By Tom Precious
ALBANY -– They’ve been warning about it year after year, but serious deficits are going to start to hit counties across the state next year, the New York State Association of Counties said this morning.
The group said that rising costs of state-imposed mandated programs that counties must provide -– from welfare and Medicaid-related programs to probation and special education services -– along with the state’s new 2 percent property tax cap that will limit local revenue options are providing a new fiscal double-whammy that will begin to hit hard next year.
The group said the cost for counties to pay for just nine of the state-mandated programs will grow by $244 million next year. In the meantime, with the 2 percent property tax cap limitations, expected levy growth for all counties will grow by $114 million.
The group said that $130 million gap does not include such inflationary growth for things like heating and cooling government buildings, or worker salaries and health care benefits.
“We haven’t seen this type of fiscal shortfall in our lifetimes,’’ said Orange County Executive Edward Diana, president of the association, in a written statement this morning.
The group is asking the Cuomo administration and lawmakers to get serious about helping counties reduce expenses by, after years of talks at the Capitol, adopting laws to reduce the number of state-imposed mandates on localities.