Jacobs pleased Social Security returning to in-person services
Posted 20 January 2022 at 8:03 pm

Press Release, Congressman Chris Jacobs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) released the following statement after it was reported the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) reached a deal to resume in-person services at Social Security field offices. Jacobs has been advocating consistently for this outcome.

“For months my office has heard from concerned constituents who have been in desperate need of in person services, and for months I have been calling for the Social Security Commissioner and the head of the AFGE to come to a workable arrangement to restore in-person services at SSA field offices.

“Now, I am glad to finally say those efforts were successful. While we wait for final details on reopening plans, this is welcome and long overdue news. The fact of the matter is this shouldn’t have taken this long, and the administration has no excuse for denying in-person services to thousands of seniors for months, especially those in NY-27 and other rural communities who have very limited access to the internet.

“I am proud to have led the charge to get these services returned to in-person availability, and I will keep fighting to ensure the needs of my constituents are met.”

In October, Jacobs led 50 of his House colleagues in sending a letter to Acting SSA Commissioner Kijakazi urging the SSA to work with the AFGE to reopen in-person services as soon as possible.

In November, Jacobs introduced the Having Employees Return to Duty (HERD) Act to require government workers to return to work at pre-pandemic staffing levels to provide in-person services for constituents.

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Target shooting will be prohibited starting Feb. 1 at Tonawanda Wildlife Management Area
Posted 20 January 2022 at 4:19 pm

Press Release, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation

ROYALTON – The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation today announced that beginning Tuesday, Feb. 1, target shooting will be prohibited at Tonawanda Wildlife Management Area (WMA), located in DEC’s Regions 8 and 9.

The closure will bring the WMA into compliance with recently adopted regulations for WMAs statewide that prohibit target shooting.

DEC adopted statewide regulations following a public comment period last year and is exploring additional options to provide safe and ecologically sound target shooting at alternative locations throughout the state.

DEC is prohibiting target shooting at the WMA’s dirt mounds along Owen-Bartel Road in the town of Royalton to protect public safety, reduce lead contamination in the environment, provide additional wildlife habitat, protect down-range power lines, and promote an overall cleaner and safer Tonawanda WMA. DEC will undertake lead abatement activities in the Owen-Bartel Road area after the mounds at Tonawanda are closed.

Tonawanda WMA is located in Genesee, Niagara, Orleans, and Erie counties and consists of 5,600 acres. The WMA offers hunting, particularly waterfowl, as well as trapping, fishing, hiking, and other outdoor- and wildlife-related activities. Tonawanda and nearby Oak Orchard WMAs were designated as a Bird Conservation Area because of important bird habitat. For more information, click here to be directed to the DEC’s website.

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Job Corps names Career Transition Readiness instructor as employee of the year
By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 20 January 2022 at 11:56 am

Photo courtesy of Iroquois Job Corps: Dennis Essom, left, Iroquois Job Corps Center director, and Luke Kantor, Center manager, pose with Christi Horanburg, Career Transition Readiness instructor, who was recognized as Employee of the Year for 2021.

MEDINA – The Iroquois Job Corps Center manager Education and Training Resources has announced that Christi Horanburg, Career Transition Readiness instructor, has been chosen as the Center Director’s Employee of the Year for 2021.

According to Center Director Dennis Essom, Horanburg has been a key staff member at Iroquois Job Corps Center for the past 8 1/2 years. Her role in the program is to work with their young adults to ensure they have the career transition readiness skills that will assist them in future pursuits of employment.

“Teaching our students about career success standards, core values of ETR, assisting with resume writing, job searches, relocation efforts for apartment finding, tutoring/assistance for ASVAB military testing and placements and promotion of Job Corps Advanced Trade opportunities are just a few of her many tasks here at the Iroquois Job Corps Center,” Essom said. “Ms. Horanburg’s classroom is in many ways a final step for our graduates to get ready for life after the program. Countless numbers of students have benefited into their early careers due to her dedication, hard work and perseverance.”

The Iroquois Job Corps located south of Medina is a federally funded vocational and academic training program. At Job Corps, young adults between the ages of 16 to 24 work on bettering themselves through career technical training and high school equivalency programs.

“Our residential, college style center allows students to live on campus and take advantage of meals, recreation activities, clubs and organizations, leadership opportunities, drivers’ education programs, work-based learning internships and more at no cost to eligible students,” Essom added.

