Contact Us

 

COUNTIES COLLABORATE ON CONFLICT DEFENDER SERVICES

By Colleen Pillus, Dutchess County and Mark Longtoe, Ulster County

In December, Ulster County Executive Mike Hein and Dutchess County   Executive Marc Molinaro jointly announced a shared services agreement  between the two counties to address the soaring State-mandated costs of  providing legal defense counsel to indigent clients. The county executives  have forged a cooperative agreement to garner a level of cost containment over a State mandated expense that has now reached a combined total of  nearly $3.9 million annually in Ulster and Dutchess counties, while maintaining high quality representation.

To date, when a Public Defender’s Office is disqualified from representing an eligible indigent client due to a legal conflict, a private attorney is  assigned. The attorney then bills the county according to rates established by New York State in a process referred to as “assigned counsel.”

The skyrocketing cost, coupled with decreased program aid from New York State, has placed a significant additional burden on counties to cover the cost of this mandated service. In 2011, this system of providing representation cost Ulster County taxpayers $1,345,653 while Dutchess  County taxpayers spent $2,540,000.

“Governments at every level must learn to work past political differences and municipal boundaries to focus on delivering results for the people. I am confident that the citizens of Ulster and Dutchess will benefit from this innovative collaboration,” said Ulster County Executive Hein.

County Executive Hein continued, “Not only does this pilot program  represent a $175,000 savings for Ulster County’s taxpayers, it represents a $300,000 total savings for our region’s taxpayers, all while those in need continue to receive high quality legal representation. This is truly a  win/win collaboration, and we both look forward to working with our respective legislatures to make it a reality.”

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said, “This agreement is the  first of its kind in New York State for county Public Defender’s Offices and  represents exactly the type of cooperative partnerships we need to embrace if we are to be successful in our efforts to deliver smaller, smarter government to our taxpayers. I am grateful to Public Defender Tom Angell for seeking out new and better ways to meet our residents’ needs, while reducing costs. We were very pleased to bring this plan to Ulster County and appreciate the support and cooperation of County Executive Hein to  make this partnership a reality.”

Ulster County Public Defender Andrew Kossover added, “I want to thank  both County Executive Hein and County Executive Molinaro for this  innovative, cooperative approach to a fiscal problem that is plaguing  counties throughout the State. I am excited to take part in this shared  service arrangement, and look forward to working with Dutchess County’s  Public Defender Thomas Angell.”

Dutchess County Public Defender Thomas Angell noted, “This new  arrangement will permit each of our Public Defender Offices to create cost efficiencies while at the same time increasing the quality of legal services  provided. I look forward to this new partnership with Ulster County Public Defender’s Office. Our clients will better served by having access to full time defenders as well as the investigators, social workers and outside resources that our respective Public Defender Offices can provide.”

The one year agreement unveiled today will be a pilot program in County Court, City of Kingston Court and Town of Ulster Court in Ulster County;  and County Court and City of Poughkeepsie Court in Dutchess County.

Posted in NYSAC News Winter 2013 | Comments Off

NYSAC News Spring/Summer 2014 Table of Contents

Posted in NYSAC News Spring/Summer 2014 | Comments Off

Counties in the News, October 24, 2014

NEW YORK CITY
After 1st Ebola case in NYC, 3 others quarantined

NYC subway system seeing record ridership

CAPITAL
New contract reached with Rensselaer County’s largest union

Officials: No dogs on Warren County Bikeway

Two propane mishaps anger Albany County Executive

CENTRAL NEW YORK
Onondaga County asks state for help with jail overcrowding

Posted in Counties in the News | Leave a comment

Counties in the News, October 23, 2014

CAPITAL
Oil train shipper has propane spill in Albany

Public hearing scheduled Thursday for airport environmental assessment

MOHAWK VALLEY
Tax hike of nearly 5 percent looms for Schoharie County

SOUTHERN TIER
Delaware County Board grapples with budget

WESTERN NEW YORK
‘It’s A Proud Day’

Legislature approves IDA purchase of ConAgra facility

IDA gives green light to foreign firm eyeing Olean manufacturer

Posted in Counties in the News | Leave a comment

Counties in the News, October 22, 2014

NATION
Counties push crowdfunding for economic development

NEW YORK CITY
At Ebola Training Session in New York, Calm and Caution Are Urged

In New York, Cuomo Pledges More Aid for Lawyers of the Indigent

HUDSON VALLEY
Westchester First Responders Get Training In Classes Prompted By Sandy Hook

