Harris Beach attorneys’ significant government experience, ranging from municipal corporation counsel to commissioners and executives at state regulatory agencies and authorities, provides us with a unique perspective for assisting New York state municipalities and local agencies. Through our statewide representation of over 150 municipalities and agencies of all sizes, our attorneys and consulting professionals have earned a strong reputation for providing creative solutions to their fiscal, operational and economic challenges.
Ensuring responsible and efficient governance, implementing effective policies, addressing financial goals and adhering to local, state and federal regulations are some of the challenges shared by all municipalities and local agencies. Harris Beach represents agencies, authorities, municipal corporations, municipal boards, industrial development agencies (IDAs) and local development corporations (LDCs) in a diverse array of legal, policy, regulatory and programmatic matters.
Our services include:
Through our non-legal consulting subsidiaries:
Public authorities and agencies are required to comply with increasing numbers of federal and state laws, regulations and policies. Harris Beach is cognizant of the intense public scrutiny that agencies and authorities often face in connection with their policies and transactions. With the focus on accountability, the depth of compliance challenges has increased. Harris Beach offers broad programmatic expertise to municipality, agency and authority clients seeking assistance in compliance and public oversight.
Our Public Finance and Economic Development Practice Group attorneys are highly experienced in the administration and capture of business tax incentives. On a daily basis, this group works on complex projects at the state and federal levels involving Taxable and Tax-Exempt Bond Financing, Payment-in-Lieu-of-Tax (PILOT) Increment Financing, Tax Increment Financing, Brownfield Redevelopment Tax Credits, New Markets Tax Credit, Low Income Housing Tax Credits, Empowerment Zone Incentives, Renewal Community Incentives and Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits.
We represent municipalities throughout New York state on a full range of issues. The attorneys engaged in the firm’s public finance practice have served as general obligation bond counsel to over 90 municipalities, including counties, cities, school districts, special improvement districts, fire districts, towns and villages throughout New York state, and local financing authorities, as well as to virtually all New York state financing authorities and over 27 industrial development agencies. In addition, the firm’s public finance attorneys have served as counsel to various underwriters in relation to bond and note issues of various municipalities, school districts and authorities. Harris Beach is listed as a recognized bond counsel firm in the “Municipal Bond Attorneys” section of “The Bond Buyer’s Municipal Marketplace” (the Red Book). Harris Beach has rendered opinions in thousands of transactions, involving in excess of $100 billion aggregate principal amount of tax-exempt obligations.
Our attorneys provide counsel on debt limitation, reserve requirements, issuance authority, disclosure requirements, rating agency concerns, qualifying investment candidates and other bond-related issues. Harris Beach also offers expertise in special district formation and financing for expanding municipal infrastructure needs.
Securing project funding, maximizing renewable and alternative energy technologies, and ensuring compliance with evolving state and federal energy regulations are a few of the challenges associated with energy usage and development. At Harris Beach, we recognize key energy issues because our attorneys have significant experience in this area. We work with those who own, develop, purchase or sell energy, and we represent a diverse group of clients including municipalities, Fortune 100 corporations, privately-held businesses, public benefit corporations and not-for-profit organizations.
We provide a wide variety of energy-related services including strategic advice related to public affairs, federal and state regulatory matters, general compliance counseling, competitive energy markets and trading, securing regulatory approvals, negotiating contracts and environmental permitting. Representative clients in the public sector include local governments, public benefit corporations, municipal distribution agencies, and LDCs and IDAs involved in the generation, transmission, purchase and sale of conventional and alternative energy. This work includes development, permitting, and financing matters involving both conventional and alternative energy production facilities throughout New York state, including solar, ethanol, biodiesel, biogas and wind facilities.
