The County Perspective for May 15, 2017

Updates from Albany and D.C. about the issues impacting counties.

NYSAC Update

Finance School Recap 
Nearly 200 county treasurers, budget officers, and finance officials convened in Onondaga County recently for three days of training and education programs at the 51st Annual County Finance School. State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and his Division of Local Government and School Accountability co-sponsored the school and coordinated many of the educational sessions.
Wyoming County Treasurer Cheryl Mayer received the Treasurer of the Year Award and Chemung County Treasurer Joseph Sartori received the President's Award, both presented annually by the NYS County Treasurers and Finance Officers Association.
Counties Declare Mayday for Mandate Relief
NYSAC and counties across the state are again declaring Mayday for Mandate Relief to call attention to the enormous burden of state mandates on county budgets.
This year, counties are urging state lawmakers to support legislation that will prohibit the state from enacting new or expanding existing unfunded mandates on counties and local governments.
For more information, visit
The Impact of Major State Mandates on Counties
NYSAC and counties across the state are again declaring Mayday for Mandate Relief to call attention to the enormous burden of state mandates on county budgets.
The cost of nine state mandated programs and services now equal 99% of the property taxes collected by all of the counties in New York State, outside of New York City:
  • Medicaid-$2,26 M (outside of NYC)
  • TANF-Family Assistance $ 91 M
  • Safety Net/TANF-$373 M
  • Child Welfare-$292 M
  • Special Education Pre-K-$251 M
  • Early Intervention-$75.7 M
  • Indigent Defense-$164,391,331
  • Probation-$157 M
  • Youth Detention-$38 M
  • Pensions-$1.16 B
  • Cost of 9 State Mandates-$4.77 B
  • Statewide County Property Tax Levy (w/o NYC)-$4.8

    (View “9 for 90” chart.)
If the state wants to reduce property taxes, they need to take more fiscal responsibilities for these programs that they control at the State level.
This year, counties are urging state lawmakers to support legislation that will prohibit the state from enacting new or expanding existing unfunded mandates on counties and local governments.
For more information, visit
Affiliate Meetings and Updates
911 Coordinators Conference 
The 911 Coordinators Conference was held last week at the Ontario Event and Conference Center in Oswego, NY. Over fifty 911 directors and coordinators attended the 3-day conference, which included 10 programs to address issues impacting 911 PSAPs and coordinators across the state, such as Technology Distributed Denial of Service (TDOS) attacks on 911 centers, advances in technology for incident reconstruction, and the progress of Next Generation 911 in New York State.  
NYSAC staff provided an update on the 2017 Legislative Session and the 2017/18 Budget that included the public safety surcharge collection on prepaid devices, as well as the authorization of the remaining 8 counties to collect a public safety surcharge on postpaid devices. The New York State Department of Homeland Security's Office of Interoperable and Emergency Communication (OIEC) provided an update on the NYS Next Generation Working group, the progress of FirstNet and the continued collaboration between state and local PSAPs.
The 911 Coordinators will hold their next conference in the fall.

