Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today announced two new agreements with state and local government that that will enhance emergency response capabilities and share in-kind services with the New York State Department of Transportation.
"These agreements represent a coordinated approach to enhance storm preparedness and maintain our infrastructure at a reduced cost to the taxpayer,” said Suffolk County Executive Bellone. "Our shared services framework continues to attract new municipal partners and savings without sacrificing the quality of services that our residents expect.”
Village of Ocean Beach
The County is entering into an inter-municipal agreement (IMA) with the Village of Ocean Beach, where the County will provide a parcel of county property, located adjacent to the Suffolk County Emergency Operations Center, to stock a trailer that will act as an emergency response office and, as needed, an alternate seat of government for Ocean Beach.
During the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, Ocean Beach officials were forced to operate village government remotely due to significant communications and electricity complications. This posed serious logistical challenges for officials in their efforts to manage the village’s emergency response. This agreement will provide a much-need solution for the village – which is located on Fire Island – for continuity of operations during emergencies that require evacuation from Fire Island.
Additionally, under the Suffolk County Charter, the Suffolk County Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services is charged with coordinating emergency response and recovery throughout the county. With Fire Island in an area that is particularly sensitive to weather-related emergencies, working with local officials to ensure the village has uninterrupted communications and operational capability becomes a significant area of focus to county emergency management officials.
The execution of this agreement ensures that the village has a safe location to conduct its operations during instances of emergency evacuation, and significantly improves FRES’ ability to coordinate rapid response and recovery efforts with village officials.
Under terms of the shared services agreement, Ocean Beach will pay all costs for placement of the trailer on county property but will be provided use of the parcel itself at no cost. The savings for Ocean Beach would amount to several thousand dollars for either the acquisition or long-term rental of property from the open market. The full Legislature is anticipated to vote on the agreement on March 26.
New York State Department of Transportation
The County will also enter into a separate agreement with the New York State Department of Transportation, the first of its kind for Suffolk County that will permit in-kind services of materials and other services between the county and state Department of Transportation. For example, Suffolk County Department of Public Works could borrow salt from state DOT for roadways, and, in exchange, cut grass from the median on a New York State roadway.
As part of this agreement, other municipalities could enter into a string of activities with the county and state that would also result in in-kind services. This could include activities such as a village performing grass cutting for Suffolk County in exchange for providing drainage clearing for state Department of Transportation or state Department of Transportation providing pothole repair for that village – all part of the same in-kind services agreement, and at no cost. Each municipality would be responsible for entering into their own, separate agreements, with New York State.
The Suffolk County Shared Services Initiative, known as “SuffolkShare,” includes nearly 100 local governments throughout Suffolk County that have agreed to activities including cooperative procurement, enhanced piggy-backing activities, and actual shared services between districts and municipalities. Under this agreement, savings will be calculated at the end of each fiscal year based on specific usage and activities.