State budget has significant local impact

May 10, 2023 at 10:26 pm by Observer-Review

YATES COUNTY--The Monday, May 8, meeting of the Yates County legislature opened with an update from County Administrator Nonie Flynn. She highlighted ways that the recently adopted New York state budget will impact the county, including various increases in mandates. For example, the state will now require counties to pay more into the Medicaid program, amounting to at least over half a million dollars annually. This mandate will be phased in over the next three years. In addition, the state will not pay counties the money that has been withheld from them since fiscal year 2016-17 from the enhanced federal Medicaid matching program that was established as part of the Affordable Care Act. This is a $1.3 million loss for Yates County. Another new mandate increases the rate paid through the assigned counsel program to providers, from $75 per hour to $158 per hour, with the state covering just 50 percent of that increase.
“Once again, New York state is putting more mandates on the counties,” said Flynn. “It’s especially difficult this year because it will have a huge fiscal impact for us on a budget that we already adopted. The recently adopted state budget certainly has a negative impact on us locally right now. We do everything we can at the local level to keep taxes low, but the state just doesn’t help us.”
The group also heard a report from the Yates Transit Service regarding finances and ridership for the first quarter of 2023. The total for quarter one is up by $10,000. Most public ridership comes from the Dundee (Route 1) and Rushville (Route 3) routes.
During the public comment period, Trustees heard from Joy Schank, of Himrod. Schank is a Nurse Practitioner and retired Lieutenant Colonel who shared a myriad of concerns. Firstly, although state legislators sued and won a decision against a mandate that gave the state the power to detain an individual without proof of infection in a location of the state’s choosing and for an indefinite period of time, Gov. Hochul has appealed the decision. In addition, Schank is worried that Hochul will mandate COVID immunizations for children starting at 6 months, rather than allowing parents to make health decisions for their children.
Schank also encouraged counties to join forces when expressing opposition to state mandates.
Also during the public comment period, other residents shared displeasure with a variety of the governor’s recent decisions that are anticipated to increase taxes by both direct and indirect factors.
Regarding the public comment period at the meetings, Chairwoman Leslie Church confirmed that legislative meetings will now include a second public comment period, giving attendees the opportunity to comment on topics discussed during the meeting.
In other news, the lawmakers proclaimed June 14 as US Army Birthday in Yates County, extending the county’s “gratitude to all soldiers, past and present, their families and loved ones, who continue to sacrifice for our liberty and freedoms.”
The resolution states, “The Army has changed over the last 248 years, the unyielding commitment to protecting the lives of our citizens and the interests of our nation has remained constant with its purpose, by congressional mandate, to be this nation’s rapid response force. From humanitarian relief efforts to combat operations, the Army is always ready to answer our nation’s call.”
BY Stephanie Specchio
Sections: NEWS 1