Report on the Impact of the Trump Administration's Proposed 2018 Federal Budget Blueprint on Erie County

Modified: March 21, 2017 10:16am

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  • The Erie County Department of Public Works (“DPW”) anticipates long-awaited road reconstruction work on Goodrich Road will begin soon as the department opened bids in mid-July for the $

    July 21, 2017 11:18am
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    Opening ceremonies on Sunday, July 16 to be followed by inaugural cricket match at Ellicott Creek

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Date: 
3/20/17

Overview

On March 16, 2017, the President of the United States Donald J. Trump’s Office of Management and Budget issued an overview of its soon to be proposed 2018 federal budget entitled “America First – A Budget Blueprint to make America Great Again” (hereinafter referred to as the “Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint”). The Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint would apply to the federal budget year for fiscal year 2018, which is for the period of October 1, 2017 until September 30, 2018.

Due to the fact many services provided by the County of Erie, State of New York are fully or partially paid for by the federal government, on March 16, 2017 County Executive Mark Poloncarz ordered certain commissioners and heads of departments that rely on federal funding to review the Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint and provide a report on the expected impact of it on Erie County services, including, but not limited to, the identification of any programs impacted by the Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint (including the expected cut in funds received), possible reduction in direct county jobs as a result of any cut, impact on third parties that receive funds from Erie County that are received from the federal government, as well as any other known impact. This report is a compilation of individual reports provided by the following departments to the county executive’s office:

· Department of Emergency Services and Homeland Security

· Department of Environment and Planning

· Department of Health

· Department of Mental Health

· Department of Senior Services

· Department of Social Services

Each department indicated the Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint would only impact the next federal budget year commencing on October 1, 2017. Any programs funded through the 2017 federal budget year ending on September 30, 2017 would not be affected by the release of the Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint and whatever budget is eventually adopted by Congress for the 2018 federal fiscal year. Due to the fact Erie County’s budget process occurs following the federal budget process, most departments include in their annual budget submissions to the Erie County Division of Budget and Management what has been approved to be received from the federal government for the following year. Therefore, any cuts in programs and services identified herein would be those for the 2018 federal fiscal year which will impact the 2018 county fiscal year starting on January 1, 2018 and running through December 31, 2018.

Department of Emergency Services and Homeland Security

Homeland Security Program: The Erie County Department of Emergency Services and Homeland Security (herein referred to as “ESU”) notes ESU receives no direct federal assistance, but does receive funding through the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ (herein referred to as “NYSDHSES”) Homeland Security Program (herein referred to as “HSP”) as part of the Buffalo, Erie and Niagara region. ESU estimates, based on the Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint and published reports NYSDHSES entire HSP would be reduced by twenty-five percent (25%) or $19,237,250.

Calculating a twenty-five percent reduction in the HSP share received by the Buffalo, Erie and Niagara region, the entire region would see a reduction in funding from the most recent award of $2,322,953 to $1,742,214. Erie County’s portion of the most recent total award was $1,407,651, meaning in 2018 Erie County could see a reduction in federal homeland security assistance of $351,870.

UASI Grants: Erie County no longer receives federal funding through the federal Urban Areas Security Initiative (“UASI”) Grant Programs. Therefore any cuts to the program as proposed in the Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint will have no impact to Erie County.

Port Grants: The Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint would cut assistance to local ports by twenty-five percent (25%) nationwide. ESU reports the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority’s transit grant could be cut by $38,325 and its Port Security Grant would be cut by $12,500.

FEMA Grants: The Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint would cut grant assistance to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (herein referred to as “FEMA”) by twenty-five percent (25%) nationwide. ESU reports it does not have any current grant requests to FEMA but is still in the close-out process of receiving assistance and auditing for the 2014 “Knife” snowstorm. ESU reports it is uncertain if a cut to FEMA’s budget would have any impact on funds received by Erie County from FEMA for the 2014 “Knife” snowstorm.

