CHICAGO -- Delegates to the National Association of Counties' annual conference in Chicago approved resolutions yesterday dealing with bond extensions, health-care reform, military base closings, and housing affordability.
The group called for the permanent extension by Congress of mortgage revenue and small-issue industrial development bonds, which both expired on June 30, 1992.
Ralph Tabor, the association's director of legislative affairs, said that making the bonding authorizations permanent is important to counties because of the time needed to put deals together. Extending the bonding for only a short period is disruptive for the counties and the market, he said.
In the area of health-care reform, delegates passed an extensive resolution calling for universal coverage, access to appropriate services, and adequate financing. The resolution also demands the participation of county officials on governing boards at all levels to oversee system reforms. The group pointed out that counties are responsible for spending $30 billion a year on health and hospital services.
County officials voted for federal assistance to help deal with the problems of closed military bases, including job and tax base losses, increased local government costs, job retraining, and environmental cleanup.
County officials also called for greater funding of the HOME housing affordability program in the fiscal 1994 federal budget. The program received a $1 billion appropriation in the current year, although its authorized funding level was $2.1 billion. The group passed a resolution urging Congress to appropriate the full $2.2 billion funding level for the program in fiscal 1994.
The HOME program requires the federal government to match contributions made by state and local governments to low-income rental and home-ownership programs.
Cook County, Ill., commissioner John Stroger Jr., the association's outgoing president, said the resolutions will be included in the association's platform, which will be shared with members as well as with state legislatures and Congress.
Delegates also elected new officers yesterday. Barbara Sheen Todd, a Pinellas County, Fla., commissioner, was elected president. Randall Franke, a Marion County, Ore., commissioner, became first vice president. Douglas R. Bovin, a Delta County, Mich., commissioner, was voted second vice president. Michael Hightower, a Fulton County, Ga., commissioner, won the third vice president race.