With cases of COVID-19 still on the increase, and more and more information becoming available about the virus and its effects, local governments may be faced with making decisions about how to conduct necessary business. The following compilation may be a useful list for news and resources to consult in local decision making. Keep in mind this is a rapidly evolving situation, so check back frequently.
2020 Elections and COVID-19 (May 22, 2020) – The COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant distancing requirements have necessitated some changes to the normal election cycles for 2020.
Municipal Employees in NY and COVID-19 (April 20, 2020) – Local governments employee a significant number of personnel with a variety of responsibilities. There are many questions regarding essential vs. non-essential employees, essential construction, etc. so commission staff have compiled some information and references in this document. This will be an evolving issue, so please check back regularly. We advise working with your municipal attorney and unions to make sure what affect actions may have on collective bargaining agreements. Contact your circuit rider for more assistance.
Zoom Meeting Video Download Instructions (June 1, 2020) – Written instructions and a video explaining how to download zoom meeting materials to your own computer.
Zoom Manual For Municipalities (March 30, 2020) – As the COVID-19 emergency management leaders continue to encourage social distancing, there are ways to hold public meetings that conform to Open Meetings Law and the current executive orders. Zoom offers webinar and videoconferencing tools that allow you to host a public meeting with multiple presenters. Also helpful are pre-recorded training sessions from the Zoom website.
Zoom Meeting Checklist (April 20, 2020) – To accompany the Zoom Manual (above).
Court Matters and COVID-19 (May 22, 2020) – Many of local municipalities have a town or village court which operates out of their facilities. While the funding for these courts comes from the local government, the courts operate under the supervision and direction of the Unified Court System and the Chief Justice of the State of New York. The supervising and administrative judges of each judicial district may also issue administrative orders for the courts that they supervise. This document provides a breakdown of the current directives which apply to the town and village courts in the Tug Hill region.
Land Use Applications in NY and COVID-19 (May 22, 2020) – Local government boards that are forced to postpone or cancel meetings due to the COVID-19 crisis may be concerned about land use applications before them that are subject to certain time constraints imposed by Town and Village Law. Of particular concern may be default approval of land subdivision applications that are not acted on within the required time limit. The NYS planning statutes allow for these time limits to be extended by mutual consent of the applicant and the reviewing board.
Public Meetings in NY and COVID-19 (May 22, 2020) – Local governments need to keep doing business during this public health crisis. Commission staff have compiled some information and references in this document to help towns and villages figure out their next steps. This will be an evolving document, so please check back regularly. Contact your circuit rider if you need more assistance.
NY Association of Towns – Scroll about half way down for Coronavirus (Covid-19) Update for Local Governments. This document is updated frequently and contains very useful information about mass gatherings, open meetings law, emergency declarations and reductions in work force.
NY Association of Counties COVID-19 Website includes many resources including a listing of all New York State Executive Orders.
NY Conference of Mayors COVID-19 Website includes guidance on declaring a local state of emergency, conducting meetings and public hearings, local government workplace population reductions, guidance for villages with March 2020 elections, the 2020 village budget process and additional resources.
World Health Organization – Coronavirus Disease Outbreak
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) – Coronavirus (COVID-19)
NYS Governor – latest press releases and sign up for updates via email
Governor Cuomo has declared a Disaster Emergency in the State of New York and has announced that the state will be producing and distributing hand sanitizer. Local governments seeking to obtain additional stocks of hand sanitizer should work with their County’s Emergency Manager and local Health Department to submit requests directly into NY Responds, the state’s web-based system which enables both local governments and state agencies to submit and share vital emergency-related information and resource requests.
Governor Cuomo Executive Order 202.1 includes suspension of Article 7 of the Public Officers Law, allowing the attendance of meetings telephonically or other similar service.
https://www.newzjunky.com/coronavirus/ – updates from central and northern New York