Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales Announces $4.74 Million in Local Government Efficiency Grants
to Help Municipalities Streamline and Consolidate Government
Funds will help municipal governments, school districts, special districts, and law enforcement agencies consolidate and share services
Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales today announced $4.74 million in state assistance that will help municipalities, school districts, special districts, and law enforcement agencies throughout New York State streamline government services and operations to reduce costs and property taxes. The grants are administered through the New York Department of State’s Local Government Efficiency (LGE) program.
The funding will support 29 initiatives. Nearly $4 million in funding will come in the form of grants to implement ten consolidation and efficiency projects that are estimated by grantees to generate $62.3 million in savings to taxpayers over the next ten years.
Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales applauded Governor Cuomo for his efforts to redesign government. “These grants are consistent with Governor Cuomo’s message of helping New York communities provide high-quality services while reducing costs and taxes. Whether it’s a joint infrastructure project or a full consolidation of services, the Department of State is committed to the Governor’s vision of partnering with local officials to create a more effective and efficient government.”
The LGE funds will assist communities in identifying ways to reduce costs and consolidate services such as administrative functions, emergency services, wastewater, and transportation.
“These projects will help produce recurring annual savings to taxpayers,” said Deputy Secretary of State for Local Government Dierdre Scozzafava. “Local leaders are a great resource to help us identify options to reduce the overall cost of government.”
Tom Santulli, Chemung County Executive said, “The sharing of services and resources has always been a priority in Chemung County. With the assistance of a New York State Local Government Efficiency Grant, we completed a study which examined the opportunities for the sharing of highway maintenance services and equipment consolidation county-wide. This grant will allow Chemung County and its municipalities to further implement the recommendations in that study and reconfigure the operations and services provided by the various municipal highway departments. The centralization of our highway operations will provide for improved efficiency and ultimately result in the saving of taxpayer dollars.”
"I want to thank Governor Cuomo for his support of this grant, which will be used to study ways we can share services amongst various Police Departments in Rockland County," said Clarkstown Supervisor Alex Gromack. "By sharing resources we save significant taxpayers' dollars which is needed during these difficult economic times."
Keesville Mayor Meegan Rock said, “I am personally excited to receive this award for the village to study dissolution and understand the true costs and potential savings. On behalf of the village’s taxpayers, I want to thank Governor Cuomo for working in partnership with Keesville to make government function more efficiently.”
“We currently have multiple special districts for water and sewer services, and this grant will allow us to study whether and how we can provide those services to our residents in the most efficient and cost effective manner possible,” said Town of Fishkill Supervisor Joan A. Pagones. “While we struggle to balance our own budget here in the Town, we are ever mindful that all are trying to do more with less, too, and we’re doing our best to make logical and lasting changes to the cost of the delivery of services that our community relies upon.”
"Given today's tight fiscal climate, it is imperative that school districts explore every option to deliver a quality education at a price that is affordable to each of its taxpayers,” said Stockbridge Valley Superintendent Chuck Chafee. “It is our hope at Stockbridge Valley that this efficiency grant study will allow us to do just that.”
“I am very excited and pleased to receive this grant to continue the Tri-City Water Study between the Cities of Lockport, North Tonawanda and Niagara Falls,” said City of Lockport Mayor Mike Tucker. “Sharing services, we believe, is the way to ease the burden of taxation on our residents as well as continuing to offer quality services. We want to thank Governor Cuomo and State Senator George Maziarz for their help in getting this grant which will benefit the residents of our communities for years to come.”
“On behalf of our taxpayers, we are thrilled to have received this financial support from the New York Department of State in order to continue improvements,” said Great Neck Water Pollution Control District Chairman Jerry Landsberg. “Merging the Village of Great Neck’s sewage collection with the District allows for substantial operating savings for residents of the Village and the District by reducing duplicative services. This coming together allows us to continue making cost-saving, energy-efficient changes.”
David Church, Director of the Orange County Water Authority and County Commissioner of Planning stated “we are thrilled to gain New York State as a partner through this grant award and anticipate this will allow real progress in addressing essential, shared water supply needs in the greater Newburgh region here in mid-Hudson Valley.”
Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr., said: “Consolidating Oneida County’s 9-1-1 services with those of Utica and New Hartford has been a regional priority for many years, and I am proud to have made the long-awaited step a reality. I appreciate the support of Governor Cuomo and the state in this effort, because this consolidation is the epitome of increasing governmental efficiency through cooperation. We will be providing the same, if not better, services to the people of our communities at a lower overall operating cost. It’s a tremendous step forward for our region. On behalf of the county’s taxpayers, and all county residents who benefit from this consolidation, I want to thank Governor Cuomo for working in partnership with Oneida County to make government function more efficiently.”
Mayor Lori Cashel stated in response to the grant notification that, “We are pleased to have received help from the state in the form of this grant award; it will allow the village board to take a proactive stance on this issue. Our goal is to do what is in the best interest for the residents of the village.”
“We have accomplished some great efficiencies by consolidating into one local municipality,” said Seneca Falls Town Supervisor Peter Same. “Receiving this grant award will help relieve a lot of the added financial burden that this process requires. As we look to a brighter future it is our hope that the Seneca Falls experience will serve as a great example for the rest of the towns and villages of New York State. There is a lot to accomplish in the remaining four months and these grant dollars will greatly help relieve the majority of our additional expenses. On behalf of the residents of our community we thank New York State for this award.”
Rensselaer School District Business Manager Bill Lyons said, “For many years several Rensselaer and Columbia county school districts in the Questar BOCES region have worked cooperatively to share school bus transportation resources in a combined effort to deliver more cost effective school bus transportation. This grant will help us to expand upon our previous efforts while maintaining a high level of school bus service for the students in the participating school districts.”
