Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today sent the Legislature a bill that would create a Financial Restructuring Board for distressed local governments. The bill is attached.
Governor Cuomo: Let's stop talking about the issue. And let's start doing something about it. Because we've been talking about the problems of fiscally distressed localities for a long time, and second, stop papering over it. What is the answer going to be? A restructuring plan that is individual for that locality. Albany is different than Syracuse, is different than Buffalo, is different than Jamestown. And you are not going to be able to sit here and say one size fits all. Bring each one in, work with them to come up with a plan." Download video of Governors statement here.
For more details on the Governors proposal visit: http://www.governor.ny.gov/press/05142013-restructuring-board-for-distressed-local-govts
Local government leaders from across New York State have voiced their support for the Governors proposed Financial Restructuring Board:
Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney: We appreciate that Governor Cuomo is listening to the voices of local government and providing us with options instead of mandates. I applaud the proposals presented today by the Governor, they give municipalities the additional tools to manage the fiscal challenges ahead as they face rising costs and make the difficult decisions necessary to balance their budget.
Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano: I commend Governor Cuomo for demonstrating true leadership in seeking to help local governments recover from the growing costs of pensions, healthcare and unfunded mandates that have contributed to the stress on municipal budgets throughout New York State. While holding the line on property taxes for three straight years, my administration tackled the deficit we inherited from my predecessor and have put Nassau County back on track by cutting over $290 million in wasteful spending.
Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy: I wish to commend Governor Andrew Cuomo on offering a proposal that will give local governments the tools needed to address structural fiscal problems, said Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy. The proposal will enhance discussions on how we can work together to develop long-term fiscal solutions for government leaders to ensure a brighter future for county residents and municipalities.
Chemung County Executive, Tom Santulli: I strongly support Governor Cuomos efforts to create a Financial Restructuring Board to aid fiscally distressed municipalities. As the Governor so clearly stated, it is time to stop talking about this problem and roll up our sleeves and tackle this issue head on. The time has come to change how local governments operate before even more communities become financially insolvent.
Ulster County Executive Mike Hein: I applaud Governor Andrew Cuomos bold initiative to assist distressed local governments throughout New York State. Since the onset of the Great Recession local governments have been burdened by sharply increasing expenses, an ever growing demand for services and declining revenues. As the Ulster County Executive and the President of NYSACs County Executive Association it is valuable to know that local governments in distress will have the support of the Governors Office and numerous state resources. It is my great hope that this initiative will assist local governments that request assistance to reform and restructure their operations to lower costs and create greater efficiencies for our taxpayers.
Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente (Remarks at May 14 event): "Governor thank you and thank you for your leadership on this issue and what youve done for New York State. On behalf of the Association of Counties, Im pleased to be here with our partners in labor to look at ways in which all of upstate and in particular counties, local governments, cities, can get the help we need in terms of difficult financial times. The Governor has recognized this and his administration has put forth various issues that have gotten resolved. The Medicaid relief that the budget director referred to at the very beginning and working together with 2% cap and making it affordable to our residents to continue to grow and prosper in upstate New York. So I welcome, and the Association of Counties welcomes this process and in terms of working together with our public safety and fire officials and unions that join us here today. It is the major function of local governments for public health and safety and they are valuable partners that we recognize each and every day and need to be in partnership as we look forward to ways to provide all of those services essentially to our residents at the lowest possible cost. So this is a proposal that we very whole heartedly support. To work with the governor as we have in the past to continue to move this issue forward and it is a great tool for local governments to look at ways to restructure with expertise from the state and work hand in hand with our partners in labors well to find ways that governments can sustain themselves in a changing economy and with changing technologies so Governor we thank you and I thank you for your leadership on this and every issue.
Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro: I applaud the Governors proposal to utilize the power and resources of the State to assist communities stressed by escalating costs and declining revenues. While our state leaders must continue to make mandate relief and other reform measures a reality, this is a proactive step to help communities find ways to transform and restructure their organizations to lower the overall cost of government.
Bill Farber, Chairman, Hamilton County Board of Supervisors: Governor Cuomos Financial Restructuring Board is a proactive step in place, prior to any municipality reaching the type of crisis level, which would require an actual Control Board. Plus, it is certainly a great step, to have a process which takes into account the individual differences between the municipalities, and brings together state, local, and top fiscal experts to provide a detailed evaluation and series of recommendations. It is long overdue that the state and local governments work together as partners to find solutions to the problems we all face, and I commend the Governor for putting forward this initiative.
