County-led Consolidation to Save Onondaga Taxpayers $30.8 Million Over 10 Years Showcases County's Role in Finding Efficiency with Consolidations and Shared Services Investment Complements Central New York Rising Blueprint to Grow the Economy and Create New Opportunities in the Region; Highlights Success of Upstate Revitalization Initiative in Central New York
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a $3.7 million award from the Municipal Restructuring Fund to the Onondaga County Water Authority to consolidate operations with the Metropolitan Water Board. This project will save an estimated $30 million in property taxes and utility fees over the next 10 years. Led by Onondaga County Executive Joanne M. Mahoney, this consolidation expands a regional water solution reaching Madison, Oswego, Oneida and Cayuga counties in Central New York.
"This strategic investment in the Central New York will help Onondaga County make structural changes that will help lower costs, increase efficiency that will deliver relief to local property taxpayers," Governor Cuomo said. "I commend County Executive Mahoney and local leaders looking out for taxpayers and undertaking this shared services project, which will have a positive impact for the entire region."
Approximately a year ago, discussions began regarding the feasibility of consolidating the MWB and OCWA. Utilizing both the experience and knowledge of both entities, a path to consolidation was formulated. This award will facilitate the consolidation and provide for:
- A combined service area encompassing portions of Onondaga, Oswego, Madison, Oneida, and Cayuga counties and more than 50 cities, towns, and villages.
- More than 500,000 residents receiving water from the consolidated service area.
- An expanded water system with two water treatment plants, the MWB facility in Oswego County, and the OCWA facility in Onondaga County.
- More than 2,000 miles of water main, dozens of pump stations and operational assets, under the control of a single entity.
Onondaga County Executive Joanne Mahoney said, "This project will not only help Onondaga County save millions of dollars in tax payer money, but ensure our residents and regional partners continue to enjoy quality service in a much less expensive way. We thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership in encouraging local government efficiencies that will mean real cost-savings for the taxpayers."
New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, "With the consolidation of these municipal entities, Onondaga County continues to lead the way in developing new opportunities for consolidation and shared services. The model for regional cooperation in Central New York is working and will continue to produce efforts to reduce the cost of services to residents, while increasing efficiency."
Today's announcement complements “Central NY Rising,” the region’s award-winning strategic plan to generate robust economic growth and community development. This initiative is focused on capitalizing on global market opportunities, strengthening entrepreneurship and creating an inclusive economy. The state has already invested over $3.4 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan, which includes investing in key industries such as agriculture and food production, advanced manufacturing and the burgeoning unmanned aerial systems industry. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Syracuse, Oswego and Auburn as a destination to grow and invest in as a result.
The MRF is managed by the Department of State to provide local government entities with resources to stimulate permanent property tax reductions through shared services and consolidations. Funding is available to eligible local governments and school districts.
The MRF process was designed with the assistance of local government leaders and is available to invest in projects at varying stages of readiness, from project development through final implementation. In its first year, the program has funded twelve projects with a total projected annual savings of $12 million in nine counties around the state.
For more information on the MRF, go to: http://www.dos.ny.gov/funding/rfa-15-mrf-27/index.html