March 27, 2020
NYSAC Update

The Top Three Takeaways

  1. Counties Helping Counties responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. NYSAC is helping counties connect to local, state, and federal resources during this public health emergency. 
  2. Counties Launching New Local Social Connection Campaign, Take 5 for NY, encouraging residents to take five minutes to check in with friends, neighbors, and loved ones.  
  3. State Budget Update. As April 1st approaches, State Leaders are being to finalize details of the 2021 FY spending plan. 
This Week in Review: COVID-19 Edition  
Counties are leading the way in slowing the spread of coronavirus in our communities. Every day, we are collecting your stories and sharing them on our COVID-19 blog. When we work and learn together, we succeed together.

Right now, we have four new posts: 

Keep checking  our COVID-19 section of our website , as we’re constantly posting new guidance from the state other helpful information, including: 

Send your questions or ideas to
Take 5 for New York  
Take 5 for New York  is a social connection campaign that counties can launch locally to encourage residents to take just five minutes out of each day to call a friend, loved one, or acquaintance who may be alone and feeling isolated during this period of social distancing.  

While this is a difficult time for all of us, it is taking an even greater toll on seniors, people living alone, and those living with depression, anxiety, addiction, etc. These New Yorkers may be feeling more isolated and lonelier than ever. 

That’s why counties are calling on everyone in our community to  Take Five for New York . Just take five minutes out of your day every day to call on a loved one, friend, neighbor, acquaintance to say hi, check on them, see if they need anything, lift their spirits, and tell them they are not alone.  

For more information, and for material to adapt for your county, please email  and ask for more information on Take 5 for New York.  
County Conversations Podcast: Lessons Learned from the Field  
Westchester County Executive George Latimer and members of his staff recently joined NYSAC Executive Director Stephen Acquario to discuss emergency response that has taken place in Westchester County and the lessons learned from their experience. 
Webinar: Following Best Practices in Labor Law During the Coronavirus Pandemic  
This week, over 120 county leaders joined the NYSAC Workshop on labor law considerations during the COVID 19 pandemic.
Attorneys Karlee Bolanos Esq. and Bill Lowe Esq. trained our counties on best practice labor considerations including topics such as the new paid sick leave law; employee furloughs, handling accruals/vacation requests, and duties to inform county employees when a co-worker has tested positive to COVID-19.  A recording of the webinar is available on  our YouTube channel.  
Finance School Canceled   
Due to social distancing requirements associated with COVID-19, NYSAC has had to cancel the annual County Finance School previously scheduled for May 2020. In lieu of the cancellation, NYSAC plans to continue rigorous webinar training for county officials over the next few weeks. 

You can also find recordings of our most recent webinars posted at under the events tab listed as archived webinars. NYSAC and the Office of the State Comptroller look forward to resuming our long standing partnership for training in May of 2021.  
New Reports from NYSAC      
NYSAC recently released a new report suggesting that the COVID-19 pandemic could have a $1 billion economic impact on counties across the state. 

Our report covers two economic impact scenarios: one with mild recession and a quick recovery, and the second assumes a more severe and prolonged recession. The range of impact moves from a $350 million loss in local sales tax revenue to more than $1 billion, respectively. The report's estimates do not account for the local workforce related revenue losses, and the costs associated with responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

NYSAC will continue to update this information as the situation develops.
New York and the nation are in uncharted territory as we work to address the challenges of COVID-19 at all levels of government, as well as in our homes and businesses. In crisis situations such as this, for elected officials and high-level government employees, transparency and maintaining open lines of communication are keys to establishing public trust. 

NYSAC, in collaboration with Summers Strategies, has authored a guide with simple steps and tips for communicating in a crisis. 

New York State Update 
State Budget Remains in a Holding Pattern as Deadline Looms  
We expect there to be progress on a state budget this week, as we are now less than a week from the beginning of the new fiscal year on April 1. The budget is currently being negotiated by secretaries for the Division of Budget, Senate, and Assembly. Lawmakers are expected to return to Albany on Friday, March 27. Negotiations could continue until March 31. 

We anticipate the following from the SFY 2020-21 budget: 

  • Court judgement interest rate reform will not be included. 
  • An increase to the CHIPS bidding threshold will not be included. 
  • Mobile sports betting will likely not be included. 
  • Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) aid will likely be fully restored. This is a major win for counties who receive a portion of VLT revenue.  
  • An omnibus local home rule tax extender will likely be included in the budget. The plan is to extend for three years to push renewals outside of a state lawmaker election year. 
New Budget Proposal May Add Unpredictable Cuts to Counties  
On Thursday, Governor Cuomo announced he is seeking sweeping authority to unilaterally reduce reimbursements to school districts and local governments over the coming fiscal year based on quarterly adjustments to revenue projections. 

Counties are highly concerned with these proposals as most expenses incurred by county governments, which is local government, are the services mandated by the state to be delivered locally. These, primarily, are state health and social welfare programs—areas being called upon now at extremely high levels.  

