The New York State Association of Counties says that it has submitted to the New York State Division of Budget a series of county recommendations for overcoming the budget crises facing the state and local budgets as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report consists of over 80 recommended actions submitted by county leaders across the state as a means to preserve county services in the face of massive declines in local revenues and the withholding of state aid. The recommendations include programmatic reforms to lower costs both the state and local level, the creation of a Blue Ribbon Commission to Redesign State-Local Service Delivery, short term revenue options, temporary bonding authority, and property tax cap flexibility.
“When COVID-19 arrived in our communities, counties mobilized and led the response efforts that were essential to stopping the spread of the virus,” said NYSAC President John F. Marren, the chairman of the Ontario County Board of Supervisors. “Now, as the economic aftershocks from the pandemic rock our local economies and the federal government stands idly by, counties are once again mobilizing to provide creative solutions that will place local governments on improved fiscal footing and protect essential services.”
The report was submitted to the Division of Budget for consideration as Administration officials explore mid-year cuts to localities and begin the process of developing the budget recommendations for the 2022 State Fiscal Year. It will also serve as a tool for state legislative leaders should they return to Albany to consider additional relief legislation to aid counties and other entities in COVID-19 response efforts.
“With this report we’re sending a message to the state that we’re ready, willing and able to be constructive partners in the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic,” said Dan McCoy, Albany County Executive and President of the New York State County Executives Association. “While these recommendations are a positive step in the right direction, they are no substitute for the federal action that is needed to provide states and local governments with the resources we need to fully recover from this pandemic and get our economy moving again.”
“When this pandemic first swept across the state, local governments stepped up with innovative solutions to manage a crisis that none of us were prepared for,” said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario. “Now counties are providing the essential services that New Yorkers depend on during this recession, and we need the state to consider these recommendations to help us address the lack of revenue and their budget cuts.”