Dutchess, region’s jobless rates trend down

CAPITAL
Crude oil rule changes urged

No-tax plan on track

Police investigating bomb threat to Warren County building

CENTRAL NEW YORK
State will spend millions to revolutionize Onondaga County’s legal representation for the poor

MOHAWK VALLEY
Supervisors set tour of tech park

SOUTHERN TIER
New indigent burial policy contested among some funeral homes

FINGER LAKES
Lawmaker’s sex offender proposal (Video)

Desecration of veterans’ gravesites probed in Genesee County

WESTERN NEW YORK
Erie County prepared in the event of Ebola here

As Governor and Candidate, Cuomo Has Kept One Foot in Buffalo

Board Targets Erie County Roads

Posted in Counties in the News | Leave a comment

Counties in the News, October 21, 2014

NEW YORK CITY
NYC campaign seeks volunteers

HUDSON VALLEY
Pitch for airport tax-free zones

CAPITAL
Fight to end bullying aided by technology (Video)

Some flu vaccine supplies are delayed in Capital Region

NORTH COUNTRY
Clark, Burns call on NYSERDA to commit more resources to rural counties

SOUTHERN TIER
County Board of Supervisors rejects pay increase

CENTRAL NEW YORK
Oswego County Legislature enters budget season (Audio)

WESTERN NEW YORK
Erie County’s health partners meet today on readiness for Ebola

“Wipe Out Lead” Campaign Begins in Erie County

Chautauqua County Board of Elections offering extended pre-election office hours

Posted in Counties in the News | Leave a comment

Counties in the News, October 20, 2014

STATEWIDE
Report: 34K people declared unfit to have guns in NY

Proposal asks $2B for school tech

LONG ISLAND
Nassau County to Honor Police Officers and EMS for Saving Life’s from Region’s Heroin Epidemic

HUDSON VALLEY
GlobalFoundries getting IBM’s fabs and workers

Axe Falls Hard On Rockland County Budget Proposal

CAPITAL
Greene County sheriff’s deputies receive three-year contract

New lab is ready to begin its work

Greene County Legislature OKs one-year deal on paramedic services

County chooses new public works head

MOHAWK VALLEY
Oneida County Safety Net program costs escalate

CENTRAL NEW YORK
Canal Corp lays out plans for rebuilding of Brewerton Pier

OCTOBER IS 4-H MONTH

FINGER LAKES
New York State Watercraft Inspection Steward Program Handbook Now Available

WESTERN NEW YORK
Grant to Land Bank provides funding to raze Chautauqua County houses

County legislators hear inmate displacement plan

Posted in Counties in the News | Leave a comment

Counties in the News, October 17, 2014

NYSAC
Sales Tax Numbers Better, But Uneven

January thru September 2014 Sales Tax Map

STATEWIDE
Cuomo: State on alert for Ebola

HUDSON VALLEY
Rockland County Executive Ed Day lays out 2015 budget proposal (Video)

NORTH COUNTRY
Fifteen counties call for New York State to take over indigent defense funding

St. Lawrence County part of study on indigent defense; SUNY Canton to assist

CENTRAL NEW YORK
Increases in Emerson Park parking, boat launching fees being considered

FINGER LAKES
Genesee, Orleans seek indigent defense funds

County seeks to hire golf pros to manage courses

WESTERN NEW YORK
Chautauqua County executive calls for task force on budget deficit

Allegany Co. picks Jack Wood as economic development consultant

ConAgra Confusion

Meeting to unveil Northern Chautauqua County Water Agency

Posted in Counties in the News | Leave a comment

Sales Tax Numbers Better, But Uneven

New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) has reviewed the most recent county sales tax data for the 3rd quarter of 2014. The quarter’s returns are much better than the first half of the year, however sales tax receipts remain uneven. For counties that have experienced growth, that growth is still slower and more staggered than pre-Great Recession.

While there are a few brighter spots, much of upstate and Long Island continue to experience uneven and low sales tax growth (see attached map).