After shutting down due to the pandemic, Essom said Iroquois Job Corps is now open for business. Having been approved for traditional enrollment, they are starting to bring back students for normal classes.

More information about the Job Corps program can be found by clicking here or by calling the Center at (585) 344-6700.

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Local schools get funding boost in Hochul budget
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 January 2022 at 10:19 am

$4 million increase in state aid among 5 school districts

The local school districts would get funding increases in Gov. Kathy Hochul’s state budget proposal.

The five school districts in Orleans County – Albion, Holley, Kendall, Lyndonville and Medina – would see a combined increase of $2,575,615 in Foundation Aid and $4,083,015 in total state aid.

The breakdown for each district includes:

  • Albion – Foundation Aid up 3.00 percent or by $669,226, from $22,307,559 to $22,976,785. Total state aid up 1.48 percent or by $429,558, from $28,998,219 to $29,427,777.
  • Holley – Foundation Aid up 6.02 percent or by $659,179, from $10,941,047 to $11,600,226. Total state aid up 7.57 percent or by $1,314,422, from $17,361,095 to $18,675,517.
  • Kendall – Foundation Aid up 4.52 percent or by $367,633, from $8,138,171 to $8,505,804. Total state aid up 4.54 percent or by $634,283, from $13,984,659 to $14,618,942.
  • Lyndonville – Foundation Aid up 4.85 percent or by $323,396, from $6,674,631 to $6,998,027. Total state aid up 5.96 percent or by $627,901, from $10,536,659 to $11,164,560.
  • Medina – Foundation Aid up 3.00 percent or by $556,181, from $18,539,370 to $19,095,551. Total state aid up 3.84 percent or by $1,076,851, from $18,539,370 to $19,095,551.

Hochul’s executive budget sets $31.3 billion in total school aid, which is up by $2.1 billion or 7.1 percent. That includes a $1.6 billion Foundation Aid increase and a $466 million increase in all other school aid programs.

“It’s definitely helpful for us this year, and will help us to overcome the inflationary pressures we are facing in the budget this year, particularly in heating and fuel costs,” said Mark Kruzynski, Medina district superintendent.

Medina’s increase would be 3 percent in Foundation Aid, and 3.8 percent in overall state aid. That is less than many other districts.

“While the 3 percent Foundation Aid increase isn’t the jaw dropping increase that many wealthier suburban districts are slated to receive, our Foundation Aid was not held back as much as those districts were during the previous 10 years,” Kruzynski said.

The New York State School Boards Association praised Hochul for a budget that provides at least a 3 percent Foundation Aid increase to each of the 700 school districts in the state.

“The proposed 7.1 percent school aid increase would provide $1.6 billion in additional Foundation Aid in 2022-23 and would enable individual school districts to direct the aid where it is needed most, while easing potential impacts on local taxpayers,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Robert S. Schneider. “The minimum 3 percent Foundation Aid increase Gov. Hochul has proposed for districts already at full funding also is welcome as all districts face increasing costs.”

State legislators will weigh in on the governor’s budget proposal in the coming months with a budget deadline on April 1.

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Deep freeze next 2 days with high of 11 today, 12 on Friday
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 January 2022 at 8:08 am

It’s going to be cold the next two days in Orleans County, with highs of only 11 today and 12 on Friday, the National Weather Service in Buffalo said.

The wind chill values will be as low as -5 today and -10 on Friday. The overnight low will drop to 4 tonight followed -3 on Friday night.

The sharp drop from Wednesday, when temps were in the high 30s, caused snow melt. The subsequent rapid refreeze has led to slick spots on sidewalks and any untreated road surfaces, the Weather Service said.

“If you are out an about be careful as some of this ice may not be visible underneath any recent snowfall,” the Weather Service said. “Exercise caution as you head out this morning.”

Saturday is forecast to be mostly sunny with a high near 22 followed by a mostly cloudy Sunday, with a high near 25.

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1,659 new Covid cases in Genesee and Orleans the past 7 days, down from 2,703 previous week
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 January 2022 at 4:23 pm

Charts from Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments

The Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments reported 1,659 new Covid cases in the two counties the past week. That is the second most during the nearly two-year Covid-19 pandemic, but is down from the 2,703 the previous week.

Orleans County is reporting 645 new cases from Jan. 12-18, down from 855 the previous week, and Genesee has 1,014 new cases, down from 1,848 from Jan. 5-11.

Combined, the two weeks represent 4,362 cases or 4.4 percent of the combined population of 98,731 in the two counties – 40,343 in Orleans and 58,388 in Genesee.

