This week, the Legislature voted to approve two important appropriations that I wanted to share with you.
The first involves the allocation of $60 million over the next four years, marking the start of the initial phase of Nassau County’s efforts to combat the opioid epidemic. This money is part of the settlement funds that the county has received from the lawsuit against the nation’s drug manufacturers and distributors. The lawsuit is ongoing and not yet fully resolved so there could be additional settlement money in the future.
What makes this initiative so important is that all these monies are part of a special revenue fund created last year by the Legislative Majority to ensure that every dollar from the settlement would specifically go towards prevention, education, and treatment programs. Without the special fund, the settlement proceeds would have been placed into the county’s general fund, where they could be spent for purposes wholly unrelated to the opioid crisis. With the initial round of funds finally in place, it is gratifying to know that all of this money is fully dedicated to this purpose and will go a long way toward battling this epidemic.
Currently, a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) is available for any entities who are interested in applying for funding from the program. To receive a copy, please email the Nassau County Office of Mental Health, Chemical Dependency and Developmental Disabilities Services at: Omayra.Perez@hhsnassaucountyny.us. The deadline to submit your application is November 21, 2022.
The second appropriation involves the transfer of a portion of the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to programs that will help small businesses, our fire departments, the County’s Septic Program and VEEB (Vocational Educational Extension Board). Specifically:
• $450,000 will go to enhance the Fire Commission’s Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system, which is used by dispatchers and 911 operators to effectively identity and coordinate response to emergencies and fires.
• $1.5 million will go to the Nassau County Vocational Education and Extension Board (VEEB), which conducts courses in occupational skills including public fire safety, practical nurses, emergency medical services and the fire service academy.
• $2 million will go to the Septic Replacement Fund to match $2 million of DEC money to help residents replace their conventional or failing cesspools and septic systems with environmentally friendly technology.
• $10 million will go to the Main Street Grant Program, which helps small businesses that experienced financial hardships as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
More information on the Septic Replacement Fund and Main Street Grant Program will soon be available at https://www.nassaucountyny.gov/5215/Boost-Nassau-Recovery-Resources
As always, please feel free to contact me with any thoughts and ideas you may have with respect to the County or on any particular issue that you think I may be able to assist you with. You may contact me at (516) 571-6214 or by email at LSchaefer@NassauCountyNY.gov.