NYSAC News NEW
Rebuilding and Renewing: Counties after COVID
Committed to your Community.
AT PERMA, WE DON’T THINK OF OURSELVES AS JUST A WORKERS’ COMPENSATION PROVIDER. We’re tightly woven into the very fabric of your community. Just as you look out for your family, friends and neighbors, we’ll always be there for you. Doing more than what’s expected to help you and your loved ones so you can keep your community safe and strong. ~ That’s why we created New York State’s first and only crossing guard training program. ~ Why we subsidized a family’s lengthy hotel stay when one of our injured members was hospitalized out of town. ~ Why we brought food and clothing relief to a county member after catastrophic flooding during a hurricane. We go well beyond workers’ compensation to offer you everything from comprehensive risk management training, a personalized claims team, and patient advocates, to fraud detection, wellness programs and transitional duty services. To find out more contact: Leah Demo, Sales Executive 518-220-0342 • firstname.lastname@example.org Tony Cassaro, Sales Executive 518-220-0324 • email@example.com P O B O X 1 2 2 5 0 , A L B A N Y, N Y 1 2 2 1 2 • 8 8 8 - 7 3 7 - 6 2 6 9 • W W W . P E R M A . O R G
AUCTIONS REALTY & MANAGEMENT, INC.
Trusted and highly recommended for over 34 Years to provide Surplus Property & Real Property Auction Services with proven results
Collar City customers say it best: "they really do it all" “Randy, Audra and the Collar City team take care of everthing…they really do it all…proven experts in the business” “I highly recommend Collar City to anyone looking to simplify the auction process and lighten your workload” – Matthew Ossenfort, Montgomery County Executive
"highly qualified,experienced" “Randy and his team are courteous, highly qualified, experienced and knowledgeable in all aspects… a team proven to be specialists in the business” – Michael Slawson, Rensselaer County CFO
"professional, courteous, attentive" Surplus Property & Real Property Auction Services
"During the preparation, planning, and process of conducting the Auction, we found the Collar City Auctions Team to be professional, courteous, and attentive to our needs and requirements." -Kevin Gardner, Oswego County Treasurer
Licensed & Bonded Auctioneers, Realtors, Certified Appraisers & Consultants
Online • Onsite • Live Stream
We Do All The Work For You! NEVER A COST TO MUNICIPALITIES AUCTIONS REALTY & MANAGEMENT, INC.
Collar City Auctions - 9423 Western Tpke. Delanson, NY 12053-2105 (888)-222-1522 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.CollarCityAuctions.com
“Working with counties to build for the future.” Surveying Civil Engineering Structural Engineering Geotechnical Engineering Construction Management Environmental Services Special Inspections Materials Testing MOUNTAINVILLE
• NYC • WHITE PLAINS • NEWBURGH • ALBANY • ROCHESTER www.tectonicengineering.com
President's Page NYSAC OFFICERS Hon. John F. Marren Ontario County President Hon. Martha C. Sauerbrey Tioga County President-Elect Hon. Marcus Molinaro Dutchess County First Vice President Michael E. Zurlo Clinton County Second Vice President Hon. MaryEllen Odell Putnam County Immediate Past President
BOARD MEMBERS Hon. Steven Bellone, Suffolk County Hon. Benjamin Boykin II Westchester County Mr. Philip R. Church, Oswego County Hon. Bill de Blasio, New York City Mr. Richard R. House, Wayne County Hon. Beth A. Hunt, Hamilton County Hon. Margaret M. Kennedy, Otsego County Hon. Daniel P. McCoy, Albany County Hon. Mark C. Poloncarz, Erie County Dr. Kevin Watkins, Cattaraugus County Michael E. Zurlo, Clinton County
want to take this opportunity, as president of this great association, to commend you and to thank you for all that you have done to help protect your residents and support your local business community. We have made it through the worst of this pandemic. We will never forget what happened to our state and what we did individually and collectively through our Association to help each other. It was not easy for any of us. But we all did what we had to do as local leaders, as county and town leaders, to step up and work with our public health directors, emergency managers, department heads, sheriffs, business owners, and community groups to safeguard our friends, families, and neighbors throughout the pandemic. Sometimes, when we conflicting or confusing Washington or Albany, were fighting the virus tied behind our backs.
were getting directives from it felt like we with one hand
I also want to thank Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, my friend Congressman Tom Reed, and the entire congressional delegation for fighting to make sure that counties received federal assistance to recover from the pandemic and help us restore our county programs and services, support the recovery of our businesses, and make investments that will support our efforts to rebuild our communities. We are seeing signs of a strong recovery in my county and in the entire region. But we still have work to do to get back to a new normal in New York. This has been a trying time to serve as NYSAC president, but I believe that we rose to the challenge, we met it, and we all did a tremendous job in the face of great uncertainty. Now, as we all move beyond the pandemic, I look forward to working with all of you through NYSAC to support a full recovery in our communities.
NYSAC chronicled these efforts in a book commissioned by the New York State County Executives’ Association: Our Darkest Hours: New York County Leadership & the COVID Pandemic. I want to thank Stephen Acquario and the entire staff at NYSAC for being there on conference calls, getting answers to our questions, sharing best practices, motivating us to keep going, advocating for federal funding, and providing the training and resources we needed to pivot to a new way of governing. They were all there when we needed help the most.
Jack Marren NYSAC President
PARLIAMENTARIANS Hon. Herman Geist, Esq., Westchester County Hon. A. Douglas Berwanger, Wyoming County NYSAC News | www.nysac.org
We’ve got fresh ideas to move business forward. Our team of Public Sector finance experts understands the unique challenges you face, listens carefully to your needs, and recommends solutions that will help you achieve your goals.
For more information, call Brendan Baxter at 518 257-8501 or email Brendan_E_Baxter@Key.com. Visit key.com/government KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc. is not acting as a municipal advisor or fiduciary, and any opinions, views, or information herein is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, advice within the meaning of Section 15B of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. KeyBanc Capital Markets is a trade name under which corporate and investment banking products and services of KeyCorp and its subsidiaries, KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC, and KeyBank National Association (“KeyBank N.A.”), are marketed. Securities products and services are offered by KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc. and its licensed securities representatives, who may also be employees of KeyBank N.A. Banking products and services are offered by KeyBank N.A. Key.com is a federally registered service mark of KeyCorp. ©2020 KeyCorp. 200924-878529
Director's Note NYSAC STAFF (partial listing) Stephen J. Acquario, Esq. Executive Director Karen Catalfamo Office/Financial Manager Patrick Cummings, Esq. Counsel Jackie Dederick Records Manager Patricia Gettings Assistant to the Director Ryan Gregoire Legislative Director Alexandra LaMonte Legislative/Policy Coordinator Mark LaVigne Deputy Director Dave Lucas Director of Finance & Intergovernmental Affairs Juanita Munguia Marketing Specialist Tom Oldfather Communications Manager Kate Pierce Multimedia Specialist Jeanette Stanziano Director of Education & Training
e continue to live in
unprecedented times here in New York State.
We have ridden an economic rollercoaster with severe dips in state and sales tax revenues and then an economic rebound and a recent influx of federal funds. As some economic conditions improve, many local businesses continue to struggle to rebound from the traumatic slowdown caused by forced closures and the economic pause. Life is starting to move again, and as local leaders, you are moving on with it. We cannot forget where we have been, but we cannot spend too much time dwelling on it either. It is time that we use the resources at our disposal to rebuild better and stronger than we were before the pandemic. We have an unprecedented opportunity to invest in the future of our communities and thus the future of New York. This summer, counties are receiving American Rescue Plan Act funds from the federal government and considering proposals for how to best invest those dollars in their communities. Already we are logging numerous projects that need our attention. Rebuilding our reserves, investing in a broadband infrastructure that
meets the needs of our disconnected or under-connected residents. We have an opportunity to identify and rectify the challenges of our emergency operation centers and processes so counties are better prepared for the next major storm or potential future public health emergency. It’s time to safeguard our information technology systems so that our next state of emergency is not caused by cyber criminals who are trying to infiltrate businesses, schools, hospitals and governments to hold critical data ransom. Your team at NYSAC is planning our next in-person conference in Onondaga County (Syracuse) this September and we are putting together a program designed to bring you timely and valuable information on the latest trends in communication, cybersecurity, use of ARPA funds, business redevelopment, police reforms, lobbying Albany and Washington, redistricting, the public workforce, emergency medical services, and other topics. We look forward to seeing you there.
Stephen J. Acquario, Esq. NYSAC Executive Director
NYSAC News | www.nysac.org
NYSAC News NEW
NYSAC News NEW
NYSAC’s mission is to represent, educate, advocate for, and serve member counties at the federal and state levels. President Hon. John F. Marren Publisher Stephen J. Acquario Managing Editor Mark F. LaVigne Editor Tom Oldfather Designer Kate Pierce Advertising Staff Juanita Munguia 8
NYSAC News | Summer 2021
Advertise with NYSAC Contact NYSAC Marketing Specialist Juanita Munguia at 518-465-1473 or email@example.com Published 3 times a year by the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC), the NYSAC News is the official publication of NYSAC, a non-profit, municipal association serving the 57 counties of New York State and the City of New York with its five boroughs for over 90 years. NYSAC’s mission is to represent, educate, advocate for, and serve member counties at the federal and state levels.
NYSAC NEWS MAGAZINE
515 Broadway, Suite 402, Albany, New York 12207 Phone • (518) 465-1473 Fax • (518) 465-0506 Send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions should be 750 to 1,000 words and include a high resolution photo of the author. All submissionsare subject to editing for clarity, content and/or length. The advertisements and articles in NYSAC News in no way imply support or endorsementby NYSAC for any of the products, services or messages conveyed herein. ©2021 New York State Association of Counties
Table of Contents Volume 43, Issue 2 Summer 2021
INVESTING IN THE FUTURE
MEETING NEW CHALLENGES
Legislative Team Update
Key Provisions from the MRTA
The American Rescue Plan
The Right Size For County Legislatures?
Leveraging Post-Pandemic Opportunities
Westchester Takes a Long View of Historic and Cultural Heritage Tourism
Census Efforts Help to Avoid Projection of the Loss of Two Congressional Seats
Recently Passed Local Laws
BUILDING ON EXPERIENCE
Warren County Group Organizes to Save Summer
Photo Contest Winners
Resilience and Perseverance
Returning a Sense of Normalcy
Counties Document Pandemic Experience
Local Governments Emerge United and Ready to Lead
Cover Photo Ashokan Rail Trail, Shokan, Ulster County Photo by Kyle J. Bourdon
NYSAC News | www.nysac.org
INVESTING IN THE FUTURE
Legislative Team Update Enacted Budget & Post-Budget Review By Ryan Gregoire, NYSAC Legislative Director
he 2021 legislative session was unlike any in recent memory. Beginning during the height of the second wave of COVID-19 infections, and concluding amidst an unprecedented mass vaccination campaign, the pandemic loomed large in both the priorities of the Legislature, and the physical operations of the two houses. To accommodate the realities of governing during a global pandemic, both houses amended rules to allow members to conduct business in a remote setting, making it easier for lawmakers to “return” to Albany to convene and move legislation outside of the scheduled legislative calendar. Additionally, for the first time in modern political history, both the Senate and the Assembly started the legislative session with veto-proof Democratic super-majorities. These new majorities were fueled in large part by the election of new members, who now make up more than half (55%) of the State Senate and onefifth (30) in the State Assembly. These developments presented counties with an entirely new political environment to navigate as we worked to pursue our agenda, beginning with the State Budget.
