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Part 636: State Aid For Environmental Management Councils and For Conservation Advisory Councils



§636.1 Definitions

As used in this Part, the following words and terms shall have the indicated meanings:

(a) Authorized expenditures shall mean those operating expenses approved by the commissioner as being reasonable and necessary for the carrying out of eligible projects by an environmental management council or by a conservation advisory council. They shall be determined after deducting the nonreimbursable expenditures set forth in section 636.7 of this Part and revenues received by such council from fees or other charges for its services or products.

(b) Certificate of eligibility shall mean a certificate issued annually to each applicant by the commissioner certifying eligibility for State assistance pursuant to this Part.

(c) Commissioner shall mean the Commissioner of Environmental Conservation.

(d) Department shall mean the Department of Environmental Conservation.

(e) Eligible project shall mean a project required by the provisions of article 47 of the Environmental Conservation Law, article 12-F of the General Municipal Law, or undertaken pursuant to guidelines promulgated by the commissioner.

(f) Environmental management council shall mean a county or regional environmental management council.

(g) Conservation advisory council shall mean a city, town or village conservation advisory council or conservation board.

(h) Council shall mean environmental management council, conservation advisory council, and conservation board.

(i) Governing body shall mean the county board of supervisors, county legislature or other elective governing body of the county or municipal government.

(j) Quarterly periods shall mean the quarterly periods during the State fiscal year: April 1-June 30, first quarter: July 1-September 30, second quarter; October 1-December 31, third quarter; January 1-March 31, fourth quarter.

(k) State fiscal year shall mean the period from April 1st through March 31st of the following year.

§636.2 Eligibility for State Aid

Any county establishing an environmental management council or any municipality establishing a conservation advisory council shall be eligible to receive State aid provided such council:


(1) in the case of county environmental management councils, was established pursuant to article 47 of the Environmental Conservation Law or pursuant to a provision of law other than article 47 if the commissioner finds that the powers, duties and reporting lines for the major reports of such council are substantially the same as those provided in section 47-0107 of the Environmental Conservation Law and that the membership structure thereof either complies with the provisions of subdivision 1 of section 47-0105 of the Environmental Conservation Law or that such membership structure is designed to encourage local participation and coordination in the planning of activities to influence the ecological balance of the locality; or

(2) in the case of conservation advisory councils, was established pursuant to article 12-F of the General Municipal Law;

(b) if established pursuant to article 47, is constituted in accordance with section 47-0105 of the Environmental Conservation Law;

(c) in the case of environmental management councils, reports directly to the governing body of the county and/or the county executive or, in the case of conservation advisory councils, reports directly to the governing body of the municipal government;

(d) submits to the commissioner a copy of the report required by section 47-0107(2) of the Environmental Conservation Law or by section 239-x(f) of article 12-F of the General Municipal Law for the year immediately preceding the year in which an application for reimbursement is filed and such other reports as the commissioner may require;

(e) has demonstrated its progress and accomplishments in accordance with the requirements of article 47 of the Environmental Conservation Law or article 12-F of the General Municipal Law, including its development of an environmental plan and applicable open space area indices as prescribed in the laws; and

(f) such council, if a regional environmental management council, is comprised of counties all of which lie within one of the planning and development regions established by executive order of the Governor, dated February 2, 1971 [9 NYCRR 1.44], unless there is a substantial reason for such council not conforming to the boundaries of such region.

§636.3 Application for State Aid

(a) Any counties or municipalities seeking reimbursement for expenditures incurred by council shall submit an application to the commissioner by August 1st of the year preceding the State fiscal year for which reimbursement is sought; provided, however, that an application for a council established after August 1st may be submitted at any time and provided that municipalities may submit applications for conservation advisory council expenses for fiscal year 1977-1978 at any time during 1977-1978.

(b) Such application shall be in such form and shall contain such information as the commissioner may require, including but not limited to a work plan and an estimate of such expenditures for the following State fiscal year.

(c) Such county, following the adoption of its annual budget and no later than January 15th, shall submit to the commissioner its budget based on such State fiscal year for its environmental management council.

(d) A municipality, following the adoption of its annual budget and no later than 15 days following the beginning of its fiscal year, shall submit to the commissioner its revised budget based on the State fiscal year for its conservation advisory council.

(e) After the review of the application and approved budget of such council, the commissioner will issue a certificate of eligibility where he determines that such council meets the eligibility requirements contained in section 636.2 of this Part.

(f) Such county or municipality shall submit to the commissioner with its initial application a copy of the enabling legislation adopted by the local legislative body authorizing the establishment of such council, and shall submit to the commissioner any changes in such legislation at the time such changes are adopted

(g) Amendments to the application and approved budget may be submitted at any time prior to the end of the State fiscal year for the approval of the commissioner subject to available funds.

