Awards Help Municipalities Implement and Streamline Government Operations
Complements Governor Cuomo’s County-Wide Shared Services Initiative to Reduce Property Taxes and Lower Costs of Local Government
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced nearly $400,000 through nine Local Government Citizens Reorganization Empowerment Grants to assist upstate New York municipalities with government reorganizations. Six towns and three villages received grants to implement shared services initiatives and to explore dissolutions and consolidations in order to reduce local taxes and streamline government operations.
"This funding helps empower local governments across New York to improve efficiencies, share services, cut costs and help reduce burdens on property taxpayers,” Governor Cuomo said. "Property taxes remain the most onerous tax in New York and I commend the leaders of these communities for taking action to help their residents and create a stronger, more affordable and more prosperous future."
Citizens Reorganization Empowerment Grants is a component of the Local Government Efficiency Program managed by the New York Department of State’s Division of Local Government Services. The program provides local governments with funding and technical support for the study, planning and implementation of municipal reorganizations.
New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, “The Department of State continues to assist municipalities across the State with their efforts to critically think about consolidation and dissolution to provide local government services more efficiently. These Village and Town leaders are taking important steps to improve their local governments by creating efficiencies and maximizing cost-savings.”
This latest round of Citizens Reorganization Empowerment Grants awards have been granted to:
- The Village of Herrings and the Town of Wilna, in Jefferson County, each received an award of $50,000 to assist with implementing the Village dissolution. In July, 2015, the Village was petitioned to hold a dissolution referendum; on November 3, 2015, the referendum passed. Since the Village of Herrings dissolved on March 31, 2017, their award will be assigned to the Town of Wilna to further assist the necessary tasks associated with Village dissolution. Awarded funds will help the Town make the transition in a timely manner and reduce expenses on the Village taxpayers.
- The Town of Macedon, in Wayne County, received an award of $50,000 to assist with implementing the dissolution of the Village of Macedon. In March, 2015, the Village was petitioned to hold a dissolution referendum; on June 11, 2015, the referendum passed. The Village created and approved a Dissolution Plan, which was upheld by voters in March, 2016. The Village of Macedon dissolved on March 31, 2017, and the Town Board is in the process of performing the necessary tasks associated with Village dissolution; these funds will assist the Town with completing the transition.
- The Village of Rushville, in Yates and Ontario Counties, received a petition seeking dissolution of the Village of Rushville. The dissolution referendum vote has been set for June 27, 2017. Village residents, who will be making an important decision, should have adequate information and opportunity to understand the process of dissolution and potential implications of dissolution on current operations, services, and the future of the community. The Village of Rushville will receive $50,000 to help the residents in the Village of Rushville understand such implications and to develop a dissolution plan if the dissolution is approved at the referendum. Since the Village is in two towns and two counties, both towns will have an active role in the planning process and, if necessary, input on the final dissolution plan.
- The Town of Corning, in Steuben County, currently receives fire protection from four fire departments through four fire protection districts. The Town believes that fire protection costs can be reduced by increasing efficiencies. The Town of Corning will receive $50,000 to evaluate the options for improving the provision of fire protection services, including possible consolidation of the fire protection districts.
- The Town of Corning, will also consolidate the: Gibson Water District, Corning Manor Water District, East Corning Water District, East Corning #1 Water District, and East Corning #2 Water District, all located in the North-Eastern portion of the Town, into the East Corning Consolidated Water District. This will enable Operation and Maintenance to function more efficiently, streamline service, and allow for implementation of asset management processes to care for the new system for years to come. The Town will receive $25,000 for the consolidation.
Western New York
- The Villages of Sherman and Cherry Creek, in Chautauqua County, each received a petition for a referendum on Village dissolution. These referenda were held on December 20, 2016, and February 2, 2017, respectively. The proposed dissolution of the Village of Sherman was voted down - 117 to 115, but the citizens in Cherry Creek voted in favor of Village dissolution - 70 to 32. The Village of Sherman was awarded up to $50,000 to reimburse for costs associated with the referendum and the distribution of information by the Village prior to the referendum. The Village of Cherry Creek will receive $23,615 for costs associated with the referendum, and to develop a Village dissolution plan.
- The Town of Hanover, in Chautauqua County, received an award of $49,998 to assist with implementing the dissolution of the Village of Forestville. In 2015, the residents of the Village of Forestville petitioned for a dissolution referendum; on November 3, 2015, the referendum passed. The Dissolution Plan, adopted by the Village Board, set a dissolution date of December 31, 2016. The plan called for the Town of Hanover to subsequently create special districts in the former area of the Village for street lighting, sidewalk maintenance, fire protection, refuse (yard waste) collection and water. These funds will help the Town of Hanover implement the Village’s dissolution plan.
The Citizens Reorganization Empowerment Grants Program compliments the Governor’s County-Wide Shared Services Initiative to lower taxes in the State; the Initiative requires County Chief Executive Officers in the 57 counties outside of New York City to convene Shared Services Panels for the purpose of identifying and developing shared services projects.
The Department of State offers a number of online tools to help with consolidation efforts as well as County-Wide Shared Services, including a comprehensive and regularly updated Q&A, a PowerPoint document outlining program requirements, a Guidance Document, and an opportunity for local officials to subscribe for regular program updates.
The Citizens Reorganization Empowerment Grants Program offers resources to municipalities to develop shared service consolidations that create efficiencies and lower taxes for all residents. Communities considering reorganization initiatives should contact the New York Department of State, Division of Local Government Services, at 518-473-3355 or visit the website here to determine eligibility for Citizens Reorganization Empowerment Grants funding. Deadlines for Citizens Reorganization Empowerment Grants applications are 4:00PM on the first Wednesday of each month. Local governments can now submit Citizens Reorganization Empowerment Grants applications and receive award notification online via the new Gateway Grant Opportunity Portal here.