government consolidation

Don McCullough / Flickr

There are 57 fire departments is Onondaga County, which is nearly twice as many as the number of municipal governments. That’s just one example of the issues facing a task force on government consolidation. Tallying the number of government agencies is the first job.

There are 36 municipal governments in Onondaga County, from the city of Syracuse to tiny Marcellus. Each also has its own public works department. With government costs rising and population – or really, the tax base – shrinking, the county has been looking at ways to consolidate services.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

New York state's Financial Restructuring Board released its review and recommendations for the city of Fulton, which in recent years has faced serious fiscal issues. City leaders say they plan to take the state's advice.

Since 2011, Fulton has raised its tax rate by more than 15 percent to make up for a decline in property values. It also slashed full-time staff from more than 150 employees down to 135.

The village of East Syracuse is deciding this evening whether it can afford to continue staffing a fulltime police force.

In October 2012, residents of the village voted down the idea of dissolving its police force and merging it with that of neighboring DeWitt. But since that vote, taxes for residents have shot up 22 percent and the town board again approved the measure this spring.

For Janini Puliatti, having more eyes watching over the village is worth the expense.

Cuomo to local governments: Cut spending

Apr 11, 2014
MIchelle Faust / WXXI

During a speech in Irondequoit Thursday morning, Gov. Andrew Cuomo kept up pressure on local governments to cut their budgets. 

Cuomo touted four consecutive fiscal years of on-time budgets, something he says hasn't happened since the Rockefeller era. He calls it his "grand slam" budget.

The governor highlighted state efforts to cut taxes, but focused on what he called "unsustainable property taxes" levied by municipalities.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Onondaga County’s longtime health commissioner, Dr. Cynthia Morrow, has resigned in a disagreement over a portion of the planned reorganization of the county's human service agencies.

In the proposed new iteration of the Onondaga County's structure, Executive Joanie Mahoney's administration wants maternal and child health programs, which target at-risk infants and children as well as their families, to fall under the Department of Children and Family Services, which currently focuses on child welfare.  

Wallyg / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders have finalized the details on a $138 billion state budget and say they are on track to meet the April 1 deadline.

The budget includes a multi-step plan that could  lower property taxes, $340 million for schools to start pre-K programs, and a limited test program for public campaign financing.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is starting a new push for his property tax freeze plan, while counties in the state say they have a better idea which could result in lower property taxes in New York for even longer.

Cuomo has begun a new campaign to promote his multi-part property tax freeze plan. It’s aimed at enlisting the aid of the public to help convince the legislature. A video features average homeowners and advocacy groups endorsing his plan.

“Lower our property taxes,” say various people identified as homeowners and standing in front of suburban looking homes.

Jenna Flanagan / Innovation Trail

The New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) wrapped up its annual meeting in Albany this week where county executives discussed the unique needs of New York’s regional governments.

One prominent issue was consolidation. During his budget presentation, Gov. Andrew Cuomo renewed his push for local governments to share more resources as part of a plan to freeze property taxes if counties stay within a two percent cap.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

Nestled in the rolling hills of southern Oneida County sits the Village of Bridgewater. To the average eye, it looks the part of most upstate villages, but come March, the village and its two centuries of history could dissolve into a thing of the past.

Gary Comstock has been mayor of Bridgewater since the 1990s, but because of financial struggles, he wants to dissolve the village. he says the time has never been better to merge with the surrounding town, especially following Gov. Andrew Cuomo's clarion call for streamlining state and local governments.
 

Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo released his state budget Tuesday. The $137.2 billion dollar spending plan includes more money for schools, including a phase in of funding for universal pre-kindergarten programs. It would also freeze property taxes for two years -- if local governments cooperate.

The governor’s budget, which includes a 3.1 percent increase in school aid, a two-year property tax freeze and phased-in business tax cuts, offers something for everyone in a year where Cuomo and all 213 members of the legislature are up for reelection.

In Wednesday's State of the State address, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is going to propose a plan the would encourage localities to consolidate services with other government entities.

His plan to freeze property tax rates for two years is dependent on local governments and schools demonstrating that they are consolidating and sharing some services with other governments in the second year. If they fail to do that, property taxes would go up after all.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a key portion of his State of the State address early. He unveiled a plan to cut business taxes, and potentially freeze local property taxes for two years.

Surrounded by business leaders, Cuomo outlined a plan Monday that would cut business taxes, and result in property tax reductions for businesses and homeowners, if local governments and schools comply with a set of requirements in the next three years.   

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Onondaga County and the city of Syracuse are hoping to build on the success of government consolidation projects in the past to make more moves to modernize or consolidate government in the future. How the two biggest government entities in central New York will do this is isn’t quite clear, but they say they want to get the conversation going.

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney used a snowy day in Syracuse to illustrate the idea of government inefficiency.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced that he would close several more state prisons, using provisions of a law that allows him to bypass the legislature. It’s part of a pattern of government consolidation that the governor has been quietly pursuing since he took office.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

The city of Syracuse and Onondaga County planning departments have officially merged. Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney signed an inter-municipal agreement Thursday that brings the planning agencies of both governments under one roof.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlined his proposal for a new local government restructuring board to help financially distressed communities deal with long term budget problems.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

New York state has a variety of programs intended to save taxpayer dollars by helping governments share services or eliminate certain government entities altogether. A New York state Assembly hearing in Syracuse this week tried to find out whether these programs work.

Village of Chaumont ponders pros, cons of dissolution

May 25, 2012

Faced with increasing costs, aging equipment and the prospect of big tax savings for residents, the village of Chaumont is considering dissolution.

But the issue isn't that clear-cut and has become a contentious subject, pitting neighbors and friends against each other in this small community.