Department of Environment and Planning

The Erie County Department of Environment and Planning (herein referred to as “DEP”) indicates many of its programs and services are funded through grants provided by multiple federal departments, including the United States Department of Housing and Urban Renewal (herein after referred to as “HUD”). Assistance received from HUD supports many programs and services county-wide, including those provided by Erie County’s Community Development Block Grant (herein referred to as “CDBG”) Consortium areas. [1]

CDBG and HOME: The Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint eliminates all federal funding for the CDBG and Home Investment Partnership (herein referred to as “HOME”) programs. DEP administers these two programs together using the same staff and resources, so for the purposes of this report they will be combined for identifying the impact of the Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint.

Using the 2016 Erie County Budget as a baseline, DEP estimates $3,725,879 would be eliminated in annual federal funding for staff and programming for both programs. Within DEP, eight (8) full-time and two (2) part-time employees would be affected by cuts to the CDBG and HOME grants (a total of $754,757 in salary and fringe benefits), and in all likelihood would be deleted from the 2018 Erie County Budget.

As part of the total $3,725,879 received for CDBG and HOME projects, DEP estimates a total loss of $2,971,122 in assistance to local municipalities that are part of Erie County’s CDBG Consortium area. The projects funded by Erie County’s CDBG Consortium area funding are as varied as:

· Rural transportation service for seniors and low income households;

· Acquisition of senior vans for municipalities;

· Housing rehabilitation programs for low income homeowners;

· Façade improvement programs in village/town/city centers;

· Initiatives to fund smart growth planning proposals;

· Replacing of aging sidewalks to make them Americans with Disabilities Act compliant;

· Demolition and/or restoration of blighted properties in village/town/city centers; and

· Many other projects and services.

A complete list of all projects funded by CDBG and HOME in Erie County in 2016 is attached hereto as Exhibit “A.”

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative: The United States Environmental Protection Agency (herein referred to as “EPA”) has invested more than $22,353,000 to clean up and restore habitat in and around the Buffalo River at twenty (20) sites as part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (herein referred to as “GLRI”). Erie County is managing GLRI habitat restorations at four (4) sites, totaling approximately $5 million of the total Buffalo River investment under two separate GLRI contracts.

Due to lower construction costs and other unanticipated project savings DEP expects to have approximately $350,000 to roll forward for future habitat work beyond the December 2018 end of the grant. DEP has been assured by EPA-GLRI administrators and project officers all grants previously awarded will not be affected by the new budget cut proposals.

The most significant impact of the proposed Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint will be the complete elimination of all funding for the GLRI. This will directly impact the next phase of Buffalo River remediation and cleanup, which is estimated to require up to a five (5) year maintenance and monitoring period at a cost of approximately $500,000. If the GLRI is deleted in full, DEP would lose approximately $500,000 annually in funding critical to the ultimate delisting of the Buffalo River. This loss of revenue would also impact the Buffalo-Niagara Riverkeeper as it is a partner to DEP in the Buffalo River cleanup project.

Sustainable Business Roundtable: The Western New York Sustainable Business Roundtable (herein referred to as “WNYSBR”) is an organization focused on creating an environmentally and economically resilient Buffalo-Niagara region through business innovation, knowledge, and co-operation. The members of the WNYSBR are primarily business organizations, but Erie County’s DEP has been a member since its inception and provides advice and assistance to WNYSBR members. [2]

The WNYSBR roundtable staff is funded through a two (2) year, $259,963 EPA Waste Reduction Grant. The Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint calls for an overall reduction of forty-five percent (45%) for categorical grants but does not indicate whether the EPA Waste Reduction Grants are targeted in this reduction. Should the EPA Waste Reduction grants be a part of that 45% reduction in categorical grant funding, the WNYSBR, through Erie County, would stand to lose $130,196 in Grant funding as well as the services of the full time staff person managing WNYSBR and money for training for WNYSBR members.