“This project will establish and implement an Emergency Medical Services Agency, Inc. (EMSAI) cooperative business plan which was developed under a Department of State LGE High Priority Planning Grant,” said Jefferson County Director of Public Health, Jean A. Billow. “The EMSAI will align fragmented and unsustainable pre-hospital emergency medical resources under a single, high-functioning county-wide cooperative that eliminates unnecessary and duplicative services while decreasing expenses and maximizing local EMS agencies’ organizational and response capacities. The final deliverable of this implementation grant will be an innovative and replicable municipally supported EMSAI cooperative that can serve as a model for other areas of New York and the United States.”
The LGE grants are both competitive and non-competitive, awarded as General Efficiency Planning grants, Efficiency Implementation grants, and High Priority Planning grants. All provide funding for projects aimed at consolidating two or more municipalities or special districts to achieve taxpayer savings and improvements to service delivery.
One of the ten Efficiency Implementation grant awards will go to the Town of Seneca Falls to implement the dissolution of the Village of Seneca Falls. The voters in the Village voted in 2010 to dissolve into the Town of Seneca Falls as a step toward lowering their taxes. It is anticipated that village taxpayers will see a 48% reduction in the property tax rate when the dissolution is completed for a savings of $7,645,990 over ten years. This grant will help the Town and Village of Seneca Falls ensure that they meet the dissolution date of December 31, 2011. In 2012, the Town of Seneca Falls will also be eligible to receive the Citizen Empowerment Tax Credit. This is an annual aid to local governments, equal to 15% of the combined amount of real property taxes levied by all of the municipalities involved in a consolidation or dissolution, not to exceed $1,000,000. At least 70% of this tax credit must be used for property tax relief.
Another Efficiency Implementation grant of $400,000 will assist the Village and Town of Skaneateles to consolidate drinking water systems to help the municipalities comply with federal drinking water mandates and achieve a ten year projected savings of $3,526,632. A similar project in the Cities of Lockport and North Tonawanda, awarded $640,000, will develop a regional water efficiency project to consolidate the public water treatment and supply and will achieve a ten year projected savings of $10,424,160. On Long Island, the Great Neck Water Pollution Control District’s Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvements and Expansion Project, awarded $400,000, will permit the Great Neck Wastewater District and the Village of Great Neck to functionally consolidate the sewage collection and treatment systems, allowing residents of both the District and Village to realize substantial projected savings of $15,613,030 over ten years.
The Oneida County 911 Dispatch Center Consolidation project will also receive an Efficiency Implementation grant in the amount of $600,000. This initiative will consolidate three existing Public Safety Answering Points (PSAP) into a single PSAP within the County. The project will improve operational efficiencies, enhance public safety, and provide cost savings for the citizens of Oneida County of $4,266,550 over ten years. It also will lay the groundwork to create a universal records management system for the police and fire agencies throughout the county.
The remaining 19 awards totaling $750,000 are for planning grants to develop implementation plans to achieve taxpayer savings through improvements and modifications to existing service delivery. Consistent with Governor Cuomo’s message of reducing property taxes and re-aligning government services, 16 High Priority Planning Grants totaling $664,600 were awarded to school districts exploring reorganization of the districts, villages looking at village dissolution, municipalities looking at police consolidation, consolidation of special districts and county-wide services.
The complete list of recipients is as follows:
General Efficiency Planning Awards
$23,400 – Sodus Central School District Shared Transportation Study
$35,000 – Montgomery County Efficiency Study for Shared Local & County Highway Services
$27,000 – St. Lawrence County Consolidated Justice Courts Study
Efficiency Implementation Awards
$406,500 – Town and Village of Seneca Falls Efficiency Implementation
$405,000 – Jefferson County Emergency Medical Service County-Wide Cooperative
$400,000 – Village and Town of Skaneateles Drinking Water Consolidation
$640,000 – City of Lockport’s Tri-City Regional Water Efficiency Implementation Project
$400,000 – Great Neck Wastewater Consolidation Project
$450,000 – Northeastern Orange County Water Supply Implementation Plan
$200,000 – Chemung County Consolidated Urban Highway Services Area Implementation
$600,000 – Oneida County, Oneida County 911 Dispatch Center Consolidation
$317,250 – Town of Monroe Joint Fire District
$172,500 – Rensselaer City School District Transportation Collective
High Priority Planning Awards
$35,000 – Mayfield and Northville Central Schools Reorganization Study
$35,000 – Wells and Lake Pleasant Central Schools Reorganization Study
$35,000 – Pavilion and Wyoming Central Schools Reorganization Study
$49,000 – Village of Malone Dissolution Study
$50,000 – Town of Fishkill Special District Consolidation
$49,500 – Village of Victor Dissolution Study
$45,000 – Village of Altmar Dissolution Plan
$50,000 – Village of Whitesboro Police Consolidation Implementation Study
$45,000 – Village of Keeseville Dissolution Study
$45,000 – Village of Hudson Falls Police Services Feasibility Study
$50,000 – Town of Clarkstown Law Enforcement Efficiency Study
$45,000 – Village of Mannsville Dissolution Study
$35,000 – Stockbridge Valley and Madison Central Schools Reorganization Study
$35,000 – Hamilton and Morrisville-Eaton Central Schools Reorganization Study
$48,910 – Village of Hoosick Falls Dissolution Study with Alternatives to Dissolution
$11,690 – Franklin County County-wide Shared Services and Planning Services
For a complete description of the grant awards please visit the Department of State website at http://www.dos.ny.gov/LG/lge-index.html