A Good Budget for Counties The budget is always the primary vehicle for counties to advance their priorities. This year’s state budget included several wins for counties. It made key investments in essential county services, local infrastructure, election administration, public health, and renewable energy. Perhaps most importantly, NYSAC was successful in reversing proposed across-the-board cuts that would have severely hampered local government's ability to lead the pandemic recovery in their communities. Unfortunately, the budget continued the misguided practice of intercepting local sales taxes to fund distressed hospitals and to cover the state's obligation for revenue sharing with local governments as part of the AIM (Aid and Incentives for Municipalities) program. Several additional components of the budget will have an impact on county operations, including:
NYSAC News | Summer 2021
RAISE THE AGE The enacted budget includes $250 million in new appropriation authority for continuation of assistance to comply with the Raise the Age statute and re-appropriates $393 million in Raise the Age appropriation authority. LOCAL HIGHWAYS AND BRIDGES FUNDING The enacted budget funds the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) and the Marchiselli program at $538 million, an increase of $100 million over last year’s funding level. The budget also continues $150 million in highway aid through the PAVE NY program, an increase of $50 million, and $100 million to fund local bridge projects from the BRIDGE NY program. The counties working with our Highway Superintendents Association fought extremely hard to restore extreme winter weather recovery for $100 million. RESTORES FUNDING FOR VETERANS SUPPORT SERVICES The enacted budget provides $4.5 million for the Joseph P. Dwyer Peer-to-Peer Veterans Support Program. INCREASED FUNDING FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGES The enacted budget provides an additional $14.37 million for community college base aid above the Governor’s request, a $50 per FTE increase with each campus guaranteed to receive at least 98 percent of the prior year base aid amount. STUDY BROADBAND ACCESSIBILITY AND CONNECTIVITY BOARDS OF ELECTIONS CAPITAL INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENTS The enacted budget includes an additional $25 million capital appropriation, of which $20 million shall be made available to local boards of elections for replacement of voting systems and equipment, absentee ballot scanners, mail processing equipment and infrastructure to protect the connectivity and security of county election software. CODE BLUE STATE ASSISTANCE The enacted budget included $15 million to assist counties with implementing Code Blue homelessness programs.
18-B FAMILY COURT ATTORNEY FUNDING The enacted budget includes $2.5 million for improving the quality of representation provided to persons who, under county law Article 18-B, are entitled to counsel in Family Court matters and are financially unable to obtain counsel. EXPANDED AID FOR ASSISTED OUTPATIENT TREATMENT The enacted budget includes $7.5 million for assisted outpatient treatment pursuant to Article 9 of the mental hygiene law. JAIL-BASED TREATMENT FUNDING The enacted budget includes $8.75 million, a full restoration of $3.75 million and an additional $5 million for jail-based substance use disorder treatment funding.
Pursuing the County Agenda Post-Budget Following the completion of the budget, the Legislature had 27 legislative session days to complete their work for the year, during which they passed 892 bills through both houses, which is slightly higher than a typical legislative session.
In addition to this legislation, NYSAC tracked, monitored, and engaged on 1,530 bills to date, since January. NYSAC will publish our annual report on legislation, which passed through both chambers and impacts the roles of county government, to our website. Of course, the NYSAC legislative team will continue to monitor legislation and inform members on pending legislation impacting counties. On behalf of the NYSAC legislative team, we are so grateful for your continued advocacy at the local level and here in Albany, virtually, and hopefully in-person again soon!
County Conversations Podcast Tackles Timely and Pressing Issues Impacting Counties
As always, NYSAC’s legislative priorities are guided by policy resolutions approved by the NYSAC standing committees, during the legislative conference and fall seminar. These policy resolutions serve as the foundation for the NYSAC legislative program. This year, the NYSAC legislative staff developed a series of in-depth policy briefs which served as the lobbying tool during NYSAC’s March lobby briefings with state lawmakers. After the state budget was adopted, NYSAC took these policy briefs and the NYSAC Legislative Program and created a 2021 Post-Budget Legislative Program. You can view these documents at the NYSAC website at www.nysac. org/stateadvocacy. We further narrowed our focus to a few top post-budget priorities. We are fortunate and pleased to report that all of these policy priorities have passed through both houses and will be delivered to the Governor. •
Enact an Early Intervention Covered Lives Assessment Fee on Commercial Insurance to Help Fund Services for Infants with Special Needs S.5560-A (Reichlin-Melnick) / A.5339 (Paulin)
Expand Investment Options for Counties as Outlined in S.6323 (Gaughran) / A.7209 (Thiele)
Create an AIM Redesign Task Force by Enacting S.5418-C (Cooney) / A.6601-A (Rivera)
Raise the Age of Juvenile Delinquent Offenses from 7 to 12 by Enacting S.4051 (Bailey) / A.4982 (Hevesi)
Extend the County-wide Shared Services Initiative with New Flexibility S.6445-A (Reichlin-Melnick) / A.7694-A (Lunsford)
Visit www.nysac.org/podcast to tune into NYSAC's weekly podcast series. Episodes are released each Monday morning to kick start the week ahead of you. Each episode features discussions with leaders from across the state that are focused on providing innovative solutions to local issues. Listeners can contact NYSAC Multimedia Specialist Kate Pierce via email (email@example.com) to provide feedback and ideas for the podcast.
Also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify NYSAC News | www.nysac.org
The American Rescue Plan How Much Federal Support is Provided for Counties and How can it be Used? By Dave Lucas, NYSAC Director of Finance and Intergovernmental Affairs
n March of this year President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), which provides $65 billion in direct federal aid to every county in the nation regardless of size. Senate Majority Leader Schumer and counties across the country fought for over a year to pass this legislation. They also fought to ensure counties would receive their funds directly from the federal government and that the funds would be highly flexible as to their use.
The law was designed to provide a lot of flexibility on how funds can be used. Below is the primary list of uses as presented by the U.S. Treasury on its website: •
Support public health expenditures by, for example, funding COVID-19 mitigation efforts, medical expenses, behavioral healthcare, and certain public health and safety staff.
The 57 counties of New York will receive $2.3 billion in federal assistance distributed based on population. New York City will also receive $1.6 billion in federal funds distributed based on population, plus an additional $4.3 billion provided to the City generally based on federal Community Block Grant Development program distribution rules.
Address negative economic impacts caused by the public health emergency, including economic harms to workers, households, small businesses, impacted industries, and the public sector.
Replace lost public sector revenue, using this funding to provide government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue experienced due to the pandemic.
Provide premium pay for essential workers, offering additional support to those who have and will bear the greatest health risks because of their service in critical infrastructure sectors.
Invest in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure by making necessary investments to improve access to clean drinking water, support vital wastewater and stormwater infrastructure, and to expand access to broadband internet.
This is the largest direct transfer of federal funds to counties in our nation’s history. The unique and outsized impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on economic activity and local government costs required a similar response from the federal government. The goal is to help local governments defeat the virus, restore their economies to where they were before the pandemic, and help them build the foundation for a more resilient and sustainable economy and government structure far into the future.
The American Rescue Plan provides $2.28 billion for the 57 counties of New York State. 12
NYSAC News | Summer 2021
The Interim Final Rule was printed in the Federal Register on May 17th and while the actual rule was not that long considering the scope of the legislation, the preamble, which provides context and reasoning for the rule itself, runs over 100 pages. Needless to say, the interim rule generates a lot of questions about what it is really authorizing. Included in the draft rule is a series of nearly 40 questions that the Treasury is seeking more information from recipients on related to improving or expanding the interim guidance. NYSAC, NACo and numerous counties across the state and country will be submitting comments to Treasury officials to ensure the rule maximizes local flexibility without adding administrative burdens.
How Flexible are these Funds? The interim guidance provides flexibility on the use of funds, but generally they expect documentation to show a connection to directly responding to, or alleviating, a negative impact of the pandemic. All use of ARPA funds is subject to single federal audit requirements and counties should prepare accordingly. To the degree counties can document lost public sector revenues this will provide the most flexibility on the use of ARPA funds. The Treasury has put in place a fixed method for calculating lost revenues to ease the administrative burden for local governments. This methodology allows counties to use a 4.1 percent annual growth rate in their revenues for the four years beginning 2020, or the average of their last three years of revenue growth prior to the pandemic, whichever is higher. This initial calculation will generate a baseline of revenues for the county for each fiscal year from 2020 through 2023. At the close of each of these fiscal years a county simply compares their actual revenue received to the baseline revenue established in the initial calculation. If the actual number falls short of the growth trend baseline, a county could claim a revenue loss for that year. In general, the Treasury wants counties to aggregate all general revenues from local sources they receive. This would not include direct federal aid but would include federal aid that is passed through the state. This would generally include all local taxes and fees (except fees derived from utilities such as water and sewer). Any ARPA funds that are identified as replacing lost revenues can be used for just about any government service provided by the county including capital projects (but these must be completed on a cash basis – ARPA funds cannot be used to pay debt service). There are several other categories of spending that are pretty straight forward including infrastructure investments in water, sewer and broadband services that meet certain standards laid out in the rule. Again, capital expenditures for these purposes must be paid without the use of debt service. Along these lines, the interim rule also provides more flexibility on the use of funds when they are targeted toward low-income communities. The Treasury will “presume” that certain services are eligible uses when they are provided in Qualified Census Tracts. This could include: •
Addressing health disparities and social determinants of health such as the remediation of lead paint and other lead hazards.
Supportive housing, expanded homelessness services, and affordable housing development.
Addressing educational disparities such as early learning, tutoring and mental health needs.
Promoting healthy childhood environments such as childcare, home visitation and enhanced services for child welfare-involved families and foster youth.
It is anticipated that the interim rule will change as comments are provided and through the release of future Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that will more fully explain certain sections of the rule. We encourage county officials to regularly check NYSAC’s COVID-19 Recovery page at www.nysac.org/ recovery for updated guidance from the Treasury. Counties have until December 31, 2024, to expend or obligate their ARPA funds for a specified eligible purpose. Funds that are obligated before this date must have a signed contract for services where the project, or services, would be completed by December 31, 2026.
Be Aware of Other Funding Sources Before Dedicating Your ARPA Funds Counties should also consider the numerous other funding sources that are available before dedicating their ARPA funds for a project or services. The state, cities, towns and villages of New York will also be getting ARPA funds and coordinating actions with some of these entities may make sense on certain projects or programs. The federal COVID response bills often increased funding to existing federal programs that doubled or tripled their regular annual appropriation amount. This consideration should also extend to state programs that can be leveraged to support local capital projects such as the REDC program, state and municipal facilities program (SAM), and other economic development and infrastructure programs. While four, or even six, years seems like a long time, counties should not waste any time in reviewing available options and what makes the most sense in your community. If a county is not sure of something they should check with NYSAC, NACo and your congressional representatives for assistance and clarification.