Other Potential Impacts: In addition to the direct impact on the above described DEP initiatives, the proposed EPA cuts will obviously have a devastating impact on toxic cleanups, and near shore health which includes runoff control to limit algae blooms throughout the Great Lakes. The EPA cuts may also delay the investigation and remediation of inner city former lead smelting sites.

DEP notes non-defense United States Department of Energy (herein referred to as “DOE”) funding is proposed to be cut by $3.1 billion (17.9%) which may have an impact on West Valley Demonstration Project funding. A new emphasis on restarting Yucca Mountain Project may also impact the availability of funding for cleanups. DEP cannot confirm if a cut in the West Valley Demonstration Project is in fact proposed because of the lack of information in the Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint.

The EPA’s Air, Climate, and Energy Research Program is proposed to be cut by nearly $1 billion, which may impact or delay local projects such as the Erie County Department of Parks and United States Army Corps of Engineers (herein after referred to as the “Corps”) project to build a fish ladder over the Springville Dam at Scobey Dam Park (as required by the Corps), along with the Corps’ Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (herein referred to as “FUSRAP”) radioactive contamination cleanups at Seaway and the Tonawanda Landfill pursuant to DOE assistance.

Finally, DEP notes a significant number of arts and cultural organizations receiving assistance from Erie County also receive funding through the National Endowment for the Arts (herein referred to as “NEA”). The Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint recommends eliminating all funding for the NEA. Elimination of the NEA would devastate the arts and cultural sector and the benefits it provides to our region.

Department of Health

The Erie County Department of Health (herein referred to as “DOH”) receives a significant amount of assistance annually from the New York State Department of Health (herein referred to as “NYSDOH”) to pay for various programs provided to Erie County residents. NYSDOH receives a significant amount of its assistance annually from the federal government, a portion of which is then provided to DOH. Due to the lack of information provided by the Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint, DOH cannot categorically state all programs at risk, but does note the following are subject to cuts as identified by funding streams identified in the Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint or as noted in the recent release of the American Health Care Act (herein referred to as the “AHCA”).

Immunization Action Plan Grant: The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (herein referred to as “CDC”) provides a number of grants to NYSDOH and DOH for various health related issues through the Public Health Fund. One such grant is to provide (1) immunization assessment for two (2) year old children to determine county-wide immunization rates; (2) immunization education to health care providers; and (3) ensures the usage of New York State Immunization Information System database. DOH receives $153,000 from the CDC through NYSDOH to provide this program which employs two (2) full-time employees and one (1) part-time employee. Pursuant to the AHCA and Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint, all federal funds would be cut for this grant.

Child Lead Hazard Grant: As part of the CDC’s Public Health Fund, Erie County’s DOH receives annually $244,349 to provide case management for children ages birth – six (6) who have been identified as having been exposed to lead, known as the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (herein referred to as “CLPPP”). DOH then provides medical referrals to parents/guardians of the children, investigates the sources of lead and provides educational home visits to lead-poisoned children through age six (6). DOH’s CLPPP is funded fifty-eight percent (58%) by NYSDOH and the remainder by the federal funds described above. DOH employs five (5) full-time employees and three (3) part-time employees as part of the full Child Lead Hazard program. Pursuant to the AHCA and Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint, all federal funds would be cut for the CLPPP.

Lead Hazard Control Grant: DOH receives annually $1,113,333 from HUD to provide lead hazard identification and contracted labor/supplies to remediate and control lead hazards in residences. Based on its review of the Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint, DOH does not believe any funds will be cut from this program.

Lead Hazard Reduction Grant: DOH receives annually $1,113,333 from HUD to provide prevent children from being exposed to lead hazards, thus preventing lead poisoning. The program is known locally as the Lead Poisoning Primary Prevention Program (herein referred to as “LPPPP”). LPPPP’s activities are focused in neighborhoods that have been identified as “communities of concern” where children are at high risk for lead poisoning. LPPPP performs lead based paint exterior assessments, provides lead education, and other interventions. Any identified lead hazards are required to be remediated by the property owner. Based on its review of the Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint, DOH does not believe any funds will be cut from this program.

