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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Urges New York State to provide funds to cover costs to local government for implementing law

Erie County, NY – Although his term as Chair of the eight County Western Region of the New York State County Clerks Association (NYSACC) does not begin until January, Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs is already working on behalf of the  Western Region County Clerks who have been financially impacted through the NY SAFE Act.

“Albany repeatedly said this new gun law would not be an unfunded mandate on local governments, unfortunately that is not the case,” said Jacobs.  Jacobs is delivering a resolution approved by the Western Region Clerk’s to the Statewide County Clerk’s Association meeting next week in Lake Placid stating that the Western New York Counties alone have incurred over $100,000 in additional costs because of the Safe Act.

The resolution says that “uncertainty and confusion regarding the NY Safe Act has resulted in an increase in the number of first time applicants, an increase in the number of guns purchased, an increase in the number of amendments and requests to upgrade pistol permits, and an increase in phone calls and correspondence which have put an undue burden on the staff and budget allocations of the Clerk’s Offices.”  The resolution was a result of shared concerns identified at a recent meeting of the eight Western Region Counties hosted by Jacobs.

Additionally, Clerks are significantly burdened by processing the “opt-out” form provision of the NY Safe Act which keeps pistol permit records private.  Erie County alone is trying to process over 30,000 opt-out request forms from permit holders.  The Western Region County Clerks have tabulated the direct costs to their governments as being $117,000.  Erie County has spent over $28,000 in overtime and supply costs to handle the workload associated with the new gun law.

When the State Legislature passed the SAFE Act they allocated $27 Million dollars to the State Police for administering this new law and no money to local governments,” stated Jacobs.  “County Clerks are doing a great deal of the work administering this new law, local taxpayers should not have to pick-up-the-bill for this State Law.”

On behalf of the Western Region, Jacobs is asking the NYSACC to do a statewide version of this resolution on the impact to all the 62 New York State Counties. “If the Western Region has incurred over $100,000 in unfunded mandate costs in less than a year, I can just imagine how large the cost will be when we quantify it statewide,” added Jacobs.