Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $4 million in grants that will help twenty-one municipalities find new ways to reduce local government costs and save taxpayer dollars through consolidation and reorganization.
The Local Government Efficiency grants are part of the Governor's agenda to right size government and address the cost-drivers that for years have made New York's property tax rates among the highest in the nation.
"In today's economic climate, government must learn to be more efficient and find innovative ways to reduce costs to taxpayers," Governor Cuomo said. "Our state cannot afford to place additional burdens on small businesses and working families, and these grants are designed to help local governments reorganize and cut costs, so taxpayers can be protected and municipalities can better serve their residents."
The grants will help cover costs associated with local government efficiency projects, such as planning for and implementation of a consolidation, shared or cooperative services, and regionalized delivery of services.
As both Attorney General and as Governor, Cuomo has worked to empower communities across the state with the ability to reorganize and consolidate local governments. During his tenure as Attorney General, he championed the passage of the New N.Y. Government Reorganization and Citizen Empowerment Act that gives citizens the power to petition for a public vote on dissolving or consolidating local governments. As Governor, Cuomo put in place Citizen Empowerment Grants to provide direct financial assistance to local governments to plan for and implement restructuring.
Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales said, "New York State's local officials continue to make the strategic and difficult decisions to improve their communities and region by reviewing how services are provided. Our ability to assist local governments and fund innovation in local service delivery is a key piece of Governor Cuomo's and the Department of State's efforts to revitalize New York State and increase community competitiveness."
Approved projects include the consolidation of public safety and emergency communications between the City of Glens Falls and Warren County and the consolidation of the Hamlin, Morton, and Walker Fire Districts in northern Monroe County and Orleans County. Also, six schools will be assessing consolidation, including the Chenango Forks and Chenango Valley School Districts, the Romulus and South Seneca Central Schools, and the Ticonderoga and Crown Point Central School Districts.
The Erie 1 BOCES will develop a program that centrally manages the use of all that region's school districts' computers from one data center. While the Town and Village of Marcellus, and the Marcellus Central School District will consolidate wastewater services.
Deputy Secretary of State for Local Government Dierdre Scozzafava said, "We anticipate that these projects will have a long-term positive impact on these communities and help produce recurring annual savings to taxpayers. The Division of Local Government looks forward to working with these local governments to implement these projects and continue to identify options for efficiency."
Village of Marcellus Mayor John Curtin said, "The residents of the Marcellus community are extremely pleased with the news that the Village has been awarded a Local Government Efficiency Grant in the amount of $600,000. The Village sewage collection and treatment system is one of its most valuable assets and this grant will enable us to identify and prioritize structural deficiencies in the system and to implement a centralized maintenance program for the benefit of all residents of the Village, Town and School District who are sewer users. It is an excellent example of how the State of New York has responded to the needs and real concerns of a small community and the Marcellus community is most grateful."
Donald Ogilvie, District Superintendent and Chief Executive Officer of Erie 1 BOCES, said, "By reducing energy and staff costs by an estimated $5 million, our efficiency efforts will allow school districts to allocate funds back into the classroom. This project is a large-scale collaboration of four BOCES: Cattaraugus Allegany; Erie 2 Chautauqua Cattaraugus; Orleans Niagara; and Erie 1. The project will achieve considerable cost savings for nearly 100 school districts across the western New York region."
Capital Region BOCES District Superintendent Charles S. Dedrick said, "We are extremely pleased that the Department of State has selected the Capital Region BOCES Municipal Prescription Drug Purchasing Coalition for funding. This funding will allow us to launch a program that will ultimately enable school districts and BOCES across the state to realize significant cost savings in prescription drug costs, and is a great example of BOCES leading regional cooperation to benefit schools."
The awards are as follows:
$600,000 Village, Town and Central School District of North Marcellus Sewer Consolidation
$570,547 Centralized Computer Power and Life Cycle Management Project for Erie 1 BOCES
$434,170 Capital Region BOCES Municipal Prescription Drug Purchasing Coalition
$400,000 Niagara County-City of North Tonawanda Police PSAP Consolidation
$400,000 Village of Scottsville Regional Sanitary Sewer Pump Station and Force Main Project
$321,595 Hamlin-Morton-Walker Fire District Consolidation
$239,819 North Country Emergency Communication Consolidation
$212,000 Wyoming County Consolidated Municipal Water Resources Management
$210,778 Town and Village of Chester Police Department Consolidation
$79,830 Town of Tonawanda Public Water Supply Alternatives Evaluation Study
$67,500 Albany Countywide Shared Highway Services Study
$63,000 North Country Regional Shared Geographic Information System
$54,000 Ulster County and City of Kingston Tourism Services Consolidation
$50,000 Village of Dobbs Ferry and Village of Hastings DPW Consolidation Study
$49,500 Village of Watkins Glen Police Restructuring Study
$49,500 Towns of Marion and Walworth Wastewater Feasibility Study
$45,000 Chenango Forks/Chenango Valley School District Reorganization Study
$45,000 Romulus and South Seneca Central School District Reorganization Study
$45,000 Ticonderoga and Crown Point Central School District Reorganization Study
$37,761 Schenectady City School District Shared School Business Office
$25,000 Village of Dryden Police Department Dissolution Study