Fanslau issues memorandum to Division Commissioners, Elected Officers, and Department Heads seeking input on Impacts from the possible shutdown of the Federal Government   

(Monticello) — County Manager David P. Fanslau announced that he has sent a memorandum today to the County’s Division Commissioners, Elected Officers, and Department Heads seeking their input on impacts from the possible shutdown of the Federal Government.  In the event that the leaders in the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives fail to reach an agreement that also will have the support of the White House, federal agencies may not operate any “non-essential” services, and federal funding will likely be halted during the duration of any Federal Government shutdown.  Sullivan County must make plans to deal with any impacts from a possible shutdown of the Federal Government.

Fanslau wrote to County officials: “I am requesting that you closely evaluate any operations that rely upon federal funding or any federal agency partnerships to function.  The Federal Government has not shut down since the infamous shutdown in 1995.  Therefore, if any contingency plans were developed during that federal shutdown, they are likely obsolete at best.

Please identify all programs or functions within your department(s) that rely in whole or in part upon any federal funding to either function, or is relied upon for reimbursement.  Furthermore, please identify the total amount and percentage of federal funding associated with each program, service, position, and function that has been budgeted for 2011.   Please contact your appropriate federal and or state oversight agency to inquire whether performing services subject to federal funding will be a valid reimbursable or drawdown expense during the term of any shutdown of the Federal Government.  If you are advised that performing any service or function associated with federal funding would be vulnerable or that realizing the federal funding or reimbursement would be jeopardized, please seek guidance on how or whether to proceed in performing that particular service or function.  If you are advised that the federal funding or reimbursement should not be relied upon, or that performing the associated services or functions would be ineligible for federal funding or reimbursements, contact my office immediately for further discussions.

There may be far reaching policy implications that will require the action of the County Legislature, particularly if there is a need to determine whether to continue to provide a service or function at County expense, if the budgeted federal funding or reimbursements are in jeopardy.  if you are advised to continue to perform services or functions associated with federal funding or reimbursements, please ascertain such guidance in a written instrument from the authorizing oversight agency.

I am particularly concerned that the County Treasurer will be in the position of having to borrow funds to cover federal funding or reimbursements during the possible shutdown of the Federal Government generally, but I’m even more concerned if those funds are borrowed with the prospect that the County may not realize the federal funding or reimbursements that would be needed to pay the debt service associated with such borrowed funds.

As you may know, the County is already in a position to have to borrow money to cover cash flow needs that are associated with millions of dollars that are owed to the County from New York State and the Federal Government presently from services that have been performed on their behalf.  The situation is compounded by what is expected to be a need for the Treasurer to write close to $18 million in checks to the County’s school districts for unpaid 2010 school property taxes, as New York State Law requires the County to make school districts financially whole.”

Fanslau has requested that the County’s Division Commissioners, Elected Officers, and Department Heads respond to the memorandum regarding impacts and contingency plans to his office by Wednesday, March 2nd.

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For additional information, please contact David Fanslau at 845-807-0450

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