Beach Water Testing: Annually DOH receives $11,250 from the EPA to perform routine bacteriological monitoring of Lake Erie beaches. The grant pays for the cost of performing the testing, though no employees are funded by this grant. Based on its review of the Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint, DOH believes all federal funds will be cut for this program.

Public Health Emergency Preparedness/Defense to Bio-Terrorism Grant: Annually DOH receives $590,270 from the CDC to ensure core emergency preparedness by DOH to respond rapidly to distribute vaccinations or medicine in the event of a public health emergency or bio-terrorism attack. Six (6) full-time employees and two (2) part-time employees are funded under this grant. Due to the way the Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint is written, DOH cannot determine if this grant is continued, though it anticipates a cut to this grant if federal funds are block granted.

STD Outreach Program: Annually DOH receives $225,000 from the CDC to reduce morbidity and mortality from sexually transmitted diseases through field epidemiology, case interviews, partner notification and referral services. Three (3) full-time employees are funded under this grant. Due to the way the Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint is written, DOH cannot determine if this grant is continued, though it anticipates a cut to this grant if federal funds are block granted.

Department of Mental Health

Homelessness Programs: The Erie County Department of Mental Health (herein referred to as “DMH”) has reviewed the Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint as well as contacted the Homeless Alliance of Western New York regarding HUD funds received locally for prevention of homelessness. While cuts to HUD are significant, $6.2 billion in total under the Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint, it appears local funds of $5 million for the Continuum of Care are not cut directly as they come from another funding stream. Cuts to HUD CDBGs that fund housing, services, and administrative staff to address the homeless issue may likely mean additional responsibilities upon local and state staff. Because of the way the Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint is written DMH is unable to quantify the true impact it would have on local services and programs provided to address homelessness.

Opioid Epidemic Prevention: While there remains a lack of detail and specifics, based on DMH’s review of the Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint, resources for opioid initiatives, including prevention and treatment, are projected to see a $500 million increase nationwide. More information is needed to determine what impact, if any, this positive increase could have in Erie County.

Department of Senior Services

The Erie County Department of Senior Services (herein referred to as “Seniors”) has completed a review of the Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint and concludes the following programs are to be cut or at risk of a loss of substantial funding:

Senior Aides and Senior Community Service Employment Grants: The Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint eliminates funding for the Senior Community Services Employment Program (herein referred to as “SCSEP”) which is the federal agency that funds two of our grants: Senior Aides (herein referred to as “SRAIDS”) and Senior Community Service Employment (herein referred to as “SREMP”). The 2017 adopted Erie County budget includes $780,169 in federal funding for SRAIDES which follows a July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018 fiscal year and $266,961 of federal funding for SREMP which follows an April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018 fiscal year.

The purpose of both grants is to provide subsidized training to low-income elderly in Erie County who are at least 55 years old. Senior Services contracts with Supportive Services Corporation to operate the program and it assesses client vocational needs and abilities, provides job counseling, job preparation, and then places low-income persons in unsubsidized community services and private sector positions. In program year 2015-2016, 189 individuals were assisted as part of the entire SCSEP grant and $845,082 wages were paid to supporting not-for-profit and governmental organizations under the grant.

Retired Senior Volunteer Program: Seniors concludes the Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint would eliminate all funding for the Corporation for National and Community Service, which is the grantor for the very popular Retired Senior Volunteer Program (herein referred to as “RSVP”). RSVP is funded through $73,891 of federal grant dollars for the April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018 fiscal year. The purpose of the grant is to recruit, train and place persons fifty-five (55) and older in volunteer placements in the community. The program presently has approximately 800 volunteers placed in ninety-two (92) not-for-profit cultural and human service agencies. Our RSVP office also operates the University Express program which provides lifelong learning opportunities for adults 55 and older.

