Allegany County Legislator Brooke Harris of Alfred serves as the President of this group of nearly twenty WNY counties.
Belmont, NY- Members of Western New York’s Inter-County Association met virtually last week to discuss the latest in state and federal policies affecting county government.
Hosted by Steuben County, the delegates were joined by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. In addition to overseeing the State’s near $200 billion pension fund, the Comptroller administrates the NYS and local retirement system, the State’s approximate $16.7 billion payroll, and closely monitors the fiscal affairs of local governments.
Comptroller DiNapoli discussed the state’s fiscal health across a broad range of subjects, including the condition of the pension fund, current and projected unemployment numbers, and sales and income tax revenues. He noted the recent influx of Federal aid due to the American Rescue Plan, but offered caution:
“We’re flush with money at the moment, largely because of the Federal help, but I still think we’re going to be in for a period of having to make smart choices…on spending, on revenue, and on borrowing. That’s true for the State, and I think it’s true for you at the local government as well.”
DiNapoli applauded the Association’s ongoing efforts on behalf of their constituents. “I want to thank (Association President) Brooke Harris and the team at the Inter-County Association for all of your work. You all have a lot to do in your respective counties, and the fact that you come together and provide leadership in a unified voice, and support each other through this Association is important.”
Harris (Allegany County) stated his appreciation for the Comptroller’s attendance. “The Inter-County Association would like to thank Comptroller DiNapoli and his staff for joining our meeting today. Now more than ever, it’s important for local government officials to maintain strong lines of communication with our State officials. We’re comforted knowing that the Comptroller is so willing to listen to the concerns of local leaders, and that we have a shared mission of being careful stewards of government resources.”
The group was also provided a presentation on the effects of COVID on the Southern Tier’s tourism industry. Tom Costello, President and CEO of the Steuben County Conference and Visitors Bureau, shared a detailed look at the losses suffered by local hospitality industry, including restaurants, hotels, and the retail businesses. His office expressed optimism that the Southern Tier’s tourism recovery will outpace many other regions, largely due to increased interest in outdoor recreation and “close-to-home” travel.
The next meeting of the Inter-County Association of WNY will be held virtually on April 16, 2021, and will be hosted by Livingston County.