The state must rethink this proposal and ensure counties have the resources on the front lines to manage the current crisis. 

State Board of Elections Issues Guidance on COVID-19 Related Postponement   
The State Board of Elections today issued guidance recommending that all counties, to the extent they are able, should pause any major election related spending, like printing ballots or sending mail check cards, through Tuesday, March 31st to provide time for a possible Executive Order from the Governor on requests to postpone the primary. Please contact your local board of elections if you have any questions. 
NYS Emotional Support Line: 844-863-9314  
The COVID-19 pandemic has left many New Yorkers feeling anxious and stressed. The Emotional Support Line provides free and confidential support, helping callers experiencing increased anxiety due to the coronavirus emergency. The Help Line is staffed by volunteers, including mental health professionals, who have received training in crisis counseling.  

The Office of Mental Health has also created guide for managing stress and anxiety.  Click here to view the guidance.  
Federal Update 
FEMA Disaster Assistance Grants  
Counties, through their Office of Emergency Management, need to be in contact with the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, who manage all applications for funding through FEMA. Counties will work together with the state to track spending and develop projects to ensure eligibility with federal law, regulation and guidelines. County OEM offices should already be in contact with DHSES but, if not, their contact information can be found at  h ttp://  
Senate Unanimously Passes the CARES Act (3rd Stimulus Bill)  
Congress has enacted two major COVID-19 emergency response bills that have been signed into law that provide funds for a variety of programs and entities to help in the immediate response to the pandemic. The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a third legislative proposal that will provide about $2 trillion in federal fiscal stimulus to help address some of the economic fallout from the planned, temporary shutdown of large segments of the economy to help stop the spread of the virus.  

The House is expected to pass the fiscal stimulus bill by March 27th. An initial review of the fiscal stimulus proposal is below which provides assistance to individuals, small and large businesses and state and local governments.  

April 1 is still scheduled to be Census Day.   
While the Census Bureau put on hold most of its programs that were scheduled for March and April, many people in New York State have been able to go online and be counted in response to their first mailing. And even for those New Yorkers who didn’t get a mailing, they can still go online at any time and be counted at  w .  

A surprisingly large number of people have already been counted. You can follow the day by day response rate by county or municipality down to the census tract level  here.  

There are a number of locations in New York State where the Census Bureau had planned to drop off a Census packet at each home. This packet will contain a paper form as well as the instructions for responding online. Unfortunately, all of the Census Bureau’s field operations, including this process, were postponed prior to launch because of the coronavirus outbreak. This means approximately 3% of housing units in the state, primarily in the rural areas, have not received any instructions from the Census Bureau.  

The good news is that anyone who has not received an invitation or paper form from the Census Bureau can still be counted now. They can respond online  here . Or they can respond by phone. The phone numbers for responding in 12 additional languages and TDD can be found  here.  

We will be providing more information in the coming weeks. 
Procurement & Cost Savings 
Tracking COVID-19 Expenses  
As the details of the federal coronavirus stimulus package become available, it makes sense to use the current disaster management process as a model if local governments hope to receive federal assistance for their efforts. For a quick overview of this process, see the FEMA publication, “ A Guide to the Disaster Declaration Process and Federal Disaster Assistance. ” This can be accessed from our /health website under federal resources.  

To help you navigate these complex programs and track eligible costs incurred, ICMA Strategic Partner Hagerty Consulting has provided a toolkit  available here for download  that you and your teams can use to track disaster-related costs. This toolkit includes cost-tracking instructions, templates, and a supporting documentation tool for your use and review that incorporates guidance on: 
  • Force Account Labor 
  • Force Account Equipment 
  • Force Account Materials 
  • Donated Resources 
  • Rented Equipment 
  • Contracts 

Supporting Documentation - excerpt from FEMA's Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide (PAPPG). 

While this is only the first step of a much larger, longer, and burdensome reimbursement process, it should be helpful to you and your team. 

For more on this topic and other strategies to manage county finances, check out our blog,  Managing County Finances in the Wake of COVID-19.  
Business NOT as Usual…Resources That Can Help   
Amidst the current COVID-19 pandemic countless communities across the globe have been impacted. We know our counties (cities, public agencies) are working tirelessly to address their community needs but are hindered by their availability to procure the necessary products and services. All businesses have been impacted by capacity, productivity, supply chain output and more. 

As your partner in this, we would like to remind you that OMNIA Partners has hundreds of existing cooperative contracts that counties (cities, public agencies) can purchase from immediately. OMNIA Partners has assembled a task force to address the evolving needs during this time. This task force is working with the executive teams of their supplier partners to assist in the deployment of their COVID-19 plans and, when possible, to prioritize healthcare and government agencies for fulfillment.  

OMNIA Partners’ goal, first and foremost, is to connect public agencies with their community of supplier partners that can help with the most immediate needs for your county (city, agency). For immediate assistance, please visit their COVID-19 resources page. 

We understand the unique set of challenges we are all facing due to this risk and will continue to notify our members of resources that can support you during this time.