In the 2015-2016 program year, the 800 volunteers logged more than 118,000 volunteer hours for Erie County, including seventy (70) volunteers who participated in the home-delivery meal program and sixty (60) volunteers who participated in the assisting in transportation program.

Meals on Wheels-Congregate Dining programs: Seniors partially funds our three meals on wheels providers with Older Americans Act Federal Title III-C-2 grant monies, which the New York State Office for the Aging (herein referred to as “NYSOFA”) obtains from the Federal Health and Human Services Department. (For 2017 NYSOFA has tentatively awarded us $620,596 of III-C-2 funding) Seniors determines the Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint proposal calls for a seventeen point nine percent (17.9%) reduction in Health and Human Services funding; however the proposal does not provide detail, at this time, on the specific amount, if any, the III-C-2 program, or any of our other four Title III grant programs may be reduced.

Seniors does not have access to or use CDBG monies to fund our meals on wheels or any other Seniors’ program. Seniors does not know if any of our three (3) meals on wheels providers locally (Amherst Meals on Wheels, Ken-Ton Meals on Wheels or Meals on Wheels of Western NY) receive CDBG monies from any area municipality.

Both, our Meals on Wheels and Congregate dining programs are also partially funded with Nutrition Services Incentive Program (herein referred to as “NSIP”) dollars, which our grantor the NYSOFA receives from the United States Department of Agriculture (herein referred to as “DOAG”). The Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint calls for a twenty-one percent (21%) reduction in the DOAG’s budget; however the proposal does not provide detail, at this time, on the specific amount, if any, the NSIP program may be reduced. For the October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017 NSIP fiscal year, Seniors is budgeted as receiving $677,068 in NSIP funds. In the last program year there were 3,650 congregate meal participants and 3,400 clients receiving home delivered meals under the NSIP grants.

NY Connects Expansion and Enhancement Grant: $299,366 or fifty-three percent (53%) of the New York Connects Expansion and Enhancement Grant (herein referred to as “NYConnects”) is received through NYSDOH and NYSOFA using federal Balancing Incentive Program Medicaid dollars. This funding stream is tied into the federal government’s Affordable Care Act provisions. Due to the introduction of the AHCA it is unclear, what, if any, impact the proposals will have on the NYConnects program.

Department of Social Services

No other department in Erie County government is as directly impacted by federal rules and funds than the Erie County Department of Social Services (herein referred to as “DSS”). Major federal programs administered by DSS include Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as “Food Stamps”), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, among others. Most of these programs are often described as “entitlement programs.” Based on DSS’s analysis of the Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint, none of these programs are slated for direct cuts in the 2018 federal budget, though Medicaid would be drastically altered pursuant to the AHCA. [3]

DSS has identified a number of programs that are subject to significant cuts as detailed in the Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint as follows:

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. DSS administers the Home Energy Assistance Program (herein referred to as HEAP) within Erie County. This unit has twenty-eight (28) full-time employees, twenty-four (24) part-time employees, three (3) regular part-time employees and thirty-two (32) seasonal employees. DSS receives nearly $2.5 million for administering this program. There is no local share for the benefits recipients received. There are more than 90,000 households that receive benefits from this program in Erie County, which includes more than 225,000 individuals. The value of the benefits received by residents is more than $30 million annually.

Based on its review of the Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint, DSS believes all federal funds will be cut for this program. If HEAP is fully cut, all employees would be subject to layoffs or moving to other open positions in county government. DSS also anticipated if HEAP were fully cut there would be a significant increase in need from other programs if regular HEAP benefits were no longer available.

A component of HEAP is emergency benefits. An emergency HEAP benefit is available to a household during a heat or heat related emergency, such as the electric or natural gas heat is off or scheduled to be shut-off. If not for the emergency HEAP benefit, the household could apply for an emergency temporary assistance grant and assistance would be provided if eligible. In one recent HEAP season, there was approximately $4.4 million in emergency HEAP benefits issued. If half these clients were eligible for the Safety Net program and utilized that program instead of HEAP funding, Erie County would incur an increase in local share expense for Safety Net of $1.56 million.

