NYS county executives meet, discuss key issues at annual NYSAC conference
The annual seminar for the New York State Association of Counties convened this week for their annual seminar. Hot topics included asylum seekers, election changes and Medicaid funds.
At a press conference held during NYSAC’s annual luncheon, Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon and Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente spoke out against the handling of influx of asylum seekers and the proposed change to county election years. For Picente, the issue regarding asylum seekers comes down to the federal and state government’s handling of immigration.
“It’s a federal problem that they refuse to answer,” Picente said. “The state’s answer and the governor’s answer, is the most obscure way to answer it, is to let these people work. That doesn’t solve the problem.”
Both Picente and McMahon said the issue is that there is a lack of resources for asylum seekers.
As for the move to vote on changing county election years from odd to even, McMahon said it was proposed “in the dark of night” and without proper consideration. He questioned the claim that the move is to improve voter turnout.
“If it’s about turnout then why are you just doing it for counties and for towns?” McMahon asked. “Why are the cities’ and the villages’ and the school board elections not involved?”
The county executives also expressed frustration at the state’s decision to withhold federal funding for localities to help pay for Medicaid and said that it would just hurt their communities. McMahon said the state’s funding decision goes against the push for affordability.
“If we want to look at affordability, there wouldn't be a county property tax in my county if Albany just paid for the mandated services that they want us to provide that we don’t control,” McMahon said. “And that’s what’s happened.”