The G-O Health Departments also said one Orleans County resident and three from Genesee County passed away due to Covid in the past week. All four were over age 65.

“We do not provide any further information to protect the privacy of these individuals and their families,” G-O Health stated. “Our deepest condolences are extended to the families and friends of these individuals.”

Genesee has now had 169 Covid-related deaths and Orleans has had 105 during the pandemic, G-O Health officials said.


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Ortt, Senate Republicans call for end to mandates in Covid response
Posted 19 January 2022 at 2:45 pm

Press Release, Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt

ALBANY – The New York State Senate Republican Conference today called upon Governor Kathy Hochul and Democrat One-Party Rule to end one-size-fits-all Albany mandates and return to a system of governance based on facts, collaborative decision making, and guidance.

“Nearly two years ago, New York became the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Ortt said. “Our state was shut down, our schools were closed, and our economy was decimated. Nearly 700 days later, the results speak for themselves. One-size-fits-all Albany mandates didn’t work under Governor Cuomo, they don’t work under Governor Hochul, and New Yorkers are fed up. It’s past time to return to a system of governance based on facts and collaboration – not politics and dictation.”

Specifically, Senate Republicans are calling for an end to statewide school mandates and healthcare/workforce mandates, among other mandates – and to instead shift to recommendations and guidance. Additionally, local control over public health response(s) would be restored, as decisions on mandates would be left to acts of local governing bodies, under one Senate Republican proposal.

Challenges presented by some of the statewide mandates include:

  • Massive healthcare staffing shortages, based on the original vaccination mandate and upcoming booster mandate – impacting regions of the state differently;
  • Cancellation of “elective” surgeries based on state definition of capacity;
  • Numerous school and childcare closures, which have resulted in even more learning loss and mental health decline among schoolchildren;
  • Children 12 years and older kept out of extracurricular activities if not boosted when there is a Covid exposure, yet still able to attend school and travel on the bus;
  • To qualify for the oral antiviral medications priority eligibility is given based on race and ethnicity; and
  • A potential vaccine mandate for school children.

Today’s announcement follows Senate Republicans’ unveiling of their “Take Back New York” 2022 Agenda, and is the first part in a multi-pronged plan to restore accountability to the state government in the aftermath of disgraced ex-Governor Cuomo’s rampant abuses of power.

Last year, Senate Republicans led the charge to end disgraced ex-Governor Cuomo’s emergency powers – a months-long effort designed to compel the Senate Democrat Majority to check his authority in the wake of the nursing home scandal and coverup, and curb Cuomo’s many other abuses of power throughout Covid-19 pandemic.

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Albion man, 62, sentenced to 5 years in prison for assault
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 January 2022 at 1:38 pm

ALBION – An Albion who stabbed a 17-year-old in the chest in a domestic dispute last May was sentenced to five years in state prison this morning.

Isaiah Alexander, 62, was sentenced for first-degree assault and third-degree assault. He initially was charged with attempted murder, but the 17-year-old male recovered from his injuries to his upper chest. A 20-year-old woman also suffered a severe laceration to her hand.

Orleans County Court Judge Sanford Church gave Alexander the maximum sentenced in a plea agreement. Alexander will also face five years of post-release supervision.

“Fortunately it didn’t do worse damage,” Church said about the stab wound.

Joanne Best, the public defender, said Alexander was assaulted during an altercation at Oak Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park. He was hit over the head with a broken glass candle holder, she said.

Alexander has “virtually no criminal history,” she said, and has been a very hard worker for many years at local farms.

She asked the judge for less than the maximum sentence.

District Attorney Joe Cardone said Alexander had been drinking the night of May 11 when the altercation then ensued. The DA asked for the maximum sentence because of the “very serious conduct.”

Judge Church also issued three orders of protection in court today for people in the altercation with Alexander on May 11.

In another sentencing today, Melissa Kuhn, 20, of Holley was sentenced to 1 to 3 years in state prison for violating her probation. She admitted in court on Jan. 5 that she didn’t report to probation soon after being released from county jail and also by communicating with a co-defendant who she was forbidden to talk with.

Kuhn was on probation after admitting to being the driver for people in a burglary on Fruit Avenue in Ridgeway.

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County Clerk: pistol permit renewals are handled by State Police in Albany, not at local clerk’s office
Posted 19 January 2022 at 12:16 pm

Press Release, Orleans County Clerk Nadine Hanlon

ALBION – The Pistol Permit “Recertification” Process, also recently referred to in the news as “renewal” of your pistol permit, has been a topic of much discussion and also has caused many inquiries through the Orleans County Pistol Permit Office.

