Executive Fiala Meets with Lt. Governor Richard Ravitch

 Lobbies with NYSAC on behalf of counties
(Binghamton, NY) Broome County Executive Barbara J. Fiala joined NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario in New York City Tuesday to lobby the Governor’s office on behalf of counties across the state. Fiala, who is President this year of the New York State Association of County Executive’s and Mr. Acquario were provided a one on one meeting with Lt. Governor Richard Ravitch, who has been charged by Governor David Paterson to head up budget talks with the state legislature. The topic was the current budget crunch experienced by New York State and its counties. 

“We were given the opportunity to communicate our concerns to Lt. Governor Ravitch to make sure he and other state leaders realize they cannot shift any additional costs to the county level. We simply cannot bear any additional fiscal burdens,” said Executive Fiala. “We feel confident that he understood our concerns, however, he also expressed how difficult the state financial picture is and that it will continue to be tough going forward.”
“County Executive Fiala took the concerns of Broome County residents directly to one of the highest offices of state government---the Lt. Governor. County Executive Fiala stressed the need for enhanced economic development investments in the Southern Tier,” said Acquario. “This was an important opportunity to raise awareness of the sensitivity of raising property taxes, and the Lt. Governor was very receptive to our concerns.” Executive Fiala appreciated the chance to share with the Governor’s office the struggles counties continue to face in trying to keep up with state mandated costs while trying to maintain control of local property taxes.
As a result of Wednesday’s meeting, Lt. Ravitch expressed interest in meeting with County Executives from across the state to hear more about their financial situations as well as discuss possible solutions. That meeting will hopefully take place in early December.
While in New York City, County Executive Fiala and NYSAC Executive Director Acquario were also able to meet with Hiroshi Sasaki, Executive Director of the Japan Local Government Center in New York City.
The meeting focused on consolidation issues. Executive Director Sasaki and his staff related how they are also trying to consolidate local governments in Japan.
“It was very interesting to hear about their efforts in Japan to consolidate governments and extremely fascinating to hear that many of their experiences were similar to ours,” said Fiala.
County Executive Fiala invited representatives of the Japan Local Government Center to Greater Binghamton so they could learn more about how our local levels of government operate.
Both groups expressed how educational and helpful the meeting was to the two groups. It is hoped there will be future exchanges in the near future.


10/08/2009 - 5:43pm