Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a total of $142,750 in Local Government Citizen Re-Organization Empowerment Grant awards to three municipalities for the planning and implementation of village dissolutions. The awards are part of the Local Government Efficiency Program managed by the New York State Department of State and provide local governments with funding and technical support to plan for and implement municipal reorganizations.
High property taxes are one of our states greatest challenges to growing the economy so it is crucial that we continue the progress of the past four years that put our states fiscal house in order and cut costs for our residents and businesses, Governor Cuomo said. These municipalities are taking steps to develop a long-term vision for reducing their financial impact on their taxpayers, and I am proud that the state is supporting their efforts. By examining shared services and dissolution plans, these local governments are striving to make their communities more affordable places to live and work not only today, but for generations to come.
The Citizen Re-Organization Empowerment Grant program is designed to empower and support local initiatives that streamline services and reduce property taxes. The program is part of Governor Cuomo's continuing efforts to provide taxpayer relief through innovative analysis of governmental functions and services.
The Village of Wilson, in Niagara County, and the Village of Bloomingburg, in Sullivan County, will receive $50,000 and $42,750, respectively, to assist with generating and distributing community-specific information, enabling Village residents to make informed decisions on proposals calling for dissolution. A public referendum on whether to move forward with the proposed dissolution is scheduled in the Village of Wilson for August 26, 2014. Bloomingburgs referendum is scheduled for September 30, 2014. If dissolution is approved by a majority of voters, this funding will also assist in the development of a final dissolution plan of the Village.
The Village of Lyons, in Wayne County, received a $50,000 grant to assist with the implementation of its dissolution plan and the transition of former village government services to the Town of Lyons. The dissolution of the Village of Lyons will become effective on December 31, 2015.
Village of Wilson Mayor Bernie Leiker said, "The voter initiated reorganization is democracy in action. The Village of Wilson would like to thank the New York Department of State for being responsive to our needs; funding and support are vital. A favorable referendum vote will allow us to study and formulate a plan based on solid information relevant to taxpayers."
Village of Lyons Mayor Terry R. VanSteam said, As Mayor of the Village of Lyons, I would like to express my appreciation to the New York State Department of State for this funding to assist us through the dissolution process, and ongoing technical assistance with the many issues that arise from such an undertaking. I, the Board of Trustees, and employees all appreciate your ongoing efforts.
Communities considering consolidation should contact the New York State Department of State, Division of Local Government Services, at 518-473-3355 or visit the website at http://www.dos.ny.gov/lg/ to determine eligibility for Citizen Re-Organization Empowerment Grant funding. Deadlines for applications are 4:00 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month. Local governments can now submit applications and receive award notification online via the new Gateway Grant Opportunity Portal at www.grantsgateway.ny.gov.