Projects Will Lead to $126 Million in Taxpayer Savings for 45 Communities Across New York State
Municipal Restructuring Projects Will Take Place in North Country, Central New York, Mohawk Valley and Western New York
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a comprehensive package of 12 projects impacting 45 localities across New York through the Municipal Restructuring Fund that will streamline the delivery of local services and reduce future costs to local taxpayers. The projects address general government consolidation, as well as local government functions including public safety, infrastructure and health insurance. The 12 initiatives will impact more than 45 local governments and lead to an estimated $126 million in savings over 10 years.
"These projects will provide real and recurring savings for taxpayers as we continue to make government more efficient through shared services," Governor Cuomo said. "While the Trump administration continues to cut taxes for corporations and the wealthiest Americans, New York is moving forward by providing much needed tax relief for hardworking middle-class families."
"We're taking steps to ensure municipalities operate efficiently and cost effectively," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "This funding for local communities across the state will help to consolidate services and save taxpayers money. These projects will further enhance delivery of services and quality of life for New Yorkers."
The MRF is a $25 million fund, managed by the New York Department of State's Division of Local Government Services, to support local government restructuring projects in multiple stages of development. The organizational structure of the MRF enables efficient project review and state investment to occur at multiple stages of implementation, from initial project development to full project completion. Available grant funding per project is based upon the estimated future cost savings to be realized from project implementation. The approved funding is based upon a percentage of the total available funding per project, per MRF phase. Projects listed for Project Development will be eligible for additional funding if they successfully move to implementation.
Furthermore, projects qualify based upon the type of the proposal, the number of local governments involved and the potential financial impact to the municipal residents. The local governments sponsoring these projects have worked with the Department of State to craft proposals that meet the MRF program's threshold for funding.
Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, "The Municipal Restructuring Fund's investments are another example of Governor Cuomo's commitment to helping local governments innovate and become more efficient. By giving these Upstate local governments the tools to improve services and work collaboratively and creatively, we are actually empowering taxpayers and delivering long-term savings."
North Country - $2,341,620:
Essex County EMS Consolidation - $2,289,322 for Small-Scale Implementation: Essex County will begin the process of building a comprehensive, county-managed and supported EMS system. With the small-scale implementation funding, the county will begin Phase One of a four-phase plan for countywide consolidation. The initial work will be completed within the Towns of Ticonderoga, Crown Point and Moriah. If successful, the county will be able to access an additional $4.25 million through the MRF to complete the consolidation throughout the county.
Franklin County Consolidated Occupancy Tax Enforcement - $2,298 for Project Development: Franklin, Essex and Hamilton Counties will initiate implementation of shared services and the functional consolidation of the enforcement and collection of occupancy taxes to meet new demands related to short-term rentals.
Saint Lawrence County Village of Heuvelton Wastewater Consolidation - $50,000 for Project Development: The Village of Heuvelton, Town of Oswegatchie and City of Ogdensburg will develop a project plan for decommissioning the Village of Heuvelton's wastewater system, and creating a regional system utilizing the City of Ogdensburg's facility.
Randy Preston, Essex County Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, said, "This grant award will allow Essex County to get a much-needed EMS program underway. There will be no more calling 911 and not receiving an ambulance in an appropriate time frame. We will be saving lives."
Franklin County Manager Donna Kissane said, "Franklin County is very appreciative of the funding that New York State Department of State has awarded us to offset the cost of a software program that we have purchased in collaboration with the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST) and Essex and Hamilton Counties. The project will provide capacity, equipment and shared software across Franklin, Essex and Hamilton Counties to significantly enhance tourism lodging occupancy and related economic benefits. The ultimate end result will be a boost to quality of life through economic benefits obtained by increased tourism and occupancy. This will occur through increased occupancy tax revenues from improved compliance, which will be directed to tourism promotion. As well, there may be an eventual cost savings to the counties by potential consolidating of enforcement services once the counties get caught up on collection compliance.
Ogdensburg City Manager Sarah Purdy said, "The City of Ogdensburg looks forward to working with the Village of Heuvelton to provide the most cost-effective solution for the Village's wastewater treatment needs. With the City's wastewater treatment plant capital improvement project underway, the City is poised to provide regional solutions for our neighboring communities. Through this collaboration we are pleased to support the Department of State award to Heuvelton."
Village of Heuvelton Mayor Barb Lashua said, "This project is important to both the Village of Heuvelton, as well as the City of Ogdensburg. Should the collaboration between the two municipalities come to fruition, there would be potential for industrial as well as residential growth that currently does not exist. All involved communities stand a better chance of remaining viable. This is an opportunity to attract potential business ventures to our area due to access to modern, cost-effective and efficient infrastructure facilities. When we have an opportunity to work together to provide better services to our residents, it is truly a win-win situation for all concerned."
Town of Oswegatchie Town Supervisor Alfred Nichols said, "This grant award provides much needed help to make local government in Saint Lawrence County run more efficiently. I would like to thank Governor Cuomo for giving us the tools we need to save taxpayers money and streamline services."
CEO of the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism James McKenna said, "This DOS program fits well with the Governor's vision to combine efforts of county governments eliminating duplication while solving issues and growing revenues for each. It provides data to the three counties to better track and then better target their tourism efforts to increase visitation resulting in new jobs and business growth."
Central New York - $555,000:
Onondaga & Oswego Counties Consolidation of Purchasing Services - $505,000 for Full Implementation: Oswego County and the City of Oswego will consolidate purchasing services with Onondaga County by establishing "business units" within Onondaga County's procurement software. This consolidation will allow Onondaga County to provide purchasing services for the partner local governments. Both the City of Oswego and Oswego County will no longer have a full-time procurement staff and will utilize Onondaga County's purchasing team for services.
Onondaga & Madison Counties Regional Emergency Management Communications - $50,000 for Project Development: