The Campbell Public Affairs Institute Publishes Guide to Help Citizens and Public Officials Find and Drive Shared Service Opportunities Between Local Governments
Guide Provides Blueprint for Citizens to Engage with Local Leaders to Maximize Property Tax Savings
Complements Website Detailing Shared Services Initiative -ny.gov/SharedServices
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a new citizens’ guide to shared services, published by the Campbell Public Affairs Institute of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. The guide, “Considering Shared Government Services in New York State: A Guide for Citizens and Public Officials,” provides citizens and local officials a blueprint on how to get the best results from their county’s shared services planning efforts. The County-wide Shared Services Initiative was spearheaded by Governor Cuomo in the FY 2018 Budget.
“The shared services initiative empowers citizens to directly engage their local elected officials in finding ways to cut property taxes by reducing the cost of local government,” Governor Cuomo said. “This guide from the prestigious Maxwell School will be a vital asset for each county and each citizen as they work to reduce their own property taxes.”
In their guide, the Campbell Public Affairs Institute notes “it is worth the time of counties, cities, towns and villages to take a new and serious look at the potential options, and to engage in good-faith deliberations on the possibilities for shared services, and how they might best work.”
Secretary of the State Rossana Rosado said, “This new tool will help officials around New York State implement initiatives that will result in savings for tax payers across the State. The guide will serve as yet another tool to help create cost-effective models of delivery for local governments to rely on information on how best maximize their essential services for residents.”
The Department of State has, since 2011, issued $51 million through 230 contracts designed to study and implement shared services arrangements between local governments. The County-wide Shared Services Initiative aims to spark significant increases in the number of municipalities working collaboratively to save taxpayer even more money.
The guide will help citizens make the most of this opportunity. It provides both citizens and public officials crucial information to help have a productive dialogue and consider the value and feasibility of shared service arrangements between their communities. In particular, it aims to help those officials and citizens who are participating in the meetings and hearings to better identify and frame the issues and questions most important in identifying high yield opportunities.
The guide describes the benefits of shared services, provides history, examples and lessons for New York State, cases and lessons from outside of New York State, describes methods to achieve a high rate of return from shared services, describes best practices for achieving meaningful public participation, provides a list of central issues and questions that should be addressed and in an appendix describes typical government functions and responsibilities.
The Governor’s County-Wide Shared Services 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 Panels consist of the Mayors of every city and village in each county, and the supervisors of every town, and may also include school district, BOCES and special district representatives if invited by the county leader. The County CEO must convene at least three public meetings in advance of the delivery of Shared Services Plans to the Panels for a vote. The Plans must be prepared by August 1, 2017, and delivered to the New York Division of Budget and Department of State by September 15, 2017.
In addition to nine workshops provided to local governments around the State, the Department of State is offering a number of tools, 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. Furthermore, the State will soon be providing webinars for local officials to help guide their process.
For more information, further guidance and FAQ’s on County-Wide Shared Services, go to: https://www.ny.gov/programs/shared-services-initiative. For more information about the guide, please go tohttps://www.maxwell.syr.edu/uploadedFiles/campbell/NYS-Shared-Services-Guide.pdf.