consolidation

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

A proposal from Madison County is among a group of six finalists in New York state's municipal consolidation competition. County officials are looking at combining the highway department garages of three villages into one new facility. The state will pay for the study exploring how it can be accomplished.

Madison County Board of Supervisors Chairman John Becker says it is just one consolidation project that local officials are pursuing.

Fulton leaders opt against dissolution

Feb 1, 2017
Gino Geruntino / WRVO News File Photo

Fulton lawmakers have decided against pursuing a proposal to dissolve the city.

Oswego County Legislator Frank Castiglia of Fulton had encouraged the common council to apply for a state-funded study that would have considered the benefits of splitting the city in two and combining it with the nearby villages of Granby and Volney. The idea was an attempt to cut public service costs for Fulton's residents, whose taxes are increasing as the population declines.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing a plan that he says could cut property taxes in New York — by requiring county leaders to develop a cost-cutting plan and letting voters decide whether it’s a good idea.

As governor, Cuomo does not directly control local property taxes. But he wants to require county executives to do something about the state’s rates, which are highest in the nation. Under his plan, the county leaders would develop cost-cutting blueprints and put them on the ballot so voters could decide whether they want the reductions or not.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

More than a century ago, Fulton was formed when the villages of Oswego Falls and Fulton, which were separated by the Oswego River, merged. Oswego County Legislator Frank Castiglia says now, it's time for the city to split into two again.

Castiglia says the cost of maintaining a police and fire department for the city of 11,000 is ballooning beyond what Fulton residents can afford.

"We don’t have the people, the population or the industry in this city to support the costs for those public safety departments," Castiglia said. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

An experiment in government consolidation has failed in central New York -- a victim of a difference of opinion over how to create jobs and promote economic growth in Syracuse and Onondaga County and the continued deterioration of the relationship between the mayor and county executive.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Onondaga County Comptroller Robert Antonacci is speaking out against the Consensus CNY commission’s preliminary report on local government consolidation released earlier this year. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente says the number of governments in the county is unsustainable. In his annual State of the County speech Tuedsay, he renewed his call for downsizing the size of government, noting that sales tax revenues in Oneida County are down by $3.8 million. The county has 47 government units and 345 taxing jurisdictions. Picente said that ultimately leads to overlapping public services.

Consensus CNY

The discussion over consolidating government in Onondaga County will begin in earnest in the coming days.  And, it should be a lively debate.

The starting point for this discussion is Consensus CNY, the commission on local government modernization that was formed two years ago by the city of Syracuse, Onondaga County and some non-profit groups. It’s expected to issue preliminary recommendations by the end of this month.

Doug Kerr / via Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2016 agenda includes more spending on transportation infrastructure and a plan to ease tolls on the the New York State Thruway for some New Yorkers.

Cuomo unveiled the latest peek into his plans for the coming year in Liverpool yesterday, proposing $22 billion for fixing roads and bridges upstate over the next five years, in what he calls the biggest ever transportation capital plan.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

A report on government consolidation in Onondaga County will be released early next year by a Consensus, a commission looking at the modernization of local government. One potential recommendation for saving substantial tax dollars could be the creation of a county-wide municipal government.

Whenever Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney starts talking government consolidation, it generally begins with a story about snow and the 19 towns, 15 villages, and city, county and state snowplows that clear the streets after a snowstorm.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Syracuse's Common Councilors are raising taxes in the city in a way they say won’t be painful.

Mayor Stephanie Miner’s proposed budget didn’t include any tax hikes, but the one the Common Council passed Wednesday does. The tax increase they are instituting is ultimately a wash because of a new state program that reimburses taxpayers for any tax increases they pay this year.

Thomas Favre-Bulle / via Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the legislature approved a plan in the state budget to encourage local governments and schools to merge and share services over the next few years, in an attempt to lower property taxes. But according to a study by school administrators, attempts at school district mergers in recent years have failed, partly because the public doesn’t want them.