Community Development Block Grants: The CDBG program funds many of DSS’ partners. Eliminating CDBG funding will greatly impair the ability of the Department of Social Services mission. For example, DSS estimates that millions of dollars are received annually as part of the CDBG program to prevent and house homeless individuals. Erie County may be forced to increase pay to shelters as a result of these funds no longer being available to supplement Social Services programs.

A tangible example would be the Code Blue program. The City of Buffalo pays for shelters when temperatures are below 15 degrees using federal dollars, and Erie County pays shelters between 32-15 degrees. If this funding is no longer available to the City, Erie County would be required to identify a way to provide shelter when temperatures were below 15 degrees.

Most homeless services funded by the Department of Social Services are funded through the Safety Net program, which is seventy-one percent (71%) local share.

The CDBG program also funds a number of organizations in Buffalo that provides public service to organizations, such as Northwest Buffalo Community Center, Matt Urban Center, Belle Center, etc. The programming offered by these organizations is critical for DSS. Often, DSS will work with a family involved in the child welfare or juvenile justice systems to utilize services offered at these facilities. These services stop deeper penetration into the child welfare or juvenile justice systems, which reduces county costs. It is likely federal cuts will result in more out-of-home placements for youth, driving up county spending.

Community Services Block Grant: It is DSS’s understanding that the Community Action Organization of Erie County (herein referred to as “CAOEC”) is the primary recipient of Community Services Block Grant (herein referred to as “CSBG”) funding in our area. CAOEC offers a number of services to our clients which will likely have an impact on DSS. CAOEC receives $1.9 million from CSBG.

21st Century Community Learning Centers: This program provides funding for after-school programs for students in high-poverty areas. Elimination of this program will result in an increase in the need for child care. Erie County currently has a waitlist for child care subsidies, and a cut to after-school programs will exacerbate the situation. DSS cannot confirm if a cut in this program is in fact proposed because of the lack of information in the Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint.

Weatherization Assistance Program: This program improves the energy efficiency of the homes of low-income families. In combination with the cut to the HEAP program, an increase in heat or heat-related emergencies will rise. This will increase Safety Net expenses. DSS cannot confirm if a cut in this program is in fact proposed because of the lack of information in the Trump 2018 Budget Blueprint.

 

*** To view the list of Community Development Block Grant accomplishments achieved during 2016, click here

 

*** To view the report on the impact of the Trump administration's proposed 2018 federal budget blueprint on Erie County, click here


[1] Erie County does not administer, nor is a pass through, for any community development block grant (“CDBG”) programs in the City of Buffalo. The City of Buffalo receives and manages CDBG funds for it. The Erie County CDBG Consortium area also does not include the towns of Amherst, Cheektowaga, Hamburg and Tonawanda. The Erie County CDBG Consortium area includes the following municipalities: Akron, town and village of Alden, Angola, Aurora, Boston, Brant, Clarence, Colden, Collins, Concord, Depew (Lancaster portion), East Aurora, Eden, Elma, Evans, Farnham, Gowanda, Grand Island, Holland, Lackawanna, town and village of Lancaster, Marilla, Newstead, town and village of North Collins, town and village of Orchard Park, Sardinia, Springville, city of Tonawanda, Wales, and West Seneca.

[2] Western New York Sustainable Business Roundtable members include companies as large as General Motors, Rich Products, National Grid, Purina, and Uniland Development and as small as Community Beer Works, Elm Street Bakery and Block Club. There are currently seventy-two (72) members of the Western New York Sustainable Business Roundtable.

[3] Due to the complexity of the American Health Care Act’s alterations to the Medicaid program, they will not be discussed as part of this report.