NYSAC News | www.nysac.org
Leveraging Post-Pandemic Opportunities By PJ Wendel, Chautauqua County Executive
he American Rescue Plan (ARP) provides a lifeline and once in a lifetime opportunity to counties and municipalities across the country as we eye the future of a post-pandemic world. Chautauqua County government was able to weather the economic storms of 2020, thanks to proactive measures implemented by our COVID-19 Finance Team. While other counties may need to use ARP funds to get their financial house in order, we are focused on projects and investments that will yield long-term and sustainable impacts for businesses and residents alike. Our team is currently gathering initial ideas and are thinking big by not shying away from complex concepts which may take significant time and effort to yield results. In other words, the team is following the wisdom of ancient Chinese philosopher and writer, Lao Tzu, who said “If you give a hungry man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach him how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” While the Treasury was slow to release detailed guidance, an early theme of discussions among the Chautauqua County ARP Team has been investments in infrastructure and economic development. Much like the rest of the Northeastern United States, Chautauqua County’s infrastructure is timeworn, which results in system unreliability and degraded water quality issues (to name a few). One example of a project that is being contemplated is extending sewer infrastructure around Chautauqua Lake. In recent years, significant progress has been made in this regard, and ARP funds could be critical in completing more of the system. This would remove more outdated septic systems and further reduce the flow of phosphorus into the lake, thereby leading to improved water quality in Chautauqua Lake. As this discussion continues amongst the team members, several other key infrastructure projects are being contemplated that will have long-term impacts on the county. As we emerge from the after-effects of the pandemic, we are realizing that the impacts haven’t all been negative. What has become quite apparent is how quickly businesses and the public have adapted to virtual communication platforms which enable people to work from home. This shift in how we conduct business provides an opportunity for employees to work from home-offices, which could be geographically removed from where they work. We believe Chautauqua County is poised
NYSAC News | Summer 2021
to take advantage of this opportunity due to our low cost of living, abundant natural assets, and extraordinary quality of life; however, a significant challenge in capitalizing on this opportunity is broadband availability. The expansion of broadband in some rural areas has been delayed due to the cost, which is inversely proportional to population density. There is no doubt that investment in broadband would be transformative in Chautauqua County, not only in terms of creating more work-from-home opportunities, but also for current students and young residents that rely heavily on the internet and technology. We have already begun talks with local broadband service providers to explore methods for expanding both fiber and wireless high-speed internet infrastructure to the unserved and underserved segments of the county. In addition to investments in physical infrastructure, we are looking at ways we can support our hospitality and service sectors, who were perhaps the hardest hit by the pandemic. Chautauqua County’s tourism season is typically robust, but a slow reopening and lack of state and federal guidance has resulted in many events being cancelled for a second consecutive year. We feel it is time to think outside of the box to imagine an even better future for this sector. Workforce training and other support programs will also be a central focus of the county in terms of how we best utilize the ARP funding. The lack of workers to fill open positions is an all-too-common theme among the business community, and we are exploring ways to rectify this situation. While there are still many unknowns, both in what a postpandemic world is going to look like and in terms of how we can utilize the ARP funds, Chautauqua County is thinking long-term and big, and is poised to support our residents and businesses in a way that will have a generational impact by launching the county forward.
MEGA brings energy cost savings to your municipality.
Innovative Programs MEGA supports energy cost savings through promotion of energy conservation and access to renewable energy resources.
The Market Power of Hundreds of NYS Municipalities Through bulk purchasing and competitive bidding, MEGA secures the most competitive electricity and natural gas prices for our members .
Controlled Energy Costs We have the experience and expertise to help your organization manage energy costs, painlessly.
Join more than 30 county governments and over 250 municipalities already saving through MEGA's programs.
Learn more at www.megaenergy.org or call 607.376.7200
“ Yates County has benefited from the Municipal Healthcare Financing Collective Partnership with NYSAC. The MHFC has enabled us to self-fund our medical benefits
saving the County over $500,000 in 2020 and also qualifying us for a NYS Shared Services Grant.
I trust that you will consider joining us in this partnership to control our future healthcare costs. It has proven to be a great tool for Yates County.”
Treasurer & County Administrator Yates County To get started, call, Eric Lintala at Alera Group, 585-704-3009, or Mark Lavigne, Deputy Director, NYSAC (518) 465-1473 x206.
Finding Value in Surplus For 30 years Absolute Auction & Realty has been providing New York municipalities professional auction services, finding value in surplus, with outstanding results. In rem tax foreclosures, surplus real estate, vehicles and equipment? Today, as always, results matter.
Professional Solution. Maximizing Results. Industry Leaders.
Absolute Auctions & Realty, Inc. 45 South Ave, Pleasant Valley, NY NYSAC News | Summer 2021 845-635-3169 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Bond Basics for Counties in New York State
Bond Basics for Library Districts and Other Municipal Libraries in New York State
Bond Basics for Towns, Villages and Cities in New York State
Bond Basics for School Districts in New York State
douglas e. goodfriend and thomas e. myers
Bond Basics for Fire Districts in New York State
douglas e. goodfriend and thomas e. myers
douglas e. goodfriend and thomas e. myers
thomas e. myers and douglas e. goodfriend
thomas e. myers and douglas e. goodfriend
The Nation’s Top Public Finance Law Firm Orrick is bond counsel to numerous counties throughout New York State. We provide cost effective and prompt partner attention to all of our clients. Douglas Goodfriend and Thomas Myers have over 60 years of combined experience in public finance matters, and have authored the “Bond Basics” series of primers for counties, towns, villages and cities, school districts, public libraries and fire districts in New York State. To obtain free copies of any of these books, contact email@example.com. Thomas E. Myers
Douglas E. Goodfriend
ORRICK, HERRINGTON & SUTCLIFFE LLP
HOUSTON LOS ANGELES NEW YORK ORANGE COUNTY PORTLAND SACRAMENTO SAN FRANCISCO SEATTLE SILICON VALLEY WASHINGTON, D.C.
firstname.lastname@example.org • www.orrick.com • 51 West 52nd Street | New York, NY 10019-6142 | tel 212-506-5000 Attorney advertising. As required by New York law, we hereby advise you that prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. NYSAC News | www.nysac.org
Westchester Takes a Long View of Historic and Cultural Heritage Tourism By Natasha Caputo , Director, Westchester County Tourism & Film
estchester County, in New York’s Hudson Valley, has more than four dozen historic sites related to the Revolutionary War, so it is already planning how to leverage the upcoming commemoration of the nation’s 250th birthday in 2026. Discussions of the semiquincentennial began as early as 2016, with community leaders, historians and volunteers considering how to present the county’s rich Revolutionary history to local residents and to promote tourism – a key component of regional economic development plans. “Westchester County has a special place in the history of the American Revolution. History – literally – happened in our backyard,” said County Executive George Latimer. “This is a history my administration takes very seriously – which is why we rebuilt the historic Elijah Miller House, where General Washington planned the Battle of White Plains, as an ode to our past and an opportunity to learn from it for future generations. As we approach the 250th anniversary, commemorating and celebrating those events – and the people involved – are both an educational and an economic opportunity.” That opportunity gained new importance after the pandemic shut down travel and most other leisure activities. Boosting the tourism and hospitality sector, an ongoing priority before COVID-19, became essential to rebuilding the broader economy; historic and cultural heritage tourism, tied to the Revolution’s 250th anniversary, will be an important part of the effort. Fortunately, the infrastructure was already in place. Volunteers established a nonprofit, grassroots organization, Revolutionary Westchester 250, to build awareness and enthusiasm for the Revolutionary era history of Westchester County and to coordinate local efforts with state and national activities. It was
NYSAC News | Summer 2021
supported by a working group convened by County Executive Latimer, including representatives of historical and heritage societies and civic organizations, local elected officials, and historians from area colleges and universities. The County Board of Legislators, prompted by Majority Leader MaryJane Shimsky, provided seed funding and a resolution of support in 2020, and additional funds this year. “There are fascinating and significant Revolutionary era sites all across our county,” Shimsky said. “Highlighting them is a winning proposition, not only for 2026, but before and after that year as well.” Among those sites are Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site, a prominent loyalist’s mansion in Yonkers; St. Paul’s Church National Historic Site, a field hospital used by the American, British and Hessian armies in Mount Vernon; Elijah Miller House, George Washington’s headquarters in North White Plains; Odell House, the Comte de Rochambeau’s headquarters in Hartsdale; Pines Bridge, a battle site where many AfricanAmerican soldiers held a key position in Yorktown Heights; and King’s Ferry, a strategic Hudson River crossing in Verplanck. One of the county’s state senators, Shelley B. Mayer, introduced a bill (S.4410A) to create a state commemoration commission to develop a plan for the 250th anniversary, and to qualify for federal funding. “Support from the county government helped the seeds of ‘Revolutionary Westchester 250’ grow,” said Constance M. Kehoe, president and a director of the nonprofit. “The County Executive spoke from the heart about the richness of experiencing local history, the county tourism office understood the potential from day one, and the County Board of Legislators funding came just at the right time.”
Revolutionary Westchester 250 began live programming before the pandemic and continued hosting virtual events over the last 15 months. A county-funded video series, “Explore Westchester County’s Revolutionary War Sites,” has attracted a steady stream of viewers on YouTube; the most popular has been the three-minute history of King’s Ferry at Verplanck’s Point. Presentations by local historical societies and libraries also went online, via Zoom or Facebook. Maps and self-guided tours, great options for safely distanced outdoor activity, were also placed online. More plans are in the works to commemorate the Revolution, and to examine the struggles that followed the Declaration of Independence, with a range of events that will not only engage history buffs, but also expand the potential audience, broadening the age range and increasing the racial, ethnic and economic diversity of participants. Central to meeting that goal will be emphasizing the lesser-known history of the Revolutionary era, including the roles of women, people of color, and even children. That dovetails well with the vision of the national commemoration effort, America 250 – launched by federal legislation in 2016 – to inspire “the American spirit… grounded in our nation’s founding principles, for our continuing journey toward a more perfect union.”
By involving, educating and uniting Westchester County residents and visitors from across the country, Revolutionary Westchester 250 and the county government hope to play a part in bringing Americans together, while also engaging our community and improving our local economy. Natasha Caputo is the director of Westchester County Tourism & Film, the official destination marketing organization for Westchester County, N.Y. Contact her at ncaputo@ visitwestchesterny.com.
Bond serves 165 municipal entities in New York State in areas such as: • municipal law • public finance • litigation • labor and employment • zoning and planning • environmental and energy • tax assessment, condemnation and property valuation
ALBANY BUFFALO GARDEN CITY NEW YORK CITY ROCHESTER SARATOGA SPRINGS SYRACUSE UTICA One Lincoln Center, Syracuse, NY 13202 • 315.218.8000 • BSK.COM NYSAC News | www.nysac.org
BUILDING ON EXPERIENCE
Warren County Group Organizes to Save Summer By Don Lehman Director of Public Affairs for Warren County
n May 2020, when the first phases of COVID-related business re-openings were beginning in upstate New York, a group of Warren County supervisors and business leaders came together for a Zoom meeting on a Monday afternoon to discuss how to salvage the upcoming summer tourism season. It was a daunting task in light of the uncertainty of a worldwide pandemic. Virtually every Monday since, what has become known as the Warren County Hospitality Communications Group has held a virtual meeting that regularly draws two dozen or so people, ranging from county legislators to amusement park management, motel owners to marketing professionals, chambers of commerce leaders to Warren County Tourism Department staff. Glens Falls public relations guru Mark Behan has put in hundreds of hours of pro bono work to lead the group. A year later, after a summer, fall and winter that were better business-wise than most expected, the meetings continue as the summer of 2021 presents new challenges. “We can’t say enough about the impact our Hospitality Communications Group has had in keeping our tourism sector open for business. They were able to provide guidance that soon became a best practice, and as a result of these privatepublic partnerships, Warren County is ready and waiting when the doors open for summer visitors,” said Rachel Seeber, Chairwoman of the Warren County Board of Supervisors. “That preparation played a significant role in making sure the most important season for our tourism economy went as well as possible.” Warren County is home to Lake George, so the summer brings in the lion’s share of an estimated $53 million a year in tourismrelated sales tax revenue and another $4 million in occupancy tax revenue. Tourism also supports jobs for about 25% of the county’s population. But as businesses reopened in spring 2020, the question emerged: How willing to travel would people be amid the uncertainty of the times? While some parts of the state saw large drops in visitor numbers, the Lake George region fared significantly better than expected. Sales tax and bed tax receipts both trended significantly higher than forecast.
