Monday, January 13, 2020

Schuyler County calls on New York to increase support for Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Schuyler County officials are calling on New York State to increase financial support for Cornell Cooperative Extension after twenty years of “stagnant” funding.

At its meeting Monday (January 13, 2020), the Schuyler County legislature voted to ask the state to increase its appropriation for Cornell Cooperative Extension associations to $8 million statewide.

The resolution, introduced by legislator Mark Rondinaro (R-District VII) passed unanimously. It noted that “local extension educators are key community partners” in helping to implement state initiatives including maximizing agriculture, strengthening the economy, promoting healthier eating habits and partnering to promote tourism and local food and farm businesses.

“State funding is needed to ensure that the Cornell Cooperative Extension system can equitably work for all New York residents through increased resources to support rural, suburban, and urban community development needs,” the resolution continued.

However, the resolution said, “state appropriations for county cooperative extension associations to match county government appropriations …have remained stagnant for twenty years.”

Therefore, “the Schuyler County Legislature supports increasing the State appropriation for Cornell Cooperative Extension associations to $8 million, such funds to be distributed directly to the associations through Cornell University as agent for the state as provided by law.”

Currently, New York State law provides for state matching funds for each county or regional extension association, subject to the furnishing of equivalent sums from county appropriations. However, the current funding formula only allows, “fifty cents for each dollar up to the first $100,000 appropriated by such county, and five cents for each dollar in excess of $100,000, subject to annual appropriation by the (state) legislature.”

Cornell Cooperative Extension is a formal collaboration between the National Institute of Food and Agriculture at USDA, New York State, County Governments and the Citizens of the State that has served to apply research-based knowledge from Cornell, New York’s Land Grant University, to the needs of New Yorkers and their communities for over 100 years.

The County of Schuyler is governed by an eight-person legislature, headed by its Chair. Members serve staggered four-year terms. The legislature, in turn, appoints various department heads to oversee the county’s day to day operations, including the county administrator (Tim O’Hearn), county attorney (Steven Getman) and clerk to the legislature (Stacy Husted).

The current members of the legislature are Mark Rondinaro, James Howell, Jr., Gary Gray, David Reed, Michael Lausell, Van Harp, Philip Barnes and Carl Blowers, Chairman.

A complete copy of the resolution appears below.