Mayor Thomas S. Richards, City of Rochester: The Governors proposed Financial Restructuring Board is yet another acknowledgement that the financial distress facing cities is structural and real. In particular, the Governors announcement underscores the disparity in Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM) funding received by Rochester as compared to the rest of the upstate cities. I thank him for his attention to our situation and for another opportunity to make our case to the state. It is our contention that cities like Rochester, much like school districts receive, need a broader base of support than just property taxes. We will anxiously look into the Proposed Board to see if there are new ideas, strategies and perhaps funding to help Rochester.
Mayor Paul A. Dyster, City of Niagara Falls: It's great finally to have a Governor of New York State that recognizes the need for innovative new fiscal tools to address long-term structural problems facing so many upstate municipalities. The proposals advanced by Governor Cuomo today show that he is hearing what local governments are saying about the need for new options to deal with chronic problems of stagnant revenues and rising expenses. We all know we have tough choices to make, but it is helpful to have new ideas on the table. Kudos to Governor Cuomo for making state government part of the solution instead ofas many in local government feel has historically been the casepart of the problem.
Mayor Byron Brown, City of Buffalo: By bringing together top fiscal experts and leaders in state government to help municipalities get their fiscal houses in order, Governor Cuomo is giving cities in upstate New York the opportunity to come together and work collectively on building a blueprint for a sound local government. The challenges all upstate cities face are difficult and the solutions are not easy, but the Governor has long made it clear that we are in this together."
Mayor Jerry Jennings, City of Albany: The financial problems that are facing upstate New York cities like Albany are not easily fixed, but Governor Cuomo has made sure that we will not be trying to fix them alone. His proposal for a financial restructuring board is a significant action that will help local governments identify the best possible practices on the road to fiscal recovery and economic growth.
Mayor Brian Tobin, City of Cortland: As Mayor for the City of Cortland, I applaud the Governor's offer to help local municipalities with the fiscal challenges we are all facing. Governor Cuomo's strong leadership is helping New York State through one of the toughest times in recent memory. I look forward to a continued dialogue about how to best serve the people of New York by reshaping how government does business in our great state.
Mayor Robert Palmieri, City of Utica: Governor Cuomo is to be commended for reaching out and giving Upstate cities an additional tool to help manage finances and budgets during difficult fiscal times. The Financial Restructuring Board will allow distressed municipalities to sit down at the table with state officials and financial experts to examine every option on the table and solve these long term issues for once and for good. Here in Utica, we will look at what the Governor has proposed, and continue to work together with our state partners to do all we can to ensure that our city is fiscally healthy and sound.
Mayor Sam Teresi, City of Jamestown (Remarks at May 14 event): This is the first time I can say that there has been an overall recognition and attempt to understand the deep seeded structural economic problems the cities in particular and local governments in general across the upstate region have been facing for multiple generations and an understanding that its going to take more than the same old same old approaches, to use the Governors term of papering over problems that have existed for generations with a new approach to retool and a restructure and I see this proposal today as another tool to go into the tool chest for local governments.
City of Long Beach City Council President Scott Mandel: "Local governments need help, and Governor Cuomo is giving us a useful tool to right size our finances and manage the inherited fiscal problems that we are facing. The local government restructuring board will bring together top financial experts and local municipal leaders to solve problems and keep our governments on a path to fiscal stability and health. I commend the Governor for this proposal."
Buffalo Comptroller Mark J.F. Schroeder said: Just now emerging from a decade under a control board, the people of Buffalo know how devastating a fiscal crisis can be. Governor Cuomos Financial Restructuring Board would ensure that no community in the state would have to endure the financial hardships that Buffalo experienced. With rising costs and flat revenues, municipalities are looking to the state for solutions that are designed around their unique needs and challenges. That is exactly what this proposal would provide, and I thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership and commitment to local governments.
Mayor Thomas W. Gillen, City of Oswego: "It is a well-known fact that economic conditions are different throughout New York State. In Upstate NY, our cities, towns and villages are facing new fiscal challenges. The City of Oswego has weathered this economic storm better than other communities, yet we are being forced to solve these problems with fewer economic resources. Governor Cuomos proposal to create a Financial Restructuring Board for distressed local governments is good news for municipalities across the State. It is no secret that many local governments are struggling with finances and need help. The expertise that this Board will bring to help local governments is welcome and will help strengthen our finances for years to come. The proposed Financial Restructuring Board will serve as a resource for those communities that are facing severe economic distress."