Not counting the counties that increased their sales tax rates in December 2013, the average change per county for January through September is about 2.18% (with a range of -5.6% in Nassau to a high of 6.51% in Delaware). In that same time frame (not counting the four that changed their rates) there is the following dispersion in growth:

  • 8 counties <  0% (negative)
  • 18 counties between 0% and 2.5%
  • 19 counties between 2.51% and 5%
  • 8 counties above 5% (this grows to 12 counties when you
  • add in the 4 counties that raised their sales tax rates in 2013)
  • ​​​NYC has seen growth of 4.64% in the January to September period.

“Counties continue to face the challenge of providing essential services under the duress of falling revenue and increased demands from the state. While there is a glimmer of hope in the most recent sales tax numbers, county leaders remain cautious in light of the uneven growth experienced over recent months,” said Stephen J. Acquario, executive director of the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC).

For more information and data from previous quarters, visit http://www.nysac.org.

Posted in Press Room | Leave a comment

Counties in the News, October 16, 2014

STATEWIDE
Cuomo Signs Bill Making Yogurt Official New York State Snack

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce Release of $343 Million in Critical Home Heating Assistance Funding for New Yorkers

HUDSON VALLEY
Dutchess well positioned for property tax freeze credit, says Molinaro

CAPITAL
McCoy’s proposed budget keeps county taxes flat

County executive OK’s new cyber-bully law

Area land banks get grants to counteract urban blight

MOHAWK VALLEY
Budget plan fits under cap, official says

CENTRAL NEW YORK
Onondaga County passes budget, excludes extra funding for dog kennel

Onondaga County monitoring international students traveling to Syracuse from Ebola hot spots

FINGER LAKES
State ponies up $2.5M for tribe’s unpaid taxes

Genesee committee agrees to float $4.7M bond for terminal, hangar

Sheriff makes push for body cams (Video)

WESTERN NEW YORK
Erie County Executive releases 2015 budget

Erie County Legislature Majority Leader looking to cut taxes for 2015 (Audio)

Resolution to Prevent Crematory from Reopening Set to Come Before Legislature

Posted in Counties in the News | Leave a comment

Counties in the News, October 15, 2014

NATION
U.S. City Finances Facing Slow Growth and Increasing Costs

STATEWIDE
New farmers grant fund to support agribusiness in New York

NYC
‘Culture of Violence’ Pervades Rikers’ Juvenile Facilities

LONG ISLAND
Mangano and LI Crisis Center Announce New Mental Health And Substance Abuse Helpline

CAPITAL
Schenectady County budget OK’d

Rensselaer County legislatures asking for landfill answers

Tenant for tech park to be named

NORTH COUNTRY
United Way to lawmakers: “What can we do for you?”

SOUTHERN TIER
Chemung County Worries about Fracking Waste (Video)

CENTRAL NEW YORK
Legislators Unanimously Approve 2015 County Budget (Video)

Cayuga County Legislature vote leaves second deputy sheriff position unfilled

FINGER LAKES
Committee OKs four bids for new Genesee airport terminal

Heroin activity keeping Geneva police busy

Seneca County supervisors to hear update on courthouse rehab

Environmental Quality Committee to discuss future of Ontario County Landfill

WESTERN NEW YORK
No new taxes in budget plan by Poloncarz

Wyoming supervisors approve Nov. 12 public hearing

A show of unity for Wyoming County veterans

Orleans Sheriff’s Office joins in Domestic Violence Awareness events

Posted in Counties in the News | Leave a comment

Counties in the News, October 14, 2014

DID YOU KNOW…
You can use NYSAC’s purchasing card to get a rebate on all of the road salt you buy?

HUDSON VALLEY
Neuhaus continues to push sale of Valley View

Orange County gets A+ in Indian Point drill

CAPITAL
Anti-cyber bullying bill now law in Albany County

Federal funding to aid in promoting Rensselaer County crops

Soaring salt prices concern highway officials

Emergency services tower stands tall in Windham landscape

NORTH COUNTRY
Jefferson County legislators vote to reconsider decision on property tax cap

MOHAWK VALLEY
Locals helped area hook fishing show

CENTRAL NEW YORK
Onondaga County Legislature says no, so far, to jail dog kennel idea

Cayuga Community College rebuilds fund balance, outlines future

FINGER LAKES
Genesee adds expenses to 2015 budget plan; tax rate little affected

WESTERN NEW YORK
Outlines of Orleans-Niagara wind farm aired

Fitch upgrades Erie County government’s credit outlook to positive

Setting Term Limits for County Legislators

Posted in Counties in the News | Leave a comment