Nadine Hanlon, Orleans County Clerk, would like to provide the following information to make the recertification process easy.

The “New York State Pistol/Revolver License Recertification” is a process handled entirely by the New York State Police Pistol Permit Bureau in Albany. The Orleans County Pistol Permit Office cannot accept these forms for filing.

The recertification process is in addition to the usual local processing of activity on your Orleans County Pistol Permit – it is a summary of your current pistol permit status to Albany, which is mandatory every 5 years.

The Orleans County Pistol Permit Office does not have information on your current recertification status.

If you do not have internet access, please call the NYS Troopers in Albany at: 1-855-lawguns (1-855-529-4867) to determine your recertification status with them, and for further inquiries.

For those with internet access, you can access the New York State Police Pistol Permit website through the Orleans County Pistol Permit website, by clicking here, or search “Orleans County, NY – Pistol Permits.”

From our website, you can then access the following links on the NYS Police Pistol Permit website, as follows:

• Recertification – New York State Pistol/Revolver License Holder: New York State firearms laws require pistol/revolver license holders to recertify their status every five years.  Click here for more information.

The status of submitted recertification forms can be conveniently checked by clicking here. You will need to have your New York State Driver License or Non-Driver Identification Card in order to check or complete your recertification status.

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State approves permit for wind turbine project in Barre
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 January 2022 at 9:47 am

BARRE – The State Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES) has issued a siting permit for Heritage Wind to build 33 turbines in the Town of Barre that will have the capacity to generate 184.8 megawatts of electricity.

Houtan Moaveni, ORES executive director, issued the decision on Jan. 13.

The project will contribute approximately $54 million in host community benefits and payments in lieu of taxes to the Town of Barre, Orleans County, and local schools over the course of 25 years.

The turbines would have a maximum blade tip height of 675 feet, making them the largest land-based turbines in the state. Each turbine will be able to produce 5.6 megawatts of power.

The project also includes 12 miles of access roads, two permanent meteorological towers, approximately 36 miles of collection lines from the wind turbines to the collection substation, a temporary construction laydown yard of approximately 13 acres, an operations and maintenance facility consisting of two buildings totaling approximately 4,000 square feet, and other components.

Moaveni, the ORES director, said six turbines within 2 miles of Oak Orchard Wildlife Management Area will be subject to greater scrutiny for avian impacts.

He cited the benefits of the project in providing $54 million to the local communities over 25 years and also contributing the state’s goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and no less than 85 percent by 2050 from 1990 levels. The Barre project will offset up to 112,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year.

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Volunteers urged to sign up for Canal Clean Sweep in spring
Staff Reports Posted 19 January 2022 at 8:09 am

Provided photo: Breanna Girangaya, Libbie Pechora, volunteer chaperone David Weaver, Casey Onisk and Hayley Lipke teamed up on a section of the canal on April 24 last year in Holley. Casey Onisk designed the shirts with an Earth Day theme. Holley had 68 volunteers for the Canal Clean Sweep, covering 9 miles of the towpath. They also picked up garbage and debris along all of the village streets.

Registration has opened for Canal Clean Sweep 2022. Parks & Trails New York, in partnership with the NYS Canal Corporation, is organizing the 17th annual Canal Clean Sweep April 22-24 in celebration of Earth Day and Celebrate Trails Day.

Community service clubs, co-workers at a business or organization, Scouts or even families are encouraged to register for a spot or section of the canal. Or they can check back later to register as a volunteer for a public event. Use the Event Finder Map on Parks & Trails website.

Most events will occur on Earth Day weekend, April 22-24. However, volunteers can pick another day if it works better.

Click here to fill out a form to register a Canal Clean Sweep event, indicating the clean-up location, how many volunteers are expected, and what t-shirt sizes are needed.

After registering for a Canal Clean Sweep event, Parks & Trails will provide more information and materials.

Last year, more than a hundred communities, not-for-profit organizations, civic groups, businesses, and social clubs took part in 120 cleanup and beautification events along the Canal System and the Canalway Trail.

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Reaction to Hochul’s budget proposal: Plenty of praise and some concern over ‘meager tax cuts’
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 January 2022 at 6:36 pm

Gov. Kathy Hochul today presented a $216 billion Executive Budget that she said balances the budget while giving middle tax cuts and relief to small businesses, while investing in healthcare and education.