NYSAC News | Summer 2021
Many feared a 50% drop in bed tax receipts; instead, as 2020 payments finish up, the decrease amounted to 14%, which included several weeks of lockdown in March, April and May. With belt-tightening, Warren County’s general fund and occupancy tax fund balances grew in a year where many thought they would be depleted amid revenue freefall. “The Lake George region ended up with a far better 2020 tourism season than could possibly have been imagined,” Behan explained. The group worked together to determine that the Lake George Region needed consistent messaging about the adherence to COVID-19 guidelines and orchestrated a well-received sign/ banner campaign focusing on mask use and social distancing. The group also organized media events and discussed how best to use bed tax funds. “Collaboration, at some level, might well have gone on before, but the unprecedented risks posed by the pandemic required a new level of cooperation. It dramatically dismantled old silos,” Behan noted. “We needed a smart, careful, calibrated, integrated response and close coordination to execute it.” The Hospitality Communication Group’s work continued through the fall and winter, helping organize and promote safe activities, including a new “Lake George Winterfest” event. “In Warren County, our private and public sectors were united from the beginning in viewing COVID as both a serious public health challenge and a local economic opportunity. We took the virus – and strategies to mitigate it – seriously, and as a result we were able to promote ourselves as a safe destination,” said Warren County Administrator Ryan Moore. “Consequently, the Lake George region had a successful summer season in 2020 against all odds. Many people who had never been here before visited and found out what we’re about. We look forward to welcoming them back.” As another summer approaches, the Monday afternoon meetings continue, with attention turning to new issues like worker shortages resulting from stalled international worker programs. In fact, many in the group have advocated for permanency to keep the discussions going and the recovery building.
2021 NYSAC Photo Contest Winners
Boldt Castle, Alexandria Bay
Congratulations to each photographer for capturing these beautiful shots in NY Counties. All 62 counties in the state are full of gorgeous scenery and rich history, and NYSAC is proud to highlight them. Courthouse in Binghamton
Jefferson County Photographer: Kyle J. Bourdon
Life in the Mountains, Keene
Photographer: Kelly Fancher
Photographer: Sierra Benjamin
The Ashokan Rail Trail, Shokan
Inspiration Point in Letchworth State Park
Photographer: Kyle J. Bourdon
Photographer: Christy Hibsch
NYSAC News | www.nysac.org
Resilience and Perseverance Tourism Industry in Cayuga County By Karen Kuhl, Executive Director, Cayuga County Office of Tourism
he tremendous toll that COVID-19 took on the tourism industry affected every aspect of the industry in every country in the world, including our own Cayuga County. Stay-at-home orders forced hotels to introduce intensive cleaning protocols or face closure, restaurants had to convert operations to take-out only options, and retailers had to offer online ordering and curbside pickup. Every business had to reinvent and reimagine their entire operational structure and business model to survive. Some businesses are seeing the other side of this very dark tunnel, others had to close permanently, and some realized success during the pandemic thanks to their quick reaction and by adapting to the situation in truly creative ways. Cayuga County is truly among the lucky regions. We’re located in a region filled with amazing natural beauty and devoted residents who stepped up and supported the small businesses in unparalleled ways. Our office is tasked with promoting tourism to Cayuga County from outside the region. Since this was impossible a year ago, we refocused from Tour Cayuga to Our Cayuga, telling the stories of the faces behind the places that make our county such a perfect place to live. Our Cayuga told the stories of the historic and cultural sites that had to identify ways to preserve the integrity of their history while offering tours in a manner that kept staff and visitors safe. What could have been seen as a negative became a more crafted, private, and special experience to each visitor, giving him or her one-on-one time with the museum curators. This turned out to be a dream come true for many history aficionados. Digital outreaches have also helped the museums connect to new audiences, and techniques learned will continue to be applied. Historical and cultural sites are still suffering from significant losses in revenue and it will be a long road to recovery.
NYSAC News | Summer 2021
Our Cayuga craft beverage industry (wineries, breweries, and cideries) suffered due to tasting rooms being closed, which is one of their primary marketing and sales outlets. They had to immediately shift to curbside pickups and other creative efforts to increase their club memberships. Our Cayuga retail businesses had inventory they could not move and had to learn to creatively offer private shopping experiences, adapt to curbside shopping, or strongly market for online sales. Tour Cayuga created a Shop Local video series with a strong social media push to increase awareness of small, family-owned businesses who needed the marketing and promotion the most; the resulting support from Cayuga County residents is something that should make us all very proud. One amazing outcome to spring from these many adaptations is the incredible jump forward in technology and digital presence. Based on research by the software company Adobe, the technological adaptations made in 2020 were equivalent to a 7-year jump in the use of technology. Out of these difficult times emerged amazing stories of resilience and perseverance. We documented some of them through our Reimagining Tourism YouTube series. Despite what the tourism industry has persevered through this year, the Cayuga County Convention and Visitors Bureau (Tour Cayuga) Board of Directors will be presenting the “Tourism Perseverance Awards” during our annual meeting in June. We’re sure 2021 will bring many more changes, but hopefully these will involve more positive experiences and connections with friends, family, and many visitors to help stimulate our economy and make up for lost revenues.
Returning a Sense of Normalcy By Daniel P. McCoy, Albany County Executive
n January 7, I was proud to host our very first COVID vaccination clinic at the county-owned Times Union Center. Utilizing the arena in this way is something our County Department of Health had been preparing for over the years, but seeing the transformation was something surreal. Just five months before then, the arena floor had served as the end zones and field for AFL Arena Bowl XXXII Champions, the Albany Empire. Fast-forward into 2021, and the pandemic had forced us to convert that same floor into a well-oiled vaccination machine with dozens of tables and staff, efficiently moving people through inoculations and into post-vaccine observation. Game day tickets had been replaced by vaccine appointment confirmations. Fans were replaced by residents breathing a collective sigh of relief after a long 10 months of quarantines, masks and social distancing. The one silver lining of having to shut down the Times Union Center to fans was that the arena didn’t go unused. It is one of the few facilities in the area big enough to vaccinate large numbers of people safely. In fact, over the course of one Saturday, we were able to administer nearly 2,200 shots for seniors. We knew the only way we were going to be able to reopen our facility to fans and fully reopen the entire community, was by reaching herd immunity through mass vaccination clinics like this. As of this writing, more than half of Albany County residents have been fully vaccinated and more than 60% have received at least the first dose. Progress is being made, but demand for the shot has slowed, and regulations on mass gatherings and indoor events are being eased. These changes come at a time when you take stock of how expensive it was having to shutter the arena over the last 15 months. In 2019 alone, the Times Union Center had a net income of over $2.5 million – a portion of which is used for essential programs and services. With the arena shuttered for the vast majority of 2020, the arena operated at a net loss of nearly $954,000. We knew closing our doors was necessary to keep people safe and ultimately save lives, but we also had been working behind
the scenes to get ready for when we could reopen. I joined fans in their disappointment when the Arena Football League (AFL) filed for bankruptcy in November 2019 after such an incredible season for Albany, especially after winning our first Arena title since 1999. But instead of accepting defeat, we went out and connected with the National Arena League and brought the Albany Empire back as our home team. On top of that, Albany County has another home team in the FireWolves as part of the National Lacrosse League. These games and all the incredible concerts we have coming up aren’t just about tax revenue for programs and services, though. It’s about returning to a sense of normalcy for our residents. It’s being able to take the family out to dinner and a show, enjoying each other’s company and knowing it’s safe to do so. Having the opportunity to simply go to a game or a concert and socialize does untold good for a person’s mental health and overall wellbeing. It’s also important for breathing life back into downtown Albany after it laid dormant for so long. You have to consider the stress all these business owners are under trying to make ends meet when they’ve relied on the influx of revenue made on those days events are held. The success of the Times Union Center can determine the success of so many of our restaurants, bars and hotels. But when fans return for games and concerts, it won’t be the same as when they left it. We’re adapting to the changing times and looking to make every event at the Times Union Center as special and safe as possible. For example, there’s the new “vaccinated only” section where people in those areas won’t be required to socially distance, and they’ll have their own bathrooms and concession areas. We will use the Excelsior Pass to confirm those who have and have not gotten the shot. But no matter how much different it will be, there will be so much that is the same. We continue to move forward in the right direction, and the light at the end of tunnel keeps getting brighter. NYSAC News | www.nysac.org
Electrification Is the Way Forward: Is Your Fleet Ready? By Michael Hughes, Chief Revenue Officer, Chargepoint
ore and more fleets are going electric. Whether it’s President Biden’s announcement that he intends to electrify the entire U.S. government fleet to run on locally generated clean energy, or Coca-Cola’s largest bottler choosing to go green with its fleet, we’re hearing about new fleet electrification commitments almost daily. As fleets electrify, they bring new requirements for energy pricing. During this Legislative Session, the New York State Legislature passed S.3929 (Kennedy)/A.3876 (Cusick), which would require utilities to develop alternatives to traditional, demand-based electricity rates to support electric vehicle (EV) charging for fleets. Establishing longterm, predictable electricity rates will support the unique needs of public and private-sector fleet operators. Innovative approaches like this are already working in many states, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. If signed by the Governor, S.3929/A.3876 will accelerate fleet electrification in New York and keep the state at the forefront of innovation. Around the world, more than 100 companies have joined the New York–based EV100 movement to commit to fully electric fleets by 2030, for a total of 4.8 million EVs and 6,500 charging spots for these fleets worldwide. As Amazon tests Rivian vans for delivery and Daimler Truck focuses zero-emission vehicles, it’s clearer than ever that fleets and organizations of all types must take electrification seriously or risk being left behind.
SPONSORED C ONTENT
“The City of New York is building the greenest municipal vehicle fleet in the country and will have an all-electric fleet by 2040. As more gas-powered vehicles are replaced with electric vehicles, we will now be able to charge them faster than ever before.” Lisette Camilo, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services As fossil fuel–powered vehicles age, replacing them with EVs is an important investment that pays off with lower total cost of ownership over time. The City of New York's Department of Administrative Services (DCAS) fleet provides a leading example of comprehensive commitment to electrification. The City is developing an appropriate mix of AC charging, which can support most charging needs of municipal fleets, with DC fast charging, which can be used for heavy-duty vehicles or for when a quick turnaround is needed. The City makes some of its fleet charging locations available to the public, highlighting the critical role of fleets in supporting electrification more broadly and the importance of choosing charging solutions that are flexible enough to meet different needs.
Electrification provides both private and public-sector fleets with a wide array of benefits, from meeting ambitious climate requirements to supporting sustainability goals. Perhaps most importantly for fleets, EVs are less expensive to operate and fuel, especially when energy is priced appropriately.
DCAS already has 2,700 electric vehicles in its fleet and anticipates having at least 100 fast charging stations in operation by the end of the year, complementing hundreds of AC charging locations and bringing the city fleet’s total number of charging spots to 1,000. Fleet electrification has already helped the city reduce fuel use by over 2.8 million gallons over three years and reduce maintenance costs by more than $550 per year for each fleet EV.
Additionally, the SFY 2022 NYS Budget includes legislation to increase the amount of the municipal zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) rebate, which counties, cities, towns, and villages can use to purchase or lease clean vehicles. The rebate will now be a minimum of $2,500 per vehicle (previously $750) and a maximum of $7,500 (previously $5,000), making electrification of public-sector fleets more affordable than ever.
Other county and municipal governments in New York State are similarly realizing the benefits of electric transportation. Electric fleet vehicles continue hitting the ground at an unprecedented pace and an assortment of charging solutions keep those vehicles up and running. When public fleet operators choose appropriate EV charging solutions, they can optimize energy use to keep costs down and availability up, realizing the low total cost of ownership that electric vehicles promise. The ample evidence in favor of fleet electrification continues to mount, and the successes of real-world fleets on the ground verify the growing need for it. By signing S.3929/A.3876, Governor Cuomo can help public and private-sector fleet operators overcome the most significant barrier to the deployment of EV charging infrastructure, while giving utilities the flexibility to design electricity rates that work for their unique service territories.
