NCVOA DECEMBER 2016 NEWSLETTER
Published by the Nassau County Village Officials Association
Post Office Box 484, New Hyde Park, NY 11040
64 Villages serving 450,000 village residents
NCVOA December 2016
GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
GALA HOLIDAY PARTY
CASH BAR-BUFFET DINNER
6:30PM to 9:00PM
Holiday Season Kicks Off December 13, 2016 at NCVOA Holiday Reception!
As we enter the holiday season, we realize we have so much to be thankful for – our families, friends, and the inalienable rights we enjoy as citizens of this great country.
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa we hope you take advantage of this time of the year to step back from your hectic life and enjoy the spirit of the holidays with your fellow elected officials at the annual NCVOA Holiday Reception, which is December 13, 6:30 pm at the Westbury Manor.
The NCVOA Executive Board would like to take this opportunity to wish all our members a very happy and healthy holiday season. We look forward to sharing the evening with you on December 13!!
As a reminder, NCVOA General Membership meetings are open to all Mayors, Trustees, Village Clerks/Administrators, Village Attorneys and Village Treasurers of villages in good standing. NCVOA members may bring guests; however, the cost is $50.00 per guest and must be paid by the guest or the hosting village official at the meeting.
From the President’s Desk:
Dear Mayors, Trustees and Friends:
We were fortunate to have with us at the November 10th General Membership meeting Thomas Roach, Mayor of the City of White Plains and NYCOM President along with Wade Beltramo, NYCOM General Counsel. They addressed two very critical and timely topics: AIM funding and the new Zombies Properties Law.
Mayor Roach began his presentation by stating that he believed an increase in AIM funding would be NYCOM’s primary legislative priority for the 2017 State legislative session. “We provide all the services and have been doing it since 2008 without an increase while schools have been receiving annual increases that are greater than the total of all funding given to municipalities. We would like to see a return to the revenue sharing established years ago.”
Mayor Roach made his comments just prior to the annual NYCOM Legislative Priorities Meeting which was held on November 14th in Albany. NCVOA attendees included Executive Director Tackenberg, Freeport Mayor Kennedy, Garden City Mayor Episcopia and myself. We were pleased that as a result of the meeting, NYCOM formally adopted an increase in AIM funding as it’s overall priority in 2017. As you know, I have made this issue the primary objective during my tenure as NCVOA President.
Later that afternoon, along with our lobbyist John Kiernan – Davidoff, Hutchen & Citron LLP, we met with Ms. Lori Mithen-DeMasi, Counsel for the New York State Association of Towns. During our discussion, we were interested to learn that in 2015, the Association of Towns included a request for an increase in AIM funding as one of the Association’s legislative priorities. Ms. Mithen-DeMasi advised that she would bring our meeting to the attention of the Association’s Executive Board for discussion which hopefully will result in a possible joint initiative/involvement with the NCVOA, NYCOM and the Suffolk County Village Officials Association. Once again, NCVOA’s initial objective is to facilitate the development of a Statewide consensus on this issue leading up to the N.Y. State budget deliberations early next year.
ZOMBIES PROPERTIES LAW
Wade Beltramo, NYCOM General Counsel, followed Mayor Roach with a presentation on the new Zombies Properties Law. Wade give his typical thorough explanation of the new law that targets distressed, vacant and abandoned properties blighting New York’s cities, towns and villages. The new law, which becomes effective December 20, 2016, has four main components:
- Requires certain mortgagees to inspect properties that are 90 days mortgage delinquent and to secure and maintain properties found to be vacant and abandoned;
- Requires certain mortgagees to register vacant and abandoned properties with a State mandated property registry;
- Allows mortgagees to complete mortgage foreclosure via an expedited process when the property is vacant and abandoned;
- Enhances many of the consumer protections enacted to protect homeowners after the subprime mortgage market collapse in 2008.
We appreciate Mayor Roach and Wade Beltramo taking time from their hectic schedules to update us on these important issues. For further information, please refer to the NYCOM website at www.nycom.org.
Our annual holiday party has been scheduled for December 13th at the Westbury Manor. I look forward to seeing everyone and extending the Association’s best wishes for a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year.
Yours in good government,
Bernard D. Ryba
President - NCVOA
CABLE FRANCHISE RENEWALS
Many municipalities are entering into second generation cable franchise agreements. It is important to take note of some of the revisions that the cable providers have attempted (in some cases successfully) to alter the terms of these renewal franchise agreements. Here are some points to be aware of in negotiating your renewal franchise agreements:
- Definition of “gross revenue” or “gross receipts”
- Audit issues
The franchise fees are payable on “gross revenue” as defined in the franchise agreement. It is important to maintain the most expansive definition of “gross revenue”. Cable franchisees have sought to revise this definition to exclude fees payable on such items as DVR functionality, equipment charges, home shopping revenue, etc. Cable franchisees have attempted to either remove references to these charges in the definition of “gross revenue” and/or specifically include these charges, in a separate paragraph that defines what “gross revenue” does not include.
- Lookback period
- Audit fees
- Success based audits
Typically the lookback period (how far back the audit may go) has been six (6) years. Cable franchisees have attempted to reduce this to only one (1) year.
Many franchise agreements state that if an audit produces at least a five percent (5%) or more increase in franchise fees due a municipality, the cable franchisee will be responsible for paying the reasonable cost of the audit (sometimes a cap of that cost is stated).
You should have a provision for payment of interest on underpaid franchise fees. This is typically 9% or the then current interest rate on judgments.
Avoid any prohibition in the franchise agreement to a success based audit, (i.e.) compensating the auditor based on a percentage of an underpayment of franchisee fees. This is the typical way that an auditor will undertake an audit and, by prohibiting this, the cable franchisees try to make it less attractive for a municipality to undertake an audit.
In addition to negotiating a franchise fee, you should explore grant money from the cable provider.
It is important to carefully understand any proposed revisions to your cable franchise renewal agreement. Revising the definition of “gross revenue” could significantly reduce the amount of franchise fees payable to a municipality. Changes in the audit language could have a major impact on recovery of underpaid franchise fees. And don’t leave grant money on the table.
The Last Word:“Life has two rules: #1 Never quit #2 Always remember rule # 1.