Weekly Wire Week Ending April 15, 2016
DA Salary Reimbursement, Sales Tax Update, CHIPS Funding, more
Registration Open: 50th Annual County Finance School
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 New York State Department of Education for CPAs.
Senators and Assembly members have left Albany for Spring Break, they are scheduled to reconvene on Tuesday, May 3.
There remain 21 scheduled days of legislative session before June 16th when lawmakers will recess for the year. NYSAC continues to advocate for counties to ensure new programs place no additional financial burdens on county property taxpayers.
During these 21 remaining Legislative days NYSAC's key priorities include:
County Leaders Call on the State to Reimburse Counties For District Attorney Salary Increase
On behalf of the state's 57 counties, NYSAC has called on the State Legislature to pass a chapter amendment to the 2016-17 State Budget that would require the state to pay the costs with mandated district attorney pay increase."This is a quintessential state mandate. The state raised the salary of an elected county official and they are making local taxpayers fund it," said NYSAC President William E. Cherry, the Schoharie County Treasurer. Read the full press release.
First Quarter Sales Tax Receipts Show Continued Volatility
Nationally, we have seen reports of a not so good month of March for the retail sector (with durable goods and car sales slowing). There also continued to be downward pressure on local sales tax receipts due lower motor fuel prices in the first quarter of this year compared to last year. This combined with consumers saving a bit more of their income and reducing debt (vs. spending it) has resulted in a mixed bag for counties in regard to 1st quarter sales tax receipts compared to last year.
In the first quarter of 2016, 20 counties collected less than they did on the same quarter of 2015. To put this into perspective, the first quarter of 2015 was particularly bad for counties in regard to local sales tax receipts, with 33 counties collecting less sales tax in 2015 than they did in 2014 in the first quarter. Of the 20 counties that had negative receipts in the first quarter of 2016 compared to 2015, 11 of them also experienced negative sales tax receipts in the first quarter of 2015 compared to 2014. These 11 counties were clustered along the Canadian border, Southern Tier and Schoharie Valley for the most part.
The first quarter of 2016, while showing mixed results, does show improvement over last year. In aggregate, total sales tax receipts for counties are up by 2.25% and the average change per county was nearly the same. New York City continued its positive sales tax returns in the first quarter with receipts up just under 3 percent over last year.
Details Emerge Regarding Local Allocation of CHIPS, PAVE NY Programs
Counties are encouraged that the Governor and the State Legislature allotted significant increases in funding for local roads and bridges through the PAVE-NY and BRIDGE-NY programs. County officials from across the state worked with the Governor and State Legislature to ensure these sorely needed local road dollars be distributed quickly and through the existing CHIPs program because it represented a fair and accepted methodology for distributing funds to localities.
The additional $100 million in PAVE-NY funding for local governments represents a 23 percent increase in base CHIPs funding and a 10 percent increase in total local CHIPS aid over last year (accounting for the one-time $50 million provided last year for harsh winter conditions). This increased PAVE-NY funding will be available for 4 years under the enacted budget. The multi-year increased funding availability will allow local officials to prioritize and plan projects in the most effective and efficient manner over the next several years, something sorely lacking in prior budgets.
Further, the budget agreement also includes an additional $100 million annually, for 4 years, in new BRIDGE-NY funding that envisions input from county and other local officials on priority bridge and culvert projects in their communities.
On April 13, 2015 more details emerged from the State as the local CHIPS and PAVE New York runs became public and local governments can now see the anticipated amounts for their region. For a copy of that click here.
New York State Senate Recognizes April as Donate Life Month
On Monday April 11, the Senate passed 5 bills that will provide additional resources and raise public awareness of the importance of organ and tissue donation. Thee enacted state budget included $1 million to support the New York Alliance for Donation - an increase of $750,000 over last year - as part of the Senate's ongoing commitment to help New Yorkers in dire need of transplants. The bills that passed the Senate include:
FEMA Providing Preparedness Tools and Activities
FEMA is encouraging counties to participate in this year's America's PrepareAthon! Campaign, which will be celebrated on April 30, 2016. PrepareAthon is a biannual campaign organized by FEMA to increase individual and community preparedness and resilience. The goal of the campaign is designed to increase individual and community preparedness for disasters in a way that boosts family and community resilience.
FEMA Region II, which includes New York State, is providing counties with tools and activities for their constituents, employees, and families. Each scenario will focus on a different threat or hazard and is intended to be completed by participants at their own pace, in their own space. Scenarios include:
Waters of the US to be tested at the Supreme Court
The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) has filed an amicus brief in a critical environmental legal battle to determine whether courts can review an Army Corps of Engineers' "jurisdictional determination" (JD) that property contains "waters of the United States" (WOTUS) per the Clean Water Act. The issue is at the center of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes. The Hawkes Company wanted to mine peat from its wetland property in Minnesota. The Corps issued a JD that the property contained "waters of the United States" because it was connected by culverts and unnamed streams to a traditional navigable water way, the Red River, about 120 miles away. To start mining, Hawkes would have had to obtain a costly and time-consuming permit unless a court would review and possibly overturn the JD. So Hawkes sought court review.
See more at: www.naco.org/articles/tap-scotus-can-wotus-designation-be-challenged.
|Training & Funding Opportunities
Grants Management Training in Syracuse
SUNY OSWEGO Division of Extended Learning and Grant Writing USA will present a two-day grant management workshop in Syracuse, April 21-22, 2016. This training is for grant recipient organizations across all disciplines. This class will cover how to administer government grants and stay in compliance with applicable rules and regulations. Click here for full event details.
NYSAC members and their staff can receive a special tuition rate of $565. Please use code "NYASSN" to receive this $30 discount off full price at registration. Tuition includes Grant Management USA's 400-page grant management workbook and reference guide. Seating is limited, online reservations are necessary. Complete event details including learning objectives, class location, graduate testimonials and online registration are available here.
Harvard Offers Innovations in Government Awards
Applications are now being accepted for the $100,000 Innovations in American Government Awards. Offered by Harvard Kennedy School's Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, the Innovations Award is the nation's premier award for the public sector. It recognizes programs that demonstrate creative and effective government at its best.
All units of government - federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial - from all policy areas are eligible to apply for recognition.
This year, the Ash Center is also once again offering the Roy and Lila Ash Innovations Award for Public Engagement in Government, a special Innovations Award that will recognize government-led programs that demonstrate novel and effective approaches to increasing public engagement and participation in the governance of towns, cities, states, and the nation.
The winners of the Innovations in American Government Award and the Roy and Lila Ash Award will each receive a $100,000 grant to support replication and dissemination activities in 2017. Top finalists will also receive monetary grants. Applications and additional information are available at www.innovationsaward.harvard.edu.
Federal Funding Available to Local Governments to Support Clean Transportation and Data-driven Clean Energy Strategies
Programs with available funding include:
*EPA Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program - ($26 million) with applications due: April 26, 2016.
*DOT Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Program - ($500 million) with applications due: April 29, 2016,
*DOE Cities-LEAP FOA for Data-Driven Decision Frameworks by Local and Tribal Governments - ($1.25 million) with concept Paper Submission Due: May 17, 2016 and full application submission due: June 17, 2016.
For more information please visit the website.