ChargePoint is ready to help support fleets in New York make the shift to electric. Contact us for a free fleet readiness assessment or check out our free industry report to build the case for electrification. 24
NYSAC News | Summer 2021
NYSAC Thanks the Sponsors of the 2021Virtual Finance School FEATURED SPONSOR three+one
Absolute Auctions & Realty, Inc. James McGuinness & Associates
SILVER SPONSORS NYMIR PERMA PKF O'Connor Davies, LLP Roosevelt & Cross Incorporated Venesky and Company
EVENT SPONSORS Auctions International, Inc. Drescher & Malecki LLP Fiscal Advisors & Marketing, Inc. M&T Bank NBT Bank Systems East, Inc. For contact information and to find out more about what these companies do, visit our website at: www.nysac.org/financeschool
NYSAC News | www.nysac.org
NYSAC News | Summer 2021
Counties Document Pandemic Experience in Our Darkest Hours
ast October, New York State County Executives Association (NYSCEA) commissioned the creation of a book to document and share the hard lessons learned during this once-in-a-century public health crisis. Our Darkest Hours: New York County Leadership & the COVID Pandemic provides riveting first-person accounts of the struggle, triumph, and pain that local leaders faced as they worked to protect their residents from COVID-19. It also analyzes the public policy behind the fractured federal and state response to the pandemic and explores the economic impact of New York on Pause, the unprecedented state executive powers, and the diminution of local home rule. Following the release of the book in June, we sat down with two of its co-authors, NYSAC Executive Director Stephen Acquario, and Deputy Director Mark LaVigne to talk about the book, and what it was like to chronicle this unprecedented chapter of county government history.
Why did you decide to write this book? Stephen Acquario: There were conversations that started happening in early September in preparation for the October meeting of the County Executives’ Association. I spoke with NYSCEA outgoing president Albany County Executive Dan McCoy and incoming president Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro and they both wanted to put it on the meeting agenda. Then when we were in the meeting, the county executives had a robust discussion about what they were doing locally, how they were all managing the emergency in their communities, and the importance of telling this story for current and future county leaders. Across the board they felt that it was important archive and preserve the lessons learned, what worked well, and what could be improved or changed in future emergencies, whether they are public health or any other emergency. Mark LaVigne: The book made sense as an extension of the work we had been doing since the beginning of the pandemic. NYSAC had started a NY Counties Lead campaign to demonstrate and document what counties were doing at the local level to protect residents, stand up testing sites, conduct contact tracing, and reopen their economies. This is a book about our members and how they tackled an incredibly challenging time in their leadership tenure. What inspired the title for the book? SA: One of the first titles we came up with was Our Finest Hours, but when you look at what happened, that title did not capture the severity of the situation. We lost more than 50,000 New Yorkers to this pandemic. Our county leaders worked day and night for more than a year. It was still a difficult time for them. It was a devastating time for the thousands of families that lost loved ones. We wanted to capture the gravity of the moment. Our Darkest Hours, was a term used to describe the early days of World War II and the threat against Europe and the British Empire, before those leaders rallied to victory over the coming years. ML: I can speak to the subtitle. We started looking at all of the new books being written about the COVID-19 pandemic and we wanted to capture the essence of the book using the keywords that most people would use to search for leadership books of the time. New York was the epicenter of the global pandemic for several months, and our county leaders were on the front lines, doing everything in their power to protect residents. I think we captured it very well with New York County Leadership and the COVID Pandemic.
NYSAC News | Summer 2021
How did you capture the data and narratives of the book? SA: Part one of the book comes directly from the written or oral histories submitted by county executives to document what happened in their county. These riveting first-person accounts provide a glimpse into the fear, struggle, triumph, and pain that local leaders faced as they worked to protect their residents from an invisible and insidious enemy. ML: It was October, November and December. We knew that the county executives were busy. They were all working 24/7. We wanted to make it as easy as we could, so we offered them choices. They could video record themselves talking about what happened since March, we could interview them, or they could write out their stories. We received submissions in each of these formats. So much of the response to COVID was not visible to the public. Can you give an example of some of the unseen things county executives did in response to COVID that stood out to you. SA: These individuals went above and beyond what they signed up for, or what they expected they would be doing as a county leader. They were making life and death decisions about their families, friends, neighbors, residents, and workforce. It doesn’t get more serious than that. They lost family members and friends, and they were doing their best to protect the most vulnerable individuals in their communities. ML: Counties have the responsibility of making sure emergency responders had proper personal protective equipment. Some counties had enough, other counties didn’t. They got on the phone, either through NYSAC or directly, and they shared PPE so that those on the front lines could continue to serve our citizens knowing they were protected. What were you most surprised to learn in the course of writing this book? SA: I don’t know that I would say that I’m surprised, but it reinforced for me how resilient and innovative all of our county leaders were during this time. They worked within and around constraints to get done what needed to get done to protect lives. We need a centralized store of PPE, and if we don’t have enough, then the procurement should be centralized so that governments are not competing with each other, driving the price up and creating winners and losers.
We need to invest in a system of regional laboratories so that we can process tests in a more timely manner. We have technologies that can help us test wastewater to anticipate where waves of positive cases are on the rise. We should be using those technologies to improve our understanding of public health even in non-pandemic times. ML: Consistent communication is critical for trusting our public health experts. We all had a single, overarching enemy in this pandemic – that was the virus. Defeating that enemy should have been single focus from the top, down. Instead, there were so many fractured messages coming out of Washington and Albany that the public, and even county leaders, were often confused about who was in charge and what was the best course of action. Who are you hoping will read this book? SA: There are a couple of audiences for this book. One is the public health and policy experts at the local, state and federal levels. This book is a great recap of what happened and what needs to be remembered so we don’t repeat mistakes that happened. The second audience is a general audience, or the public. These are incredible stories told by county leaders who were the onsite incident commanders in the war against this virus. The third audience is for academics, the professors and researchers who study and teach public policy and public health so that our next generation of leaders is well equipped to deal with a national, state, or local public health emergency. ML: I can’t say it any better than that. Are there particular lessons that you hope future leaders learn from what happened in 2020? SA: Counties have pandemic plans. They have relationships with all of the various groups in their communities. We need to rely on their expertise and proximity to the people that they serve at the local level. ML: Communicate, communicate, communicate. The people in charge at the federal, state, and local levels need to be meeting, talking, and making joint decisions that address the unique needs of each respective community. This is a big state and a big country, and there are ways to address the various differences across the state. One size does not fit all. There could have been more flexible alternatives that could have offered the right levels of protection for all New Yorkers.
NYSAC News | www.nysac.org
NYSAC Thanks the Sponsors of the 2021 Virtual Legislative Conference FEATURED SPONSORS
PERMA PKF O'Connor Davies, LLP SMRT Architects and Engineers Zencity
Eaze Technologies, Inc. Equitable NYMIR Zencity
CLOSING PLENARY SPONSOR
EMERGENCY MGMT TRAINING SPONSOR
Calcaterra Pollack LLP
FirstNet Built with AT&T
CPL NTS Data Services, LLC
LOBBY DAY SPONSOR
NYS Industries for the Disabled
GOLD SPONSORS Airbnb Alera Group
Municipal Electric & Gas Alliance
Roemer Wallens Gold & Mineaux LLP
COMMITTEE MEETING SPONSORS Absolute Auctions & Realty Barton & Loguidice C&S Companies KeyBanc Capital Markets LaBella Associates NACo’s Professional Development Academy VMC Consultants Inc.
EVENT SPONSORS Auctions International Inc. LaBella Associates Wendel
For contact information and to find out more about what these companies do, visit our website at: www.nysac.org/legislativeconference
TODAY- ONLINE IS THE LIFELINE TO BUSINESS SUCCESS Auctions International can be your connection!
We’re no stranger to online solutions. As NYS’s largest volume online auction provider for municipal agencies, we have been connecting surplus vehicles and equipment to the right virtual audience for almost 20 years. Our hassle free, contact free service is risk and cost free- yielding 25%-40% higher returns.
Contact us today: 1.800.536.1401 Our virtual equipment showroom features: Heavy Equipment | Fleet Vehicles | Plow Trucks | Mowers | Real Estate
NYSAC News | Summer 2021
For more than 20 years, NYSTEC has proudly served as a trusted advisor to government en��es at every level, helping our clients envision how their opera�ons can be transformed by technology. NYSTEC understands and appreciates a county’s commi�ment to opera�onal eﬀec�veness, ci�zen access, technology quality and cost eﬃciency. Our OGS contract makes it easy for coun�es to engage us quickly. NYSTEC county services include: • Strategic Roadmap Plan for an Improved Emergency Opera�ons Center. • Cybersecurity Risk Assessments and Evalua�ons of Networks and Infrastructure. • Mul�ple-Phase Rollouts of Wireless and Public Safety Communica�on Systems. • Independent Veriﬁca�on & Valida�on (IV&V) Review. • Technology and Vendor Proposal Evalua�ons. • Next-Gen 911 and Emergency Management Consul�ng.
We’re independent and completely vendor-neutral—so our clients’ best interests come ﬁrst. Always.
To Complex Technology Projects
INTRODUCING A FINANCIAL SERVICES COMPANY THAT’S HELPED PEOPLE LOOK AHEAD FOR 160 YEARS.
equitable.com Equitable is the brand name of the retirement and protection subsidiaries of Equitable Holdings, Inc., including Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company (Equitable Financial) (NY, NY); Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company of America (Equitable America), an AZ stock company with main administrative headquarters in Jersey City, NJ; and Equitable Distributors, LLC. Equitable Advisors is the brand name of Equitable Advisors, LLC (member FINRA, SIPC) (Equitable Financial Advisors in MI & TN). The 160-year history reference applies exclusively to Equitable Financial. GE-3306713 (10/20) (Exp. 10/22) | G1126023
Advice • Protection • Retirement NYSAC News | www.nysac.org
Out of COVID, Local Governments Emerge United and Ready to Lead By New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
everal weeks ago, I had the pleasure of getting together with some of my colleagues in local government for a meeting of the New York State County Executives’ Association. Just the fact that we were able to get together was an example that progress is happening, that things are changing, and it’s because everyone worked so hard to make it that way. This is a story that needs to be told. The fact is, something extraordinary happened in this last year because people worked together. All those notions that we get told all the time—that we can't work together across regional lines or party lines—were disproved through our actions. I want to tell this story very quickly in three parts: past, present, and future. The county executives of this state were heroic fighting COVID. We all came together, and fought together, and struggled together. But it was not only COVID that brought us together. This is the past that needs to be understood; we were already engaged. Sometimes it was to stop things that were not fair to our people, like when the State of New York tried to foist Medicaid costs on us in a way that was unsupportable. We all banded together. It didn't matter if you were a Democrat or a Republican, upstate, or downstate, we banded together.
When the MTA tried to take away our local landuse rights, we banded together. This was well before COVID. When COVID struck, we found a deeper kind of common cause. We needed each other. We needed to hear each other, think together, innovate together. Sometimes we cried on each other's shoulders because we were all going through so much. What we saw over this last year was a model of what leadership should be in this state and beyond: people coming together in a true sense of fellowship and common purpose. That's what we experienced, and it helped to save lives. Present – the present to me is very clear, and I send this message respectfully to all our colleagues and all our friends in the State Legislature. We need to restore democracy in the State of New York. We need to restore local control. It's time. As we rightfully celebrate the progress against COVID, that progress also sends a signal: restore to localities our ability to do our job fully and navigate what we must do now for our people. We are closest to our people. We hear our people. We meet them in the supermarket on the corner. We understand and we need to be able to do our jobs again fully.
NYSAC News | Summer 2021
Future – the future is recovery. Everywhere I go, I sense the incredible spirit that is present in this state. We are all talking about what's next with energy and with hope. There's an incredible sense that recovery is happening and we're going to go someplace together. But it requires all of us to have a different mindset. We must put COVID behind us. We must stop thinking through the lens of COVID, because we're defeating COVID. We’ve got to start envisioning what we're all going to do together in a new and better situation. That's our future. Our future is not to be mired. As we continue to talk about things opening up and all the ways that we are going to bring people back to a better, a more normal life, we as leaders have to show that that path can and will be done. In conclusion, I want to say thank you to all my colleagues in local government. I feel truly honored to count myself among your ranks because you fought through this war, and you won, and you were there for your people when it mattered most no matter what was thrown at you. Together, we are going to take this partnership forward for the good of all New Yorkers. This article was adapted from remarks delivered to the June 2021 meeting of the New York State County Executives’ Association.
