adopted provision included a reduction in the State's share of matching funds to support foster care costs incurred by counties to 50 percent from current levels around 56 percent - this saves the state about $39 million dollars that will have to be absorbed by counties. The State's general rationale for the reimbursement change was the desire to return to the historic 50/50 cost structure between the state and counties to provide services to the foster care population that existed in the past. Given that the State has shifted significant costs to counties for state designed and controlled social services programs over many years -- the foster care change is nothing more than a state funding cut that allows the state to spend their resources on other initiatives. A prime example of such a shift is funding for Safety Net. Safety Net for decades was financed through a 50/50 state/county sharing arrangement which in recent years has been shifted to a 71 percent county share and 29 state share arrangement.
Another quandary of this state funding cut is the randomness upon which it will be applied. In any given year a county's foster care caseload can be driven by any number of factors far beyond their control including local economic conditions (a major plant closing can spike job loss and increase pressure on families), the opioid epidemic is dramatically increasing pressures on families in many communities across the state (Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the increase of opioid and heroin use the "worst drug scourge this nation has ever seen"), spikes in crime can influence family stability, judges can make more placements into foster care at their own discretion, among other items.  As a result each county will likely feel the reimbursement change differently based on their historic foster care caseload trends and factors beyond their control regardless of their efforts to reduce foster care caseloads. We should not be surprised that this one state funding change could consume a large share of any particular counties' allowable growth under the state imposed property tax cap. New York City is also subject to an additional $23 million cut under which the state is eliminating its share of reimbursement for foster care tuition payments. What is also troubling about this cut is that it is paired with a budget that also increases the age of criminal responsibility that will rely on funding programs like foster care for successful implementation. Cutting such services may undermine the effectiveness of providing services to families and children that need them as detention is replaced with services as the raise the age reforms require.
NYS Department of Transportation Releases Detailed Run of CHIPS, Extreme Weather Recovery Local Funding
The 2017/2018 New York State budget included $438 million for the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) and an additional $65 million for Extreme Weather Recovery (EWR).  Both CHIPS and EWR funding are significant for local governments and their highway departments, providing them with needed state aid to repair area roads, bridges and culverts every year.  The New York State Department of Transportation recently released the CHIPs and EWR "run" which provides the exact amount allocated to each local government body throughout the State.  A link for this data is provided below.  This detailed information is key for local governments so they may properly budget and get in motion needed road maintenance and improvements.  The CHIPS runs can be accessed at
Rising Sea Levels on Lake Ontario
The rising sea levels in Lake Ontario are affecting everyone surrounding the Lake and the St. Lawrence River. Local Government officials are assisting residents are trying to protect their shoreline property from potential flooding as water levels continue to rise on Lake Ontario. Lake Ontario is currently at about 247.3 feet above sea level. Lake Ontario is 8 inches higher than this time last year, with another 11 inch increase expected by mid-May, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.
This has become an emergency situation many counties have issues States of Emergency. And calling on the International Joint Commission, which helps to regulate U.S.-Canada boundary waters to take immediate action and provide the necessary resources to protect the counties surrounding the lake.

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:
Training for 21st Century Leaders
The Center for Technology in Government at the University of Albany is hosting upcoming educational training opportunities for government leaders. The first: 21st Century Leader: Impact & Opportunity will be held May 2-3rd; and the second: Timeless Lessons in Creating Public Value will be held on May 4th.
The 21st Century Leader session will focus on the drastic changes in the global economy and shifting priorities of governments at all levels require a new attention to the promise of technology as a tool for creating new opportunity for citizens and greater efficiencies in the daily operation of government.  This course introduces participants to the role that information and communications technologies are playing in transforming governments worldwide. Participants will learn about the ways that information strategies and management approaches affect governmental functions, democratic processes, and public programs. The course explores key concepts such as public value, digital government, e-readiness, benchmarking and institutional and organization mechanisms such as benchmarking, public private partnership, ICT policy and governance. Particular attention will be paid to the interaction of policy, management, data, and technology in the design, operation, and evaluation of government operations, citizen engagement, and public services. Register Here
The session on Timeless Lessons in Creating Public Value will provide attendees with lessons for how to innovate successfully and avoid the pitfalls many of your predecessors have fallen into in this one-day, first-hand inside look into the insights CTG has gathered over more than 23 years of research and working with government agencies as they strive to solve pressing public problems. CTG fundamentally believes that innovation is a function of creative exploration of the interdependencies among public policy, public management, information resources, and technologies. Register Here.