|Local governments face obstacles to reform - burdensome and outdated regulations; bureaucratic red tape; and overlapping layers of government. Governor Paterson understands this. And he is doing something about it.
Local Government Consolidation Bill Signed Into Law
Governor Paterson, working with Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, signed legislation that makes it easier for taxpayers themselves to dissolve or consolidate their local government. To assist taxpayers in applying the new law, the NYS Department of State (DOS) has developed a Citizen’s Guide to Petitioning for Local Government Consolidation and Dissolution. Press Release.
Local Government Efficiency Grant Program
The State has already helped several local governments become more efficient and cost-effective - sharing costs across municipal borders: consolidating services: and streamlining operations and procedures.
The Department of State (DOS) just awarded 63 grants to local governments throughout the State to help them reform and modernize their operations. And with the State’s help several local governments have already consolidated services, providing direct property tax relief to local taxpayers.
Here are a few state/local success stories:
City of Batavia Merges Police Information and Dispatch Systems:
The City of Batavia received a $259,274 grant from DOS to merge the city’s police information and dispatch systems into the County . The City saved $237,000 in the first fiscal year – that’s 4.7% of the City’s entire tax collection. A property taxpayer with a house worth $200,000 saved $132 on their annual tax bill.
Town of Evans/ Village of Angola Police Department Consolidation:
The Town of Evans received a $125,772 grant from DOS to merge the Village and the Town’s police department. The savings tell the whole story -- the Village saves $466,000 annually, reducing the property taxes for a taxpayer with a house worth $200,000 by $1,200. The overall property tax burden for Village and Town residents was reduced by 3%.
Village of Pike Merges into the Town of Pike
The Village of Pike received an $83,700 grant from DOS to study the dissolution of the village. After the study, residents voted to dissolve the Village. A property owner with a house worth $200,000 will save $98 on their tax bill. And there will be an overall property tax reduction of 4.7% in the Village and 5.3% in the Town.
City of Albany Cooperative Prescription Benefit Plan
The City of Albany received a $299,000 grant from DOS to join neighboring Rensselaer County in a cooperative prescription drug plan called NYRx. Since January 2007, NYRx has saved Rensselaer County $301,879 in presciption drug costs for government health care plans and lower government health care costs mean property tax relief for local taxpayers.
Local Government Energy Efficiency
Governor Paterson established a central clearinghouse of information to make it easier for local governments and schools to take advantage of the State’s energy efficiency programs. Learn More >> Governor Paterson also directed a large portion of the State Energy Program funds it received from the federal stimulus package to local governments and schools. Learn More >> These programs will help local governments cut their energy bills and provide property tax relief.