Harris Beach also provides legal counsel to municipalities and public benefit corporations on a broad range of environmental law issues. Our attorneys advise clients on the responsibilities, exposures and liabilities that result from federal, state and local environmental legislation and regulations. We guide clients through environmental impact review processes such as the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), the New York City Environmental Quality Review Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the myriad federal and state regulations relating to traffic patterns, air pollution, coastal areas and wetlands. We also handle regulatory issues relating to land use, hazardous substances and asbestos. Additional services include audits and assessments, Brownfield redevelopment, Clean Air Act issues, Clean Water Act issues, government investigations, defense of enforcement proceedings, Environmental Impact Statements, environmental review/land use representation, government and communications strategies, health and safety issues, insurance coverage litigation, lender liability, negotiation of consent orders, permitting, project management, Superfund allocations and litigation, and toxic tort litigation.
Successful grant writing involves planning, data and resource research, and proposal writing, packaging, submission and follow-up. Harris Beach offers these services to assist municipalities, local agencies and other applicants with grant proposals for a variety of funding purposes.
Harris Beach attorneys and professionals have extensive experience with inter-governmental affairs, municipal privatization and grant administration on the federal, state and local levels. We have administered grant and loan programs through the federal Economic Development Administration, the Empire State Development Corporation and its Restore New York Communities Initiative, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Governor’s Office for Small Cities and the Community Development Block Grant program. We have also coordinated and administered grants through New York state’s Brownfield Cleanup Program and the Environmental Quality Bond Act which respectively support hazardous waste site clean-ups the redevelopment and reuse of contaminated properties.
Keeping your agency running smoothly may require periodic consultations with an attorney on human resources matters. With one of the largest and most active labor law practices in New York state, Harris Beach handles all aspects of labor and employment law and litigation, including collective bargaining, negotiations, union organizing, labor contract administration, employment discrimination, employee benefits, occupational safety and health and personnel policies. Our attorneys have extensive trial experience with all types of discrimination, including age, gender, sexual harassment, national origin, race, religion and disability matters.
Our Labor and Employment Law Practice Group assisted one of the largest counties in New York state by negotiating nine labor agreements covering approximately 4,500 employees in various divisions of county government. The prior contracts had expired and the county was facing a projected budget deficit over the next two years of more than $100 million. Through an intensive negotiations process, our attorneys were able to assist the client in reducing health insurance costs and keeping wage increases at a modest rate to achieve a projected cumulative savings for the county of over $87 million over the life of the new contracts.
Our attorneys have extensive experience in the areas of land use, zoning and development, real property acquisition and financing, architectural and construction contracting, municipal law and leasing. As zoning and development counsel, the firm is available to assist, as needed, in all phases of a project, including all aspects of site acquisitions (which can be done by negotiated purchase or government assisted condemnation), financing for the project (which may include conventional construction and permanent mortgage loans or lease financing), negotiation of agreements with architects, general contractors and/or construction managers, negotiation of leases and assistance in the local government approval processes, including zoning, subdivision and environmental approvals.
Harris Beach provides a full range of legal services to municipalities and local agencies throughout New York state. Our attorneys assist these entities with legislative formation, board configuration, policy development, program planning and implementation, transactions, financing matters, real property management and disposition, fiscal matters, bidding and procurement procedures, audit control, audit implementation, labor and employment issues, as well as general litigation.
Harris Beach attorneys and professionals offer insight based on diverse backgrounds and years of experience working for and on behalf of municipalities and local agencies. Our team includes professionals who serve as or have served in the public sector as policy makers. This unique collection of experience provides Harris Beach clients with an unmatched perspective and counsel on the challenging matters facing municipal and local agency clients.
Harris Beach has had reported cases in the areas of municipal litigation involving procurements and inter-municipal agreements, commercial litigation, employment discrimination and Article 78 Petitions or hybrid claims.
Nearly every governmental and local agency is involved in project management and real estate ventures. Our multi-disciplinary team counsels clients on all aspects of a project, including commercial real estate, construction and surety law, and environmental law. We work to maximize the financial savings available to our clients through a blending of the New York State Environmental Restoration Program, Brownfield Opportunity Area Program, Brownfield Cleanup Program and other financial incentive programs. Harris Beach represents agencies in the acquisition, disposition, development, leasing and financing of property. Our attorneys counsel clients on all aspects of acquisition, including purchase and sale agreements, zoning and development approvals, architectural and construction contracting, joint ventures, financing packages, equity and syndications and the formation of the appropriate entity structures to implement transactions.
