Counties Air Fiscal Concerns

ALBANY—County executives are concerned that the state, facing a sizable budget deficit, won’t make good on money it is supposed to reimburse them for social programs.

“The reimbursements are lagging, and yet we have made our payments,” said Tony Picente, the Oneida County executive, said during a conference call organized by the New York State Association of Counties.

“Some of these human services programs that we contract with, we will be sending out notices very shortly that we cannot take the state’s word that we will be getting money for reimbursements,” said Barbara Fiala, the Broome County executive.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy said his county is owed $100 million. There was no clear dollar amount given statewide. Counties are concerned they’ll have to borrow if the payments are not forthcoming.

David Paterson’s budget officials have said they are developing a package to be acted on by legislators in September, but have not yet released details of what it may include. Steve Acquario, NYSAC’s executive director, said that in meetings with the second floor, officials have indicated that “everything is on the table.”

In the past, state officials have moved payments between fiscal years to balance current deficits. Some of the county executives (and in fairness, it tended to be the Republican ones) on the call blasted Paterson’s management and called for cuts to state operations.

“We are operating on a skeleton crew. What has the state done, similarly to control costs?” Asked Scott Vandehoef, the Rockland County executive. “The same thing they asked of us is something that the state must do. Whether it’s $2 billion or whatever, it needs to come from their operations.”

Counties Air Fiscal Concerns