Here are some of the reactions to her budget proposal:

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley, R-Batavia: “For all of the talk during today’s executive budget address by our governor of a bright new future for New York, the proposals discussed seemed tired and unimaginative at best. New York’s economy isn’t going to suddenly catch fire because of a few meager tax cuts or narrow tax credit programs for businesses, because at the end of the day New York will still have little to offer entrepreneurs looking across the country to open businesses and create jobs. Within a global economy that grows more competitive by the day, it will only grow harder for us to attract the best and brightest to live and work here when it’s so lucrative for them to invest their resources elsewhere. With that said, I do applaud the announced investment into education, something of vital importance in a marketplace demanding skilled, technologically-savvy workers.”

New York Conference of Mayors Executive Director Peter Baynes: “Gov. Hochul’s Executive Budget is a positive and long overdue development in state-local relations in New York. By proposing increased investments in local road, bridge, water and sewer infrastructure, she is walking the walk of someone who understands that New York cannot succeed without strong local governments. Her respect for municipalities is demonstrated by her proposal to eliminate the state’s recent practice of intercepting local sales tax revenue to pay for state aid to localities. And her focus on revitalizing all cities and villages through programs like the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, NY Forward and Restore New York will pay important dividends for our residents and small businesses. While the final piece of the puzzle – an increase in AIM funding to municipalities – is currently missing, NYCOM will work with the Senate, Assembly and Governor to address this omission prior to final budget adoption.”

New York State Association of Counties President Martha Sauerbrey: “Counties are very encouraged to see that the budget makes significant progress in restoring local control over local taxes by making sales tax rates permanent and ending the misguided practice of intercepting local sales tax to pay for the State’s AIM program. Counties also applaud the inclusion of increased funding for local public health departments that have been on the front lines of the pandemic for nearly two years, as well as investments in local road and bridge programs, strengthening workforce development, expanding local veterans’ programs, and modernizing the vacation rental industry in our communities – all while making a commitment to use the state’s strong fiscal position to build reserves for the future.”

NYS County Executives Association President Marcus Molinaro: “After one-sided top down governance from the state, counties began this year with an encouraging step toward creating a new partnership. The Governor’s 2022-2023 budget proposal addresses long-sought county priorities like providing permanency in local sales taxes, ending the diversion of local taxes to pay for the State’s AIM program, and making significant investments in public health, support for veterans and infrastructure. While there remain areas of concern, like the state continuing to to confiscate local sales tax to support a distressed health facilities fund, there is lots of common ground to build on and we look forward to engaging with the Governor and state lawmakers in the coming months create a budget that supports local governments and the residents we serve.”

New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta: “With the state on solid financial footing, the ongoing needs of our pandemic-battered public schools, colleges and hospitals must be met this year. Gov. Hochul’s spending plan makes some important commitments toward meeting those needs, including a significant increase in aid for K-12 schools and sorely needed operating aid for SUNY and CUNY. We look forward to reviewing the executive budget in greater detail and ensuring the voices of our members are included in the conversation between now and April 1.”

Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Duffy: “From offering solutions to workforce shortages to infusing capital into communities, Governor Hochul’s proposed budget seeks to support business in unprecedented and desperately needed ways. Tax relief for small businesses, childcare funding, financial aid for Covid-related expenditures, a $1 billion fund available for small business innovation, and violence prevention funding are just a handful of ways this budget holistically addresses barriers to success for economic growth in Rochester and the Finger Lakes region.

Greater Rochester Chamber and our 1,300 members stand ready to help Governor Hochul in making New York stronger than ever by supporting policies that allow our businesses to thrive.”

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Hochul proposes balanced budget with tax relief for small businesses and middle class
Posted 18 January 2022 at 5:49 pm

Education and healthcare workforce would get big increases

Press Release, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Office

Photo by Mike Groll/Office of Governor: Kathy Hochul presents the Fiscal Year 2023 Executive Budget today in the Red Room at the State Capitol.

Governor Kathy Hochul today, with Division of the Budget Director Robert F. Mujica Jr., outlined her Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Executive Budget.

The FY 2023 Executive Budget maintains the Governor’s commitment to passing a bold agenda that by rebuilds New York’s healthcare and teacher workforces; provides tax relief to those who need it most; speeds up economic growth and creates good-paying middle-class jobs; strengthens the state’s infrastructure and confronts climate change; secures public safety and protects communities; makes housing more affordable to ensure every New Yorker has a roof over their head; and enacts bold reforms to restore trust in State government.