At Nationwide®, participant priorities are our priorities. From enrollment through retirement, our people, tools and education support participants so they can confidently make smart decisions.
To find out more, contact: Brendan Morrison - Program Director 617-686-8990 email@example.com www.nrsforu.com
Nationwide, through its affiliated retirement plan service and product providers, has endorsement relationships with the National Association of Counties and the International Association of Fire Fighters-Financial Corporation. More information about the endorsement relationships may be found online at www.nrsforu.com. Nationwide and its agents, representatives and employees are prohibited by law from offering investment, legal or tax advice and do not do so. Please consult with your tax or legal advisor before making any decisions about plan matters. Retirement Specialists are registered representatives of Nationwide Investment Services Corporation, member FINRA, Columbus, Ohio. Nationwide and the Nationwide N and Eagle are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. © 2020 Nationwide
NYSAC News | www.nysac.org
Meeting Procurement Needs, Safeguarding Communities Essential Services & Products
• Janitorial/Sanitizing • Grounds Maintenance • Data Imaging • Purell Sanitizers, Face Shields, Masks, and More
Contact Katie Tucci at 800-221-5994 firstname.lastname@example.org www.nysid.org 34
NYSAC News | Summer 2021
WE’VE GOT YOU COVERED!
KNOWLEDGE OF MUNICIPAL OPERATIONS
g Yo u Si nc
R I M Y N
ty i r o i r p p o r t u o is y t i l ipa c i n u m r u yo g
n i r u s In
w York State Ne
io n of C o u
NYSAC News | www.nysac.org
MEETING NEW CHALLENGES
Key Provisions from the MRTA What is in the Law for Local Governments
By NYS Office of Cannabis Management
What is in the Law n March 31, 2021, Governor Cuomo signed into law the Local Governments Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), which
provides a framework for creating a regulated, inclusive adult-use cannabis industry in New York State. Many provisions 21, Governor Cuomo Marihuana & Taxation Act of Andrew the MRTA willsigned impactthecounties andRegulation municipalities, including use cannabis (also known as marijuana, or recreational marijuana) in New York those that outline the local opt-out, taxation, and revenue ation creates a new Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) governed by a distribution. l Board to oversee and implement the law (collectively referred to as “OCM”). The
censes and develop regulations outlining how and when business can participate The following information is sourced from a fact sheet try. The OCM will also oversee the State’s existing Medical Marijuana Program and published byregulated the newly Office of Management mp Program, previously bycreated the Department of Cannabis Health.
(OCM) to summarize key provisions of the MRTA that will
localwhich officials. will below is a impact collectionlocal of keygovernments provisions from and the MRTA impact NYSAC local d local officials. For additional information or to contact the New OfficeYork’s of Cannabis monitor and update our members about budding ease visit our websiteindustry at: www.cannabis.ny.gov or e-mail us cannabis as the state continues itsat: work to implement . the MRTA.
d villages can opt-out of allowing adult-use cannabis retail dispensaries or on-site enses fromCities, locatingtowns, within their however, municipalities cannot optandjurisdictions; villages can opt-out of allowing adult-use egalization. Possession and use of cannabis by adults 21 years of age or older is cannabis retail dispensaries or on-site consumption licenses k State.
from locating within their jurisdictions; however, municipalities cannot opt-out of dispensaries adult-use legalization. Possession and use wing adult-use cannabis retail or on-site consumption licenses, a of cannabis by adults 21 years of age or older is legal in New York t pass a local law by December 31, 2021. This means that if a municipality has a local law State. or resolution prohibiting adult-use cannabis licensees from operating
the municipality will have to pass a new local law conforming to the opt-out ToMRTA opt-out allowing adult-use cannabis retail dispensaries or tlined in the if theofmunicipality still chooses to opt-out.
on-site consumption licenses, a municipality must pass a local
oes not opt-out by December 31, 31, 2021, the municipality will be unable opt-out at a law by December 2021. This means that if a tomunicipality ever, at anyhas timealready a municipality mayaopt back in, to adult-useprohibiting retail dispensaries passed local law orallow resolution adultnsumption licenses, by repealing the local law which established the prohibition.
use cannabis licensees from operating in its jurisdiction, the willadult-use have to retail pass adispensaries new local law to the ay choose municipality to opt-out of both and conforming on-site consumption opt-out requirements outlined in the MRTA if the municipality ne type of license (e.g. allow retail dispensaries but not on-site consumption chooses to opting opt-out. palities arestill prohibited from out of other adult-use license types from
ating within their jurisdiction. Additionally, municipalities are prohibited from opting a municipality does not opt-out bypasses December the annabis or If cannabinoid hemp license types. If a town a local31, law 2021, to opt-out, municipality bevillage unablewithin to opt-out at aCounty futuregovernments date. However, e area of the town outsidewill of any the town. are opt-out of at anyany adult-use types. may opt back in, to allow adult-use time alicense municipality
retail dispensaries and/or on-site consumption licenses, by
ting out of repealing adult-use retail or on-site consumption licenses will be the dispensaries local law which established the prohibition. missive referendum as outlined in section 24 of the Municipal Home Rule Law. This hin the municipality to petition whether or not to approve the local law.
Local Control and Preemption 1
Towns, cities and villages are permitted to pass local laws and regulations governing the time, place and manner of adult-use retail dispensaries and on-site consumption licenses, provided such laws and regulations do not make the operation of the license unreasonably impracticable. For example, cities, towns, 36
NYSAC News | Summer 2021
and villages may pass laws and regulations pertaining to local zoning and the location of licensees, hours of operations and adherence to local building codes. Municipalities may not issue or require local licenses for cannabis businesses.
Notification to municipalities At least 30 days prior to applying for an adult-use retail dispensary or on-site consumption license, an applicant must notify the municipality of the applicant’s intent to apply for such license. The notification must be made to the clerk of the village, town, or city, or if in the city of New York, the community board in which the proposed premise is located. When the municipality expresses an opinion for or against the granting of the license, the opinion shall be deemed part of the record and used by the OCM to determine whether to grant or deny the application. The Cannabis Control Board must then respond in writing to the city, town, village, or community board, with an explanation of how such opinion was considered in the granting or denial of an application.
Adult-Use Taxation The MRTA establishes three taxes on adult-use cannabis. First, there is a tax imposed on the distributor based on the milligrams (mg) of total THC in the product. There are different rates of tax depending on the cannabis product form. •
Edibles (e.g. food and beverages) are taxed at $0.03 per mg of total THC
Concentrates (e.g. vaporization oil, wax, shatter, and resin) are taxed at $0.008 per mg of total THC
Cannabis flower (e.g. loose flower, pre-rolls, or shake) are taxed at $.0005 per mg of total THC
The mg per total THC tax accrues at the sale from a distributor to a retail dispensary and is paid to the State by the distributor. If the distributor is also the licensed retailer, such as a microbusiness or registered organization, the tax accrues at the time of the retail sale. Second, there is a state excise tax imposed on the sale of cannabis products by a retail dispensary to a cannabis consumer at 9% of the products’ price.
Third, there is a local excise tax imposed on the sale of cannabis products by a retail dispensary to a cannabis consumer at 4% of the products’ price. This tax is distributed to local governments based on where the retail dispensary is located. Twentyfive percent (25%) of the tax revenue goes to the county and 75% goes to the cities, town, or villages within the county as a proportion of cannabis sales. If a town and a village within the town both allow adult-use sales, the revenue shall be distributed based upon a distribution agreement between the town and village. If no such agreement exists, then the revenue distribution between the town and village shall be divided evenly.
Home Cultivation of Cannabis
Home cultivated cannabis cannot be sold to anyone and is only intended for personal use.
Adult-Use Tax Revenue Distribution
The use of compressed gas solvents, such as propane or butane, to process or extract home cultivated cannabis, will not be allowed.
Local municipalities may enact and enforce regulations relating to home cultivation of cannabis, provided no municipality may completely ban or prohibit home cultivation.
All adult-use cannabis taxes are deposited in the New York State Cannabis Revenue Fund. After upfront costs, the remaining tax revenue is distributed into three separate funds: •
40% to the State Lottery Fund for education.
40% to the Community Grants Reinvestment Fund to issue grants to non-profit and community-based organizations in communities disproportionally impacted by cannabis prohibition, and other social equity initiatives.
20% to the Drug Treatment and Public Education Fund to development and implement statewide public education campaigns and provide substance use disorder treatment programs for youth and adults.
New Yorkers 21 years of age and older can grow up to 6 cannabis plants in their home for personal use (3 mature plants and 3 immature plants) and a maximum of 12 plants per household (6 mature plants and 6 immature plants). Please be aware the home cultivation of cannabis is not allowed immediately. Cannabis plants must be kept in a secure place and not accessible to any person under 21.
Personal Possession Adults over 21 can possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis and 24 grams of concentrated cannabis (like vaporization oil or an edible). Personal possession over the legal limit and the unauthorized sale of any amount of cannabis is illegal and subject to penalties.
LetsGetChecked can help prevent, control, and monitor the spread of diseases in your population with: Custom, innovative solutions for every community Convenient testing and discreet condition management Certified labs and a vertically integrated supply chain
Driving better outcomes, together
Learn more at LetsGetChecked.com Thomas Carey | TCarey@LetsGetChecked.com
NYSAC News | www.nysac.org
The Right Size For County Legislatures? It All Depends. By Gerald Benjamin, Emeritus Founding Director - The Benjamin Center
pon his reelection as chair of the Dutchess County Legislature this January, Gregg Pulver noted with pride the county's recent record of government reform and proposed to continue to build upon it. “Reapportionment, term limits and ethics reforms mean that we operate under the trifecta of good government,” Pulver said, “and further restructuring of the legislature may be up for discussion this year.” By “restructuring” one thing he meant was making the 25-member body smaller. “[D]ownsizing and other changes,” Pulver said, “would provide a more streamlined and efficient government for the people.” The legislative downsizing idea has been around; it is not new to the Hudson Valley. Just over a year ago, in 2019, a bipartisan group of Ulster County legislative leaders sought a charter change to cut the size of their legislature from 23 to 21 members. It is also not just idle talk, there's been some action in reducing the size of county legislatures in New York State. Ulster County reduced the number of its legislators from 33 to 23 when it effected its first charter in 2012. Other counties that have reduced their legislative size within the last decade include, Broome, from 19 to 15 members in 2013; Niagara, from 19 to 15 members in 2012; Oneida, from 29 to 23 members in 2014; and Onondaga, from 19 to 17 members in 2012.
Reducing the size of the county legislature has also been seriously debated in recent years in Albany and Monroe counties. Why are our county legislatures such different sizes? Would smaller (or bigger) be better? Is there such as thing as one “right size”? These questions keep coming up because they have no easy answers. As founder James Madison wrote in Federalist 55, “[N]o political problem is less susceptible of a precise solution than that which relates to the number most convenient for a representative legislature.” Unlike the case for towns, villages and school districts boards, there is no specification of alternatives for county legislature size in New York state law. Nor are there standards that guide local choice. The result is great variety. Currently, New York has 41 counties with legislatures; the smallest has 7 members (Franklin, Orleans), the largest 39 (Albany). Six legislatures have 9 members (Genesee, Montgomery, Putnam, Schuyler, Sullivan and Tioga), seven have 15 (Allegheny, Broome, Cayuga, Chemung, Jefferson, St. Lawrence, Schenectady). The average number of members in counties with legislatures is 16, the median 15. Albany's legislature is the largest, Monroe is second largest. Dutchess and Oswego follow with 25, then Ulster with 23. More populous counties tend to have large legislatures, yet the body in Erie – where organized effort has kept the question of local government size regularly before the public - functions with just 11 members. One explanation for this variety in the size of county boards may be found in the history of county governance in New York. Counties were traditionally run by boards of supervisors comprised of the supervisor of each town, augmented in counties with cities by one supervisor elected in each ward of each city.
