Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a $40 million competitive grant fund for local governments that have demonstrated recurring savings for taxpayers from streamlined operations and innovative, cost-cutting projects.
Established by Governor Cuomo and the Legislature in the 2011-12 State Budget, the $40 million competitive fund is an integral part of the Governor's agenda that will incentivize performance to reduce costs to local taxpayers. A Request for Applications was issued today by the New York Department of State (DOS).
"Since taking office in January 2011, my administration has focused on helping reduce the crushing local taxes that have burdened New York families and small businesses," Governor Cuomo said. "These competitive grants will reward local governments that have taken the lead in reducing property taxes, streamlining government and making the communities of New York better places in which to live and work."
Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said, "Working together with Governor Cuomo, the Legislature has made great strides toward cutting costs to local governments, including major pension reform and mandate relief measures. These grants continue to build on our progress by providing incentives for local government to reduce the burden on taxpayers. I look forward to continuing to work together to protect our taxpayers and move New York forward."
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, "These grants will help local governments maintain support for the vital services that New Yorkers depend on every day. The Legislature, working together with Governor Cuomo, has helped relieve towns and villages across the state from growing costs, and we will continue to find ways to make sure all local governments have the tools they need to balance their budgets without unnecessary tax increases or service cuts."
Projects eligible for awards must have commenced on or after January 1, 2010 and winning applicants will receive as much as $25 per resident, up to a maximum of $5 million.
The $40 million fund is available to counties, cities, towns and villages, which may apply individually or jointly. The amount of an award will be based on the municipality's population and the percentage of fiscal impact on the applicant's total government expenditures. Awards will be provided in three annual installments, disbursement of which will be contingent upon the demonstration of recurring savings.
New York Secretary of State Cesar Perales said: "I am pleased to recognize the high performing municipalities of this state. The Department of State stands ready to reward our local government leaders that have implemented actions that are providing measureable savings and helping to reduce the taxpayers burden at the local level."
Deputy Secretary of State for Local Governments Dede Scozzafava said: "These awards will recognize local governments that have worked hard to implement cost savings actions that are producing recurring annual savings. New Yorks local leaders are not only receiving a positive return on their investments, but will be able to showcase their efforts to both their constituents and the state."
Peter Baynes, Executive Director of the NYS Conference of Mayors, said, "Local governments across New York State are doing all they can to balance their budgets and keep costs under control for their residents. NYCOM commends Governor Cuomo for implementing this competitive award process to recognize and reward cities, villages and towns that are using innovative means to reduce municipal expenses. This program is another example of the Governors efforts to work with local officials to keep families and small businesses here in New York, instead of being driven out by ever-increasing property taxes."
Stephen J. Acquario, Executive Director of the NYS Association of Counties, said, "New York's counties have been at the forefront of efforts across the state to find new ways to balance budgets and hold the line on local taxes. These 'excellence in government' grants will recognize local governments which have stood up for their taxpayers and found smart, more efficient ways to keep costs under control. We commend Governor Cuomo for his continued focus on protecting New York's taxpayers and look forward to our ongoing work together to give our counties the tools they need to build a sound fiscal future."
Jeffery Haber, Executive Director of the NYS Association of Towns, said, "Towns and villages in all regions of our state felt the impact of the recent economic downturn, and these grants will reward those who made tough, smart decisions to protect taxpayers. We commend the Governor for changing the tide and incentivizing smart redesign as opposed to more taxes and spending. We encourage all of New York's local governments to take advantage of this program and get involved."
The submission deadline is 4:00 p.m. on July 25, 2012. Questions about the grant program should be directed to the Program Manager, as indicated in the application instructions.
Applications are available on the DOS website at http://www.dos.ny.gov/funding/. Prospective applicants can also obtain applications by calling (518) 473-3355 or 1-800-367-8488.