State Update

NYS Legislative Activity
The Legislature will convene in Albany today through Wednesday, May 17. There are only five weeks left in the 2017 Legislative Session. Among the top issues of importance to lawmakers as they wind down this year's legislative work include mayoral control, procurement reform, and possibly a cleanup bill on raising the age. NYSAC continues to advocate for counties to ensure new programs place no additional financial burdens on county property taxpayers.
During these 20 remaining Legislative days, NYSAC's priorities include:
  • Mandate relief to counties
  • Sales Tax Extenders
  • Ensuring no costs are shifted to counties
  • Chapter Amendment for District Attorney Salaries
  • Paint stewardship
  • Increase DMV Revenue Distribution to Counties
  • Promote Video Conference Court Appearances
  • County Option for Pre-Arraignment Holding
NYSAC's complete legislative platform for 2017, indicating session priorities by issue area, can be found at
Six-Week Forecast 
On Tuesday, May 9 the Times Union (TU) held hosted Six-Week Forecast: Legislative Leaders on What Comes Next. The event was moderated by Casey Seiler, state editor of the TU and included Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.
Majority Leader Flanagan discussed the state's relationship with federal leaders and explained that now more than ever, it only suits New York State to maintain open communication with the federal government and with New York's federal elected representatives. Leader Flanagan also discussed drinking water quality and improving infrastructure.
Speaker Heastie continued to emphasize his conference's agenda for their family first agenda on issues such as immigration and child care.
Both leaders agreed that they do not support a Constitutional Convention. Leader Flanagan and Speaker Heastie both stated that the interest of New Yorkers may not be upheld with special interest groups getting involved and there are mechanisms in place now to update the constitution through legislation.
Senate Heroin and Opioid Addiction Public Forums
The Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction will hold a series of forums throughout the state to continue to examine issues faced by the state due to increased heroin and opioid abuse.  The forums will be held in Fulton, Erie and Nassau County. The public forums are designed to give Task Force members the opportunity to solicit input from stakeholders in the community -- including providers, law enforcement, educators, and family members -- in order to formulate further recommendations for legislative action.
2017  Joint Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction Schedule:
  • Johnstown, Fulton County: Wednesday, May 24th, 3:00 pm, Fulton-Montgomery Community College, Union Building, Room U104, 2805 State Route 67, Johnstown, NY 12095
  • Buffalo, Erie County: Wednesday, July 12th, 8:00 am, Erie Community College - City Campus, Minnie Gillette Auditorium, 121 Ellicott Street, Buffalo, New York 14203
  • Long Island, Nassau County:  Wednesday, July 19th, 4:00 pm, Village of Mineola Board Room, 155 Washington Avenue, Mineola, NY 11501
 Additional hearings will be announced in the fall. 

Federal Update

NACo's Stepping Up Initiative Celebrates Two Years
The revolving door of jailing the mentally ill is one of the foremost challenges faced by counties across the country, sucking up valuable budgets, time and space, not to mention the toll it takes on mentally ill residents and county employees.
Incarceration has largely replaced hospitalization for thousands of individuals with serious mental illnesses, with county jails holding as many as 10 times more of these individuals than state psychiatric hospitals, according to a report from Public Citizen's Health Research Group and the Treatment Advocacy Center.
Because those with serious mental illnesses are predisposed to committing minor crimes, experts say, many end up being detained in county jails with limited or no mental health treatment until a state hospital bed becomes available for them, according to the Public Citizen report.
A push to reduce the estimated 2 million mentally ill who cycle in and out of county jail cells was started two years ago with the launch of the Stepping Up initiative in May of 2015. Groups leading the effort include NACo, the American Psychiatric Association Foundation and the Council of State Governments' Justice Center.  Stepping Up's goal is to elevate the issue on a national stage and give counties the resources to attack the problem successfully.
Since it started, the initiative has attracted participation from 350 counties from 43 states. The counties represent 125 million people or 40 percent of the U.S. population. Counties must pass a resolution to be formally recognized as participants in the initiative, as a sign of support in their communities. Learn more:

Training, Funding, and Award Opportunities

Center for Tech. in Government Leadership Institute
CTG's Leadership Institute Seasonal Intensive Program is offering two courses on June 15th. Sessions are located at the CTG offices,
187 Wolf Road, Albany, NY 12205.
Questions about the courses or other offerings of the Leadership Institute? Visit the Leadership Institute or contact Donna Canestraro, Program Director at or (518) 442-5619.
Visualizing Your Data:
A Program Manager's Perspective
Instructor: Jim Costello, PhD
Thursday, June 15, 2017
Albany, NY
Register Here
Dynamics of Opening Government Data
Instructor: Donna Canestraro, PMP
Thursday, June 15, 2017
Albany, NY
Register Here