Genesee County manager applauds major victories in areas of investments, shared services for localities
Genesee County Manager Matt Landers on Friday applauded the New York State Legislature for passing measures that will give county leaders across the state additional flexibility – leading to a lessening of the tax burden upon its residents.
“The legislation that recently passed the Assembly and Senate are definite wins for counties throughout New York and the citizens of Genesee County and New York State,” Landers said. “We are hopeful the governor will sign the legislation.”
When and if they are signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, these pieces of legislation will touch on several areas that directly affect how counties run their operations, Landers said.
He singled out three of the bills that passed both houses of the legislature in the final days of the 2021 session:
- Expands Investment Options for Counties to provide similar options as those available to New York City under current law and help maximize returns for taxpayers.
“This passed legislation will allow counties to maximize their monies in reserve by earning a higher rate of interest,” Landers said.
- Creates an AIM Redesign Task Force to analyze and recommend available alternatives to the current AIM formula and allocations, including models from other states.
“The creation of an Aid and Incentives for Municipalities design task force is certainly welcome, because simply shifting the state’s responsibility to fund local governments onto counties is not working and is not sustainable,” Landers said.
- Extends the Countywide Shared Services Initiative for an additional three years and enhances flexibility within the program to encourage more participation.
“This legislation providing for an additional three years of incentives for shared service initiatives is very welcome news in Genesee County as we are always looking for ways to partner with local governments to deliver services in more efficient ways,” Landers offered.
Other county priorities that were passed by the Assembly and Senate were the creation of an early intervention covered lives assessment fee on commercial insurance to help fund services for infants with special needs, and raising of the age of juvenile delinquent offenses from 7 to 12, keeping very young children out of the criminal justice system.
The latter, according to the New York State Association of Counties, helps to address racial disparities in the justice system, and allows tax dollars to be better spent on programs that are developmentally appropriate for young children.
NYSAC President Jack Marren commended lawmakers for being sensitive to what county governments have gone through.
“Over the last year we’ve seen how vital it is to have strong local governments that can respond to unforeseen emergencies and provide essential services to residents when it matters most,” Marren said. “Counties applaud Speaker Heastie, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and the state lawmakers who fought to provide counties with the resources and flexibility we need to support the programs at the local level.”
NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario called upon Cuomo to put his signature to the paper.
“I’m hopeful that we can build on the progress made during this session and carry that momentum into next year, but first we need Governor Cuomo to sign these bills into law so that counties can get to work building effective and sustainable local governments.”