Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $4 million for the 2012-2013 Local Government Efficiency (LGE) Grant Program to help local governments find innovative ways to reduce local government costs and save taxpayer dollars through consolidation and reorganization. The competitive program is part of the Governors agenda to reduce property taxes and shrink the size of government. The Department of State has released a Request for Applications for municipalities to apply to the program.
In this economy, government on all levels must continue to find new ways to maximize the use of every tax dollar and reduce costs, Governor Cuomo said. The Local Government Efficiency Grant Program provides critical financial incentives and assistance to push municipalities to do so whether it is through reorganizing or consolidating, so that we can serve New Yorkers and lessen the tax burden on our families and businesses.
I am pleased to announce that municipalities will once again have the opportunity to compete for new funding assistance under the Local Government Efficiency Grant Program, said Secretary of State Cesar Perales. The Department of State is eager to work with local governments to help them identify and implement strategic actions that will result in a reduction of municipal expenses and significant savings for taxpayers.
Projects funded under last years LGE grant program are anticipated to produce multi-year savings of $45 million, a ten-to-one return on a one-time state investment of $4 million. Since the programs inception, over 350 projects have been funded with a projected impact of over $550 million on future local expenditures.
At every level of government we must continue to challenge each other to develop new services and service delivery methods, regardless of our municipal borders, to ensure that governments can support competitive economies, said Deputy Secretary of State for Local Government Services Dierdre Scozzafava. The Local Government Efficiency program remains a technical and financial resource available to our local officials to help them implement projects that leverage new opportunities to reduce expenses and increase regional competitiveness.
Local Government Efficiency Grants are competitive grants to local governments that help reduce municipal expenses and property taxes by helping local government entities plan for and implement new service delivery efficiencies. Under the program, local governments may apply for:
Assistance to develop plans for implementation and/or to implement projects such as: consolidation or dissolution, functional consolidation, city or county charter revision that includes functional consolidation, shared or cooperative services, and regionalized delivery of services.
Implementation of internal reorganizations or service delivery modifications for local governments that have had an operating deficit in each of the last three years or that have been unable to limit growth in the property tax levy to under two-percent in each of the last three years.
The LGE grant program provides local governments such as ours the opportunity to conduct an evidenced-based review of operations and with that information, allows local governments to make decisions on how best to deliver services at the most cost effective method to the taxpayers and citizens, said John T. McDonald III, Mayor of the City of Cohoes. Our recent efforts as it relates to 911 Dispatching here in the City of Cohoes resulted in a transfer of that function to Albany County resulting in a savings of over $300,000 a year to the taxpayers of Cohoes, no layoffs of existing personnel and no diminishment of service to our residents. A true Win-Win!
Carol Weaver, Mayor of the Village of Kinderhook, said, With the assistance of the New York State Local Government Efficiency Grant, the Village of Kinderhook was able to move forward with a wastewater disposal system for 35 properties in the Village. The Grant enabled the Village to work with the Village of Valatie who agreed to accept the wastewater from our Village. Without this grant, it would not have been feasible to have a wastewater system for such a small number of users. The grant has resulted in the saving of taxpayer dollars.
In these difficult times, governments must consider ways to consolidate and share service, said Niagara County Sheriff James R. Voutour. I commend Mayor Robert Ortt and Police Chief Randy Szukala for their foresight and support in merging their police dispatch into the Niagara County 911 Center. Through my experience and role as Niagara County Sheriff, I fully understand the benefits of this consolidation project. I want to thank the New York State Department of State for awarding our county $ 400,000 dollars in this years Local Government Efficiency Grant Program.
For this round, a total of $4 million is available for the Local Government Efficiency Grant Program. Municipalities can receive a maximum of $200,000 per project. Applications must demonstrate financial savings to the local government and its taxpayers, a positive return on public investment, and progressive and measureable management improvements resulting from project implementation. The submission deadline for the Local Government Efficiency Grant is 4:00 p.m. on March 13, 2013.
Applications are available on the DOS website at https://www.dos.ny.gov/funding/. Prospective applicants can also obtain applications by calling (518) 473-3355 or 1-800-367-8488.