More money would be available to local health departments under budget proposals advanced by lawmakers in the Democratic-controlled state Legislature this week. 

The Assembly's budget plan matches funding levels proposed by Gov. Kathy Hochul, while the state Senate would add additional resources to county fringe rates and backs a restoration of funding to New York City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. 

Local health officials have over the last year called for added resources to support local health departments, which have been strained over the last 24 months of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

"The Legislature’s one-house budget has responded to NYSACHO’s request for increased funding for local health departments, which comes at a critical time amidst the pandemic," said Sarah Ravenhall, the executive director of the New York State Association of County Health Officials.

But officials are seeking additional support, including aid for combating lead poisoning in kids. 

"Each year 17,000 of our children are exposed to lead, putting them at risk for developing devastating health consequences, and giving New York State the dubious distinction of having the highest number of children afflicted by lead poisoning," Ravenhall said. "We can and must do better. The time to act is now. We look forward to working with the Legislature and Executive to ensure these needs are met to protect and maintain the health of communities across New York State."