County with Board of Supervisors County with Legislature
NYSAC News | Summer 2021
When the U.S. Supreme Court decided in Avery v. Midland County in 1968 that its one-person-one-vote standard applied to general purpose local governments, some counties retained their boards of supervisors (and still do) using weighted voting to comply with the court's equal representation requirement. However, 38 counties created legislatures, with members elected from single or multi-member districts. In the transition, many – Ulster is one example, Albany another - retained the same number of members for the legislature that had been in place for the Board of Supervisors. Others, Franklin for example, seized the occasion to downsize significantly and decreased their board from 19 members to 7 in 1970.
significantly sized minority populations becomes required by the NY state voting rights act now under consideration in Albany. COST
Partisan advantage and consideration for incumbents were no doubt factors in county decisions regarding board size, though rarely overtly argued. Then, as now, proponents of reducing county legislative size usually made their case on good government grounds. They said that downsizing will bring the county in question into line with comparable others, reduce the cost of government, improve representativeness, advance political competition, and make each legislator and the legislature generally stronger in the separation of powers system. Defenders of the status quo respond that larger legislatures result in smaller district size, enhancing representativeness and demographic diversity in the legislative body. They say too that larger more populous counties require bigger legislatures to develop the specialization and expertise in committee systems needed for effective governance. Let's take a look at a few of these metrics in further detail. REPRESENTATIVENESS Representation is a complex concept, not easily measured. It is certainly not limited to constituent service. But one argument suggests that more legislators mean fewer constituents per legislator, and therefore a greater quantity of “representation” available per constituent. The number of persons represented by each county legislator in New York in 2019 varied widely, from 2,615 (Lewis) to 83,611 (Erie). A legislator in Dutchess County has 11,749 constituents. If Dutchess reduced the size of its legislature to the state average of 16, each member would have 18,357 constituents. This would make its districts almost the same in size as Orange County (18,188), and eighth in population size in the state. In general, the reduction in the number of legislative seats in Dutchess and other counties does not appear to result in district populations of unmanageable size. Reflecting demographic diversity in the legislature is a more significant aspect of representation. If minority populations are geographically concentrated and district size is smaller, the election of minority group members to the legislature is more likely. This will become of even greater importance if preclearance of structural changes in local government with
Legislators in most counties serve part-time for little pay. A detailed study of Erie County local governments done in 2009 showed that projected annual savings from cutting board sizes were minimal. Legislators are paid $16,391 annually in Dutchess and $14,000 in Ulster. Even if the salary numbers are doubled, to factor in the value of a legislators' benefit packages, the total impact of reducing the size Dutchess and Ulster County Legislatures to the state average would be $295,038 and $196,000, respectively. This is .06% of Dutchess's and .05% of Ulster's 2021 budget. Costs are not significantly cut by reducing legislative size. GOVERNANCE Five member boards govern most counties in the United States. Five, seven or nine member boards in New York State govern cities, towns and school districts with far larger budgets and greater numbers of employees than most counties. Big budgets don't require big legislatures. But a legislature does need to be of sufficient size so that its members may effectively deliberate on controversial matters. Also, enough members are needed to staff committees of reasonable size. This allows part-time elected officials – and they are part-time in most counties - to share the work while developing the expertise to make policy and oversee its implementation in an informed way in a substantial range of substantive areas. Smaller bodies are more efficient, in that fewer agreements are required to achieve majority outcomes. Also, smaller bodies empower individual members. Each is more probable to have the decisive vote in closely contested situations. In separation of powers systems like those operating in Dutchess and Ulster counties, the size of the legislature may affect the balance in its relationship with the elected executive. One reason given for the proposed reduction of the Ulster County legislature was to make it easier to assemble the required 2/3's majority to override executive vetoes. The sponsorship of this resolution by legislative leaders of both parties suggested that it was motivated by institutional, not partisan goals. In conclusion, James Madison noted that, “The truth is, that in all cases a certain number at least seems to be necessary to secure the benefits of free consultation and discussion, and to guard against too easy a combination for improper purposes; as, on the other hand, the number ought at most to be kept within a certain limit, in order to avoid the confusion and intemperance of a multitude.” Or to put it differently: What's the right size for a county legislature? It's a matter of balancing values. So…it all depends.
NYSAC News | www.nysac.org
Census Efforts Help to Avoid Projection of the Loss of Two Congressional Seats By Jeff Behler, Regional Director of the New York Region, U.S. Census Bureau
uring the release of the 2020 Census apportionment counts on April 26, the U.S. Census Bureau announced the state of New York’s resident population grew by 4.2% or 823,147 residents from 2010 to 2020. This compares to a national population increase of 22,703,743 or 7.4% during that same period. Despite the projection that New York would possibly lose two congressional seats, and due to the tremendous efforts of partner organizations throughout the state, New York will only possess one less seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, totaling 26 seats. New York state was shy of keeping the additional seat by just 89 residents (assuming all other state counts remained the same). This news marks the culmination of years of preparation and a solid engagement effort to ensure every state resident is counted once, only once, and in the right place. Despite the challenges of a global pandemic and limitations on the person-to-person interactions New York is known for, residents worked in creative ways to have their family members, neighbors, and community get counted. Census Bureau staff were invited to participate at community events, hosted by trusted community voices, that ranged from food distribution drive-thrus and food pantries to “family reunions.” Every effort was made to leverage technologies and new ways to self-respond (online, by phone, and by mail), to make the 2020 Census the most accessible and accurate count in history.
Redistricting With national and statewide data already in the public domain, the next major release by the Census Bureau will be local data used for redistricting. Local data is produced and formatted based on the state’s local geography needs. Public Law (P.L.) 94-171, enacted by Congress in December 1975, requires the Census Bureau to provide states the opportunity to identify the small area geography for which they need data to conduct legislative redistricting. The Bureau then provides tabulations of population to each state, including for those small areas the states have identified. These data are scheduled to be released by September 30.
Important to note, New York State law outlines the process of creating new district boundaries for both congressional and legislative districts. A separate, independent redistricting commission is involved in the redistricting process. While the Census Bureau produces the count of residents in a particular area, the agency’s role in redistricting ends there.
2021 Data Summit Series While the apportionment count and redistricting are significant announcements, Census results are also used for other important purposes. For example, schools often report on their student population as well as the community where they are located. Businesses use Census data to make decisions about where to locate, expand existing ventures, or readjust their strategy. Nonprofit organizations use Census data to understand their community by the numbers and inform grant applications. To make accessing this data easier for these partners and the public at large, the Bureau has launched the 2021 Data Summit Series. While each Summit focuses on a particular set of data, each is open to any individual or organization interested in learning more. The following Summits are scheduled for the remainder of the summer:
Upcoming Data Summits 7/13/2021 • Census Bureau Data About Persons with Disabilities and Aging Populations 7/15/2021 • Data about Race, Ethnicity and Ancestry 7/20/2021 • Assessing Community Health Needs: American Community Survey Data and Census Bureau Data for Healthcare Professionals 7/22/2021 • Early Childhood–Census Bureau Data Source 7/29/2021 • Census Bureau Data for Emergency Management 8/10/2021 • Census Bureau Data for Migrant Workers
NYSAC News | Summer 2021
For more information about the 2021 Data Summit Series, or for information on how to register, please contact us at New. York.RCC.Partnership@2020census.gov, or call 212-882-2130.
Two Noteworthy Takeaways Of the many takeaways from the 2020 Census, two are especially noteworthy. The first is that the Census Bureau manages over 130 surveys and programs and continues operating even when the decennial operation is complete. This fact is noteworthy because the Census Bureau remains a data resource and partner throughout the decade, ready to connect researchers, students, entrepreneurs, and everyday individuals with the quality data they need to make important decisions. Data are only numbers until they are used to create the change you want to see. The second noteworthy takeaway is that success in achieving an accurate count is always dependent on the efforts of the community. The efforts of all New York residents, from the governor, secretary of state, State Complete Count Commission, complete count committees throughout the state, neighbors, business owners and everyone in between made the difference.
Help is on the way for governments and agencies at the state and local level! The American Rescue Plan Act brings significant relief to a sector hit particularly hard throughout the pandemic. And with relief, comes increased regulation. PKF O’Connor Davies has more than 60 years of experience in assisting the public sector maintain compliance with the complexities of federal program requirements and ensuring that internal controls are ready for the heightened demands. The PKF O’Connor Davies Public Sector Team. Know greater service. Know greater strategy. Know greater confidence. Nicholas DeSantis, Partner David Gannon, Partner Scott Oling, Partner 914-421-5600
NYSAC News | www.nysac.org
At ProAct, we empower employers to get more out of their prescription drug benefit by providing innovative and customizable plans. Our primary focus is our commitment to the highest level of member and client service. Lots of PBMs say it – but we prove it every day with a culture built around caring, partnership, and responsiveness. Call us today for a customized solution for your u pharmacy benefit plan: (888) 254–3552
Learn more at: proactbenefits.com u
The only PBM headquartered in New York State
As we continue forward through these unprecedented times, we remain focused on providing the needed pharmaceutical and healthcare services to the New York counties close to home as well as countless communities nationwide.
Let's keep moving forward together.
Your Fully Integrated Pharmacy Benefit Manager
PFAS Drinking Water Standards Formally Adopted by NYS Dept. of Health By David S. Glass, PE, PG, TRC, Senior Vice President National Practice Leader ECR East
n August 26, 2020, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) formally adopted drinking water standards or maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), specifically for perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), at 10 parts per trillion (ppt) for each chemical. With the formal adoption of these standards, public water systems in New York were required to begin regular testing and monitoring for PFOA and PFOS.
PFAS in the Environment For over 70 years PFAS compounds have been developed and manufactured for a wide range of products and applications with unique physical and chemical properties to repel water and oil, reduce friction, resist heat and extinguish chemical and petroleum fires, to name a few. Among the properties that make PFAS desirable and useful in consumer and industrial products are properties that make PFAS challenging in the environment. Many PFAS have chemical structures that are durable and resistant to breakdown, which allows PFAS to persist in the environment. The primary exposure risk for humans is through eating or drinking PFAS-contaminated materials, such as contaminated drinking water or food.
Present and Future Actions to Address PFAS The worldwide, human-made problem of PFAS requires complex solutions and a holistic and broad-based management approach, including source reduction, phasing out the most dangerous PFAS in non-essential and substitutable products, establishing science-based, media-specific standards, and continued scientific research. Currently, PFAS impacts to drinking water are typically removed by public water systems through granulated activated carbon treatment, which is a NYSDOH-approved technology. While effective, operation and maintenance, including carbon replacement, can result in significant annual costs. Other effective and proven technologies used in other parts of the United States, such as ion exchange or reverse osmosis, should be considered in coordination with regulatory authorities, by New York State communities as potential cost-effective alternatives. The NYSDOH and the Environmental Facilities Corporation provide assistance to municipalities for their public water systems through no, or low-rate loans via the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and through grants by the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act. Additional loans and grants can be obtained through federal programs at the US Department of Agriculture, US Commerce Department, and Housing and Urban Development.
Finally, the NYSDOH and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) have teamed up to implement the Drinking Water Source Protection Program. This new program’s goal is to help municipalities develop and implement their own unique drinking water source protection plan for their drinking water.
How can TRC help you? TRC can help you stay ahead of the challenges and minimize the potential for surprises. Municipalities can manage their risk potential, understand potential sources of PFAS and reduce the possibility of experiencing unforeseen impacts to their community. •
TRC can assist with the development of Drinking Water Source Protection Program Plans and identifying potential sources with the potential to migrate into a municipality’s drinking water supply (i.e., via groundwater or surface water contamination). Among other items, plans will also typically include a review of commercial and industrial operations in the community and information regarding the water supply system.
Our experts can develop and assist with the implementation of source reduction and mitigation alternatives.
TRC and its partners in New York State can assist municipalities in identifying and applying for grant and loan opportunities at both the Federal and State level.