Our attorneys ensure they are at the forefront of current municipal issues, including condemnation powers governed by New York’s Eminent Domain Procedure Law. Harris Beach has extensive experience representing agencies, authorities, and others in condemnation proceedings and coordinating public hearings, arbitrating disputes, building coalitions, providing real property valuation and serving as litigation counsel when needed.
The scope of representation in the construction and surety law group includes negotiating agreements with architects, construction managers, and contractors; contract administration; assisting with claims; litigation and arbitration; bid process and contests; mechanic’s liens; surety claims; payment and performance bond claims; insurance; labor disputes and contract rights analyses.
Harris Beach attorneys and professional staff provide municipal clients with strategic and analytical advice aimed at achieving greater operational efficiencies. This includes formulating and implementing such measures as inter-municipal agreements, shared services and staff arrangements, early retirement programs, functional consolidations and the privatization of municipal services. Our attorneys and consulting professionals help municipalities improve organizational structure, communication and overall management with the goal of eliminating redundancies and cutting operational costs to deliver better government service to the public.
Non-Legal Consulting Services
Harris Beach recognizes that client solutions often involve more than just legal needs. Consequently, we offer a unique, comprehensive approach to meeting our clients’ pressing non-legal challenges through our affiliated consulting subsidiaries, HB Cornerstone LLC and HB Solutions LLC. These subsidiaries serve organizations in the public and private sectors and across numerous industries.
HB Cornerstone offers owner representation, planning and design, facilities consulting and move management services to provide a complete solution for municipal and local agency clients seeking to build, expand or move. By exclusively representing the owner, free of conflict from other roles and responsibilities, HB Cornerstone helps ensure our clients’ best interests are being met. HB Cornerstone consultants’ experience with municipal clients includes serving as owner representative for the construction of a $3 million new public safety building in the town of Gates.
HB Solutions consultants have extensive experience helping municipalities and local agencies facilitate economic development projects. Our comprehensive approach helps clients efficiently conduct the strategic planning, economic analysis and community outreach necessary to ensure the successful execution of projects and multi-year economic development plans. Our experience includes the replanning and refocusing an over $100 million mixed-use waterfront development project in the city of Canandaigua where we are coordinating pre-development work, including feasibility analysis, environmental investigation and financial structuring, and providing project management services to the Canandaigua Area Development Corporation. Our consultants also assist municipalities in maximizing Brownfield redevelopment opportunities through the Brownfield Opportunity Area Program, Brownfield Cleanup Program and other financial incentive programs. Our guidance on the timely and proper structuring of Brownfield initiatives has helped numerous municipal and local agency clients stimulate investment, spur job creation and expedite development.
Professional communications support is another area of value our consultants offer municipalities and local agencies. Conveying an organization’s actions in the most positive light or handling controversial, unexpected or crisis situations can be a difficult task. HB Solutions’ consultants can help municipalities and local agencies implement both proactive and response plans to preserve their public image and instill community confidence. These services include strategic communications planning; crisis communications management, audit and planning; media training; and public forum training and preparation.
For more information on how Harris Beach can help your organization, please contact:
January 16, 2013 / Legal Alert
January 4, 2013 / In the News
January 4, 2013 / Authored Article
October 25, 2012 / Press Release
September 20, 2012 / Advisory
June 22, 2012 / Legal Alert
June 6, 2012 / Press Release
May 4, 2012 / In the News
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May 5, 2013, 1:00 pm - May 7, 2013, 12:00 pm / Speaking Engagement, Sponsorship (Past)
March 14, 2013, 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm / Webinar (Past)
February 4, 2013, 8:30 am - February 6, 2013, 10:30 am / Sponsorship (Past)