Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today announced that Suffolk County secured millions of dollars in additional state funding as part of the enacted FY 2019 state budget. This year, the County Executive advocated for a select number of priorities focused on enhancing public safety, supporting public transportation, expanding access to locally grown farm products, and making government more efficient.
“Suffolk County scored major victories in this year’s state budget by securing funding for the overwhelming majority of our top priorities,” said Suffolk County Executive Bellone. “We are pleased that Albany heard our calls and delivered with the necessary funding to meet our obligations here at home.”
The FY 2019 state budget for Suffolk County includes:
Combatting Violent Gangs and Community Outreach
County Executive Bellone has made it a top priority to eradicate violent criminal gangs such as MS-13. Suffolk County received $16 million in state funding towards providing at-risk youth on Long Island with access to social programs and alternatives to gang activity. This includes an expansion of after-school programs in areas with high gang activity, expand job and vocational training opportunities for young people, provide gang prevention education to students, and expand comprehensive support services for at-risk young people.
The budget extends authority for the County-Wide Shared Services panels for another three years. The budget also expands to include fire districts and fire protection districts in the Shared Services Initiative. The budget also includes $225 million to fund New York State’s commitment to match savings achieved by participating counties. Last year, Suffolk County unveiled SuffolkShare, a comprehensive ten point plan that provides a modern inter-municipal framework among participating municipalities to enhance service offerings and is projected to save nearly $37 million over two years among local governments.
The State increased transportation operating aid in order to enhance the County’s ongoing efforts to improve public transportation. Suffolk County will receive a total of $26,966,300, which is a $522,600 increase in aid over last year’s state funding.
The New York State Farm-to-School Program connects schools with local farmers and food producers to strengthen local agriculture, improve student health, and promote regional food systems awareness. Suffolk County received double the amount of funding for the Farm-to-School Program from $750,000 to $1.5 million. In addition, the FY 2019 state budget increased the reimbursement rate from 6 cents to 25 cents for schools that purchase 30 percent of their food products for their lunch service program from New York farmers, growers or producers.
Expanding the New York State Controlled Substance Schedule
The state budget expands New York State’s Controlled Substance Schedule to close dangerous loopholes that shield drug dealers from justice and allows dangerous drugs to remain on our streets. The new definition adds two derivatives of fentanyl, various new hallucinogenic drugs, synthetic cannabinoids and cannabimimetic agents to New York State’s Controlled Substance Schedule. Additionally, the budget includes an opioid stewardship program to be imposed on manufacturers and distributors that sell or distribute opioids throughout New York State.