TRC can assist in the development of contingency plans, including short-term measures to respond to an unexpected impact on a drinking water supply. In the event of an incident, a properly developed contingency plan provides a municipality with time to implement a permanent solution, without causing major disruption in the community.
Development of an integrated public outreach communication plan tailored to reach key stakeholders and impacted communities. TRC’s proactive approach to community outreach offers equity to all community stakeholders.
Understanding the potential risks in your community, minimizing the risks and having a plan in place to respond in the event of identification of impacts to your drinking water system can minimize the challenges associated with PFAS.
SPONSORED C ONTENT
C ONTAC T: PFAS@TRC C OMPANIES .C OM
NYSAC Thanks Our 2021 Excelsior and Associate Partners for Their Support and Participation This Year! EXCELSIOR PARTNERS
AbSolve Absence Solutions
KeyBanc Capital Markets
Auctions International, Inc.
Barton & Loguidice
New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal
BST & Co. CPA's, LLP
NYS Industries for the Disabled
CFG Health Network, LLC
PFM Financial Services LLC
Envision Strategy, LLC
The Bonadio Group three+one
General Dynamics Information Technology
Health Economics Group, Inc.
Transmission Developers, Inc.
United Concierge Medicine
CanaRx Group Inc.
M.J. Engineering & Land Surveying, P.C. Maser Consulting P.A. NaphCare, Inc. Nationwide Retirement Solutions OMNIA Partners PERMA PKF O'Connor Davies, LLP ProAct, Inc. Roemer Wallens Gold & Mineaux, LLP Salesforce.com, Inc. SAS
Venesky and Company
To learn more about the solutions these companies offer and to find contact information, please visit nysac.org/marketplace
Save the Date NYSAC's Fall Seminar
September 13-15, 2021 Marriott Syracuse Downtown We hope that you will join us once again for an in-person Fall Seminar!
More details to follow at nysac.org/fallseminar
NYSAC News | www.nysac.org
Registered Municipal Advisors Serving New York State Municipalities Since 1967 Bond & Note Issues w Refunding Bond Issues w Lease Financings w EFC Short and Long Term Financings w Energy Performance Contract Financing w Credit Ra�ng Assistance w Accoun�ng & Bookkeeping Services w Cash Flow Borrowings w Con�nuing Secondary Market Disclosure
250 South Clinton Street, Suite 502, Syracuse, NY 13202 Phone (315) 752-0051 John Shehadi, CIPMA, Municipal Advisor Mark Vislosky, CIPMA, Municipal Advisor Christine Crowley, CIPMA, President/Municipal Advisor Benjamin Maslona, CIPMA, Executive Vice President/Municipal Advisor
HUDSON VALLEY REGION
Jeanine Rodgers Caruso, CIPMA MBA, CEO/Municipal Advisor 63 Putnam Street, Suite 202 Saratoga Springs, New York 12866 (518) 541-3861
Beth Ferguson Vice President/Municipal Advisor 827 Rte 82, Suite 10231 Hopewell Junction, New York 12533 (845) 447-2214
Kelly Lathan, Financial Analyst 5 North Avenue LeRoy, New York 14482 (585) 502-5010
www.ﬁscaladvisors.com Founding ﬁrm member of the Na�onal Associa�on of Municipal Advisors 5/5/20
PROUDLY SERVING THE 62 COUNTIES OF NEW YORK STATE
CONTACT US TODAY!
Charles Nesbitt, Jr. email@example.com
energy efficiency construction management
Advertiser Index Absolute Auctions & Realty, Inc..................................... 16 Alera Group..................................................................... 15 AT&T................................................................................ 43 Auctions International, Inc............................................. 30 Barton & Loguidice......................................................... 49 Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC...................................... 19 Calcaterra Pollack LLP.................................................... 43 ChargePoint Advertorial................................................. 24 Collar City Auctions Realty & Mgmt, Inc....................... 3 Equitable........................................................................... 31 Fiscal Advisors & Marketing, Inc................................... 46 KeyBanc Capital Markets.................................................. 6 LaBella Associates............................................................. 4
Did You Know?
LetsGetChecked .............................................................. 37 Municipal Electric & Gas Alliance Inc............................15 N.K. Bhandari, Architecture & Engineering, P.C.......... 25 Nationwide Retirement Solutions.................................. 33 New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal................... 35 New York Power Authority................................................6 New York State Health Insurance Program................... 47 New York State Industries for the Disabled, Inc........... 34 NYCLASS......................................................................... 33 NYSTEC........................................................................... 31 Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP............................... 17 PERMA............................................................................... 2 PFM Financial Services LLC........................................... 50 PKF O'Connor Davies, LLP............................................ 41 ProAct, Inc....................................................................... 42 Systems East, Inc. ............................................................ 51 Tectonic Engineering Consultants, Geologists & Land Surveyors, D.P.C................................................................ 4 three+one......................................................................... 26 TRC Companies Advertorial........................................... 44 TRC Companies................................................................52 Wendel.............................................................................. 46
• NYSHIP is available to virtually all public employers across New York State • Over 800 counties, cities, towns, villages, school districts and special districts participate in NYSHIP • More than 1.2 million public employees, retirees and their families have health insurance through NYSHIP
A unique health insurance plan developed for New York’s public employees For additional information regarding The Empire Plan or the Excelsior Plan, public employers may visit our website at www.cs.ny.gov or email the Public Employer Liaison Unit (PELU) for the New York State Health Insurance Program at PELU@cs.ny.gov. Employee Benefits Division of the New York State Department of Civil Service
Recently Passed Local Laws By Patrick Cummings, NYSAC Counsel
YSAC tracks and makes available local laws that have been passed by our member counties. Understanding how New York counties are addressing their local issues and resident needs through local laws can provide ideas for you, our government leaders, to adapt for the needs of your county. Below is a description of unique and recently passed local laws by our members as well as a web address link to the entire the local law.
Coordinate the County mutual aid plan, including overseeing central dispatching and fire communications.
Develop, implement, and operate the enhanced E-911 communications system.
The local law can be found here at https://on.ny.gov/3woHHIF.
Essex County Passes a Local Law Establishing the Office of Essex County Emergency Services On May 24, 2021, Essex County passed a local law establishing the Office of Essex County Emergency Services. This action consolidated under a single administration the responsibility to protect its residents from natural disasters, provide emergency defense operations, mutual aid and fire training programs, and the implementation and administration of the enhanced 9-1-1 communication system. The law’s stated goal is to be “in keeping with the County's role as a prime sponsor and provider of emergency services, and to more efficiently and economically provide the emergency services needed by the residents of Essex County.” With creation of the Office of Emergency Services, is the position of Director who shall be appointed by the Board of Supervisors and serve at the pleasure of the Board. The local law lists minimum emergency management background needs for any Director candidate. The Duties of the Director include but are not limited to (many more are listed in the law than what is below): •
Coordinate and administer the programs and services for the purpose of providing emergency services to the residents of Essex County.
Conduct studies and compile data and information regarding the need for emergency management services programs in Essex County, and to make recommendations based on such data.
Advise the Board of Supervisors as to Emergency Services and/or programs maintained, conducted, or operated by the County, as well as County eligibility for new programs. Provide to the Board of Supervisors an Annual Report concerning the programs and activities of Emergency Services. NYSAC News | Summer 2021
Rockland County Passes Local Law Prohibiting Job Application Discrimination on the Basis of Criminal History On May 28th, Rockland County passed a Local Law prohibiting job application discrimination on the basis of criminal history. The law’s stated purpose is to give people a fair chance to become gainfully employed, improve public safety by reducing recidivism and stimulate the economy by putting in place this successful policy. Ultimately, the law seeks to ensure that job applicants are first evaluated on their merits, skills and qualifications and not their past. This law will be for all employers in Rockland County having 15 or more employees and prohibits the following: •
Limitation or specification in employment based on a person's arrest or criminal conviction.
Representation that any employment or position is not available to someone because of that person's arrest or criminal conviction, when in fact it is available to such a person.
Inquiries or statements related to the pending arrest or criminal conviction record of any person who is in the process of applying for employment until after an employer has extended a conditional offer of employment to the applicant.
There are exceptions in the law for positions that require criminal background checks for employment purposes or bars employment based on criminal history. This local law can be found at https://on.ny.gov/3xqsgA5.
Clinton County and Many Others Pass a Local Law Allowing for a Pilot Youth Deer Hunting Program Included in the 2021-2022 State Budget was language authorizing counties to create a Pilot Youth Deer Hunting Program. Clinton County and many other counties from across the state did just that. Under the local law, 12- and 13-year-old individuals can hunt deer with a firearm or crossbow. The intent of the program is to allow experienced, adult hunters to introduce the value of hunting to the next generation. Furthermore, teaching young people safe, responsible, and ethical hunting practices will help ensure a rewarding experience for youth, while providing quality food to families and contributing to important deer management population control practices.
Twelve- and 13-year-old licensed hunters must adhere to the following requirements: •
Remain under the supervision and control of a licensed adult hunter, age 21 years or older.
Youth hunters as well as their adult supervisors shall be required to wear fluorescent orange or pink clothing while hunting.
Youth hunters shall remain at ground level while hunting deer with a crossbow, rifle, shotgun, or muzzleloader.
This law can be found at https://on.ny.gov/3pQWqd0.
SERVING NEW YORK COUNTIES SINCE 1961 Municipal Engineering • Transportation Planning & Engineering • Asset Management Wastewater Management • Water Supply • Solid Waste Engineering • Facilities Engineering • Environmental Consulting • Land Planning & Site Design 1-800-724-1070 • www.BartonandLoguidice.com
NYSAC News | www.nysac.org
Pay Bills • Buy Supplies • Reduce Paperwork • Earn Rebates Since 2013 the program has helped over a dozen counties streamline purchases, pay bills and earn over $800,000 in cash rebates. The Payment Solutions Program, which is a special type of credit card, can help ease the the purchase of supplies, furniture, construction materials, utilities and much more, all while saving staff time and money.
NO COST Rebates on 100% of dollars spent* Reduced check writing costs Expedited payment to vendors (24 - 48 hours) Reduced paperwork for requisitions, purchase orders and invoices Quick startup - program implemented 6 to 8 weeks from the receipt of application
Beth Smith, Senior Managing Consultant PFM Financial Services LLC • 516.246.1210 • firstname.lastname@example.org
* Minimum spend for rebates to be earned is 100,000; once threshold is reached the rebate earnings start back to $1. PFM is the marketing name for a group of affiliated companies providing a range of services. All services are provided through separate agreements with each company. This material is for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide specific advice or a specific recommendation. Payment 50 NYSAC News | Summer 2021Solutions services are provided through PFM Financial Services LLC. For more information regarding PFM’s services or entities, please visit www.pfm.com
Expand Your Access Ready to work outside the box? Contact us now to discover how our Total Collection Solution (TCS) will unlock a whole new world of working conditions for you and your staﬀ.
email@example.com | (607) 753-6156
NYSAC News | www.nysac.org
515 Broadway, Suite 402 Albany, NY 12207
PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID ALBANY, NY PERMIT # 695
Get Ahead of PFAS – Work With the Experts Proven experience with real-world challenges, TRC has a track record of rapidly and efficiently resolving high-profile complex PFAS-related water contamination issues. Our capabilities are comprehensive and include source investigation and identification, forensics, risk assessment, planning and development of alternative water supply sources and water treatment. TRC is a leading, global consulting, engineering and construction management firm that provides environmentally focused and digitally powered solutions, with more than 500 of our professionals based in New York State. To learn what issues PFAS may present for your community, contact us at PFAS@TRCcompanies.com for a consultation. TRCcompanies.com
This issue of the NYSAC News magazine focuses on ways in which counties are moving forward and investing in the future, post pandemic.
Published on Jul 16, 2021
This issue of the NYSAC News magazine focuses on ways in which counties are moving forward and investing in the future, post pandemic.