“We have the means to immediately respond to the Covid-19 pandemic as well as embrace this once-in-a-generation opportunity for the future with a historic level of funding that is both socially responsible and fiscally prudent,” Governor Hochul said.

A Balanced Budget

Governor Hochul’s FY 2023 budget proposal reflects New York’s solid financial footing. As tax revenues rebound the budget is balanced for the entirety of the financial plan leading up to FY 2027, has no budget gaps, and holds spending growth in FY 2023 below inflation.

Rebuilding the Health Care Workforce 

To restore our depleted healthcare workforce and build the healthcare system of tomorrow, Governor Hochul will make a more-than-$10 billion, multi-year investment in healthcare, including more than $4 billion to support wages and bonuses for healthcare workers. Key components of this multi-year investment include:

  • $1.2 billion of state support for healthcare and mental hygiene worker retention bonuses, with up to $3,000 bonuses going to full-time workers who remain in their positions for one year, and pro-rated bonuses for those working fewer hours;
  • $500 million for Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLAs) to help raise wages for human services workers;
  • $2.4 billion for healthcare capital infrastructure and improved lab capacity; and
  • Other investments in workforce and healthcare access and delivery.

With these investments, Governor Hochul proposes to rebuild and grow the healthcare workforce by 20 percent over the next five years with a program designed to strengthen home care, improve the career pipeline, expand access to healthcare training and education, and recruit healthcare and direct support professionals to care for people in underserved areas.

Strengthening the Teacher Workforce 

• School Aid: The FY 2023 Executive Budget provides $31.3 billion in total School Aid for SY 2023, the highest level of State aid ever. This investment represents a year-to-year increase of $2.1 billion (7.1 percent) compared to School Year (SY) 2022, including a $1.6 billion Foundation Aid increase and a $466 million increase in all other School Aid programs.

• Foundation Aid: Foundation Aid is the State’s main education operating aid formula. It is focused on allocating State funds equitably to all school districts, especially high-need districts, based on student need, community wealth, and regional cost differences. The Executive Budget provides a $1.6 billion (8.1 percent) increase in Foundation Aid, supporting the second year of the three-year phase-in of full funding of the current Foundation Aid formula and ensuring each school district receives a minimum year-to-year increase of 3 percent.

The Executive Budget provides SUNY and CUNY with $106 million – $53 million each – to hire additional full-time faculty at both four-year colleges and community colleges. This investment will fund an estimated 880 additional full-time faculty – 340 at SUNY and 540 at CUNY, including support for CUNY’s plan to convert adjuncts to full-time faculty.

Providing Tax Relief to Those Who Need It 

• Accelerate the Implementation of the Middle-Class Tax Cut: The eight-year phase-in of personal income tax cuts for middle-class taxpayers first began in Tax Year 2018 and is currently scheduled to be completed at the start of the 2025 Tax Year. The Executive Budget:

• Accelerates tax relief to middle-class New Yorkers by providing the fully implemented reduced tax rates beginning in Tax Year 2023.

• Provides relief to 6.1 million New Yorkers.

Create a Tax Credit for Small Businesses’ Covid-19-Related Expenses: To continue the State’s support for our small businesses, the Executive Budget includes a new capped refundable tax relief program targeting Covid-19-related expenses for small businesses. The program provides:

• Up to $250 million in additional relief to small businesses.

• Eligible Covid-19-related capital investments include, but are not limited to, costs associated with expanding space to accommodate social distancing, HVAC equipment, expenses related to outdoor space expansions, as well as machinery and equipment to facilitate contactless sales.

Provide Small Business Tax Relief: Small businesses were hit particularly hard by the pandemic downturn. The Executive Budget provides much needed tax relief to these businesses by:

• Increasing the small business subtraction modification from 5 percent to 15 percent of net business income or farm income, and

• Expanding the benefit to include pass-through entities with less than $1.5 million NY-source gross income.

• This proposal will aid 195,000 small businesses through one of the most challenging business climates in modern history.

Provide a Homeowner Tax Rebate Credit: The Executive Budget creates a new property tax relief credit, the Homeowner Tax Rebate Credit, to eligible low- and middle-income households, as well as eligible senior households:

• Basic STAR exemption and credit beneficiaries with incomes below $250,000 and Enhanced STAR recipients are eligible for the property tax rebate where the benefit is a percentage of the homeowners’ existing STAR benefit.