§636.4 Formula for Disbursement of State Aid

(a) The amount of State aid to be allocated to counties and municipalities shall be determined as provided by this section.

(b) The commissioner shall determine the percentage proportion which the authorized expenditures of each county and municipality bears to the total authorized expenditures of all the counties and municipalities applying for reimbursement pursuant to this Part. Such percentage proportion shall then be applied against the amount appropriated by the New York State Legislature for the year in which reimbursement is being requested.

(c) The amount thus determined shall constitute the maximum amount of State aid to which each county or municipality shall be entitled from such appropriation; provided, however, that no county or municipality shall receive State aid in an amount in excess of one half of its authorized expenditures as approved by the commissioner for such fiscal year.

(d) The effective date for location of State aid for a council established after August 1st will be determined by the commissioner as such application is received.

§636.5 Claims for State Aid

(a) All claims for reimbursement shall be submitted within 60 days after the end of each quarterly period and shall not be paid until approved by the commissioner.

(b) Claims received more than 60 days after the end of the quarterly period for which reimbursement is sought may be returned unpaid, in which case they may not be resubmitted. However, quarterly expenditures of less than $500 may be consolidated and submitted with the claim for the next quarter. Claims for the last quarter of a State fiscal year may not be consolidated and submitted with the claim for the first quarter of the new fiscal year.

(c) Each county and municipality shall submit to the commissioner with each claim for reimbursement a statement of authorized expenditures actually incurred, in such form and containing such information as he may require.

§636.6 Reimbursable Expenditures

The following expenditures shall be eligible for reimbursement as authorized expenditures for an eligible project.

(a) Personal service. The wages of professional and staff personnel assigned to, authorized by, and paid by council. The services of personnel assigned from another county or municipal agency to undertake work for the council may be reimbursable if approved in advance by the commissioner. Such approval may be given for services actually performed for the council regardless of the percentage of time such personnel spend in work for such council or of the intermittent nature of such assignment. This approval is not required if the combined wages and fringe benefits of any one person so assigned is expected to be less than $500 during the quarterly period.

(b) Fringe benefits of personnel. Contributions for retirement, social security, workers' compensation, unemployment insurance, and health insurance costs.

(c) Consulting services. For special studies or projects that cannot be staffed by the council or by other county or municipal agencies. If contract costs exceed $500, prior approval of the commissioner is required. Councils may, through intergovernmental agreements, procure services and materials from other municipalities. Such agreements are considered consulting contracts and prior approval requirements apply.

(d) Operation and maintenance expenditures.

(1) Travel expense (including attendance at conferences, meetings, staff field work, etc.).

(2) Automobile mileage at the standard county or municipal government rate, but not to exceed the State rate.

(3) Miscellaneous office supplies and expenses, including short-term rental of equipment.

(4) Purchase of office equipment, if used exclusively for council work.

(5) Printing and advertising.

(6) Communication expenses.

(7) Utility expenses.

(8) Office and other space rental costs, but only if such rental costs normally would be payable by the county or municipality for its various agencies.

(9) Office maintenance costs.

(10) Books, periodicals, reference materials, insofar as they are germane to the council and a part of its library.

§636.7 Nonreimbursable Expenditures

The following expenditures shall not be reimbursable:

(a) Any capital expenditures, such as those for land acquisition, land development or facilities construction, or engineering studies related thereto.

(b) Purchase of automobiles or other vehicles.

(c) Long-term rentals of equipment, unless prior approval has been obtained from the commissioner.

(d) Any expenditure that already has been matched by Federal or State categorical grants or funds, excluding general revenue sharing funds.

(e) Work performed by county, municipal or other agencies for the council for which no charge would normally be made if the same service was performed for others.

§636.8 Cooperative Projects

Two or more councils may join in cooperative projects that will be of benefit to all participants. Such endeavors may include, but are not limited to, the hiring of consultants, employment of personnel, conduct of studies and investigations, and the gathering of natural resource inventory data. Participating councils must arrange to be billed separately for their respective shares (which do not have to be equal) of the cost. A unified cooperative project budget is not authorized. Cooperative projects exceeding a total value of $500 require prior approval of the commissioner.

§636.9 Competitive Grants

The commissioner may award competitive grants to councils to conduct specified projects or activities. Prior to awarding such grants, the commissioner will issue a notification of the availability of the grant funds, including:

(a) eligibility criteria for receipt of grant funds;

(b) the types of projects, activities and expenses that would be eligible for funding under the grant program;

(c) application procedures, deadlines and criteria for selection of applications for grant funding;

(d) the application review procedure, including review committee composition;

(e) the amount for funding available for the grant program, including maximum grant amounts, provisions for partial advance payment and local cost sharing ratio; and

(f) project performance standards and reporting requirements.