• This one-year program is, in general, an extension of the real Property Tax Relief Credit Program that expired after 2019, with benefits calculated as a percentage of a homeowner’s STAR benefit. Additionally, homeowners in New York City will also be eligible for this credit.

• Outside of New York City, the average benefit will be nearly $970, providing relief to more than 2 million property tax-paying households. The New York City average benefit will be about $425, with benefits reaching another 479,000 property tax-paying households.

• For homeowners with income below $75,000 the statewide average credit is estimated at nearly $1,050, benefiting an estimated 837,800 recipients.

• The benefit will be in the form of an advanced credit, instead of being claimed when tax returns are filed, thus getting benefits in the hands of New York homeowners more quickly. Credits will be an advance on Tax Year 2022 income tax returns, to be directly sent to eligible homeowners beginning in Fall 2022.

Capital Plan and Infrastructure 

The new five-year, $32.8 billion DOT capital plan will leverage Federal funding commitments made in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to support final phases of major infrastructure projects, including Hunts Point Interstate Access Improvement and the replacement of I-81 in Syracuse.

The new plan also supports new large-scale projects, including: modernizing the Livingston Avenue Bridge in Albany; reconnecting neighborhoods across the Kensington Expressway in Buffalo; converting Route 17 to I-86 in Orange and Sullivan Counties; and assessing ways to improve road capacity at the Oakdale Merge in Suffolk County.

The Five-Year DOT Capital Plan also increases the existing BRIDGE-NY program by $1 billion, adds a new $1 billion Operation Pave Our Potholes program, and continues record commitments to funding local highway and bridge programs through the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS).

Child Care 

Building on $832 million in existing subsidies and $2.3 billion in Federal child care resources, the Budget includes new investments to support children, parents, and the child care industry.

• Increase Eligibility for Subsidies— child care subsidy eligibility will be increased from up to 200 percent of the Federal poverty level  to up to 300 percent of the Federal poverty level over three years. Fully phased in, more than $535 million annually will allow an additional 400,000 children to become newly eligible.

• Maintain Access to Child Care Providers— $125 million in funding annually is included to maintain child care subsidies when rates increase in 2022.

• Support Child Care Workers—$75 million is invested in child care worker wages, an endorsement of the importance of their work.

Small Businesses

Governor Hochul is proposing a nearly billion-dollar plan focused on the State’s small businesses, including targeted programs to address small business needs and ensure all types of small businesses prosper throughout the State.  Key components of this plan include:

• Funding for Small Businesses of the Future – Capital and venture debt awards to emerging small businesses in the innovation sector, including minority-and-women-owned companies often overlooked by venture investments.

• Seed Funding for Small Business – A $200 million flexible grant program for early-stage businesses recently opened despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

• Small Business Lending Initiative – Provide reduced interest rate and accessible loans to expanding small businesses.

SUNY and CUNY

$1.5 Billion for SUNY and CUNY: The Executive Budget will invest more than $300 million in SUNY and CUNY operations each year over the next five years. Governor Hochul also will partner over the next year with SUNY, its individual institutions, and key stakeholders to develop a plan to implement her vision to transform SUNY into the top statewide system of public higher education in the country. The Executive Budget will help start this transformation with funding for new engineering buildings to help the University at Buffalo and Stony Brook University become SUNY’s flagship institutions.

The Executive Budget will increase operating support to SUNY State-operated campuses and City University of New York (CUNY) senior colleges by fully reimbursing colleges for the $108.4 million cost of “Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) Gap” tuition credits, providing additional State support of $59.6 million to CUNY and $48.8 million to SUNY. The university systems will also receive an $18.6 million in additional operating revenue from Executive Budget legislation to raise the amount of State support that campuses receive for Excelsior Scholarship recipients, increasing operating support by $13.7 million to SUNY State operated campuses, $2.8 million to CUNY senior colleges and $2.1 million to community colleges.

Expand Part-Time Students’ Access to TAP: The Executive Budget includes $150 million to expand TAP, which currently is largely unavailable for students studying part time, to cover students enrolled in six or more credits of study at a SUNY, CUNY, or not-for-profit independent college – an investment estimated to provide support to 75,000 additional New York students annually.

Energy and the Environment 

• Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act: The Executive Budget includes $4 billion for the landmark Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act.  This historic initiative will provide the support New York needs to restore critical environmental habitats; reduce flood risks; conserve additional lands and open spaces; protect and improve our water resources; and invest in climate change mitigation projects that will reduce pollution and lower carbon emissions. The Bond Act will also support a substantial investment in the Clean Green Schools initiative that will reach every public school located in a disadvantaged community.

• Offshore Wind: The Executive Budget includes $500 million investment to develop the State’s offshore wind supply chains and port infrastructure.  This nation-leading initiative will create 2,000 jobs in a growing industry, while helping to make New York the offshore wind capital of the country for years to come.

Housing

Launch a New Five-Year, $25 Billion Comprehensive Housing Plan. The Executive Budget advances a new $25 billion, five-year Housing Plan to create and preserve 100,000 affordable homes, including 10,000 homes with support services for vulnerable populations, and electrify an additional 50,000 homes as part of the State’s plan to electrify one million homes and make another one million electrification-ready. Funding includes $5.7 billion in capital resources, $8.8 billion in State and Federal tax credits and other federal allocations, $11 billion to support the operation of shelters and supportive housing units and to provide rental subsidies.

Combating Gun Violence 

The Executive Budget includes $224 million to fund initiatives that will strengthen the gun violence prevention efforts of law enforcement and community-based organizations. Through these actions, we will work to restore New Yorkers’ sense of safety and community. Some of these actions include:

• Triple Resources for Crime Gun Tracing Efforts – The Executive Budget provides $350,000 in funding to triple the state’s gun violence intelligence resources by staffing the New York State Intelligence Center (NYSIC) with a team of analysts necessary to process and investigate crime guns across the state.

• Strengthen Law Enforcement Partnerships – The Executive Budget provides $13.1 million to expand the use of Community Stabilization Units that partner the most experienced State Troopers with local law enforcement agencies to combat community-specific crime problems.

• Expand the State’s Direct Support to Local Law Enforcement (GIVE) – The Executive Budget increases funding to $18.2 million for New York’s nationally recognized Gun Involved Violence Elimination (GIVE) initiative which supports local law enforcement efforts to stop the gun violence in New York. This investment will enable the launch of several new initiatives which will support law enforcement’s ability to clear non-fatal shooting cases, engage in youth-centered community programming, and reduce recidivism for individuals under community supervision.

• Triple Investment in Community-Based Gun Violence Response (SNUG) – The Executive Budget sustains last year’s emergency increase in funding for New York’s SNUG Outreach program and further expand support to combat the spike in gun crimes. This investment of $24.9 million will expand hospital-based and street outreach programs to touch all corners of the state. It will facilitate the piloting of several new initiatives which provide wrap-around services for youth, job-readiness and work-placement training.

• Respond to Regional Needs in the Aftermath of Gun Violence – The Executive Budget includes $20 million in new funding to support the people and places that have been most impacted by the spike in gun violence. This will allow the deployment of innovative community empowerment and crime-reduction programming in high-need areas that will facilitate the repairing and rebuilding of regions victimized by crime involving guns.

Addressing Addiction and the Opioid Crisis 

Under Governor Hochul’s leadership, the Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) will take significant steps to address the opioid crisis by improving access to addiction treatment services, removing barriers to treatment, developing new and innovative treatment models, and expanding the number of treatment facilities in communities around New York State.

The Executive Budget provides an increase of $402 million (56 percent) in operating and capital support for OASAS to enhance prevention, treatment and recovery programs targeted toward addiction services, residential service opportunities, and primary prevention activities consistent with state opioid settlement agreements; and invests more than $100 million in new resources from the Opioid Stewardship Tax and litigation settlements with pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors. Of these funds, $113 million will pass through the State to local municipalities, consistent with settlement agreements.

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Lee-Whedon Library loaning out laptops, iPads and Chromebooks
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 January 2022 at 4:11 pm

MEDINA – The Lee-Whedon Memorial Library is making Chromebooks, laptops and iPads available to be loaned out.

The library received a grant for nearly $5,000 grant from federal Emergency Connectivity Fund. This money will be used to purchase five Chromebooks, five laptops, and three iPads for circulation in Medina, said Kristine Mostyn, director of Lee-Whedon.

The grant has been allocated to assist libraries and schools in providing the tools needed for remote learning during the Covid pandemic, Mostyn said.

“We are very happy to be able to provide additional technology and resources to the students of our community,” said David Schwert, President of the Board of Trustees. “Adding this technology aligns with the library’s mission of providing free access to learning and information.”

For more information call the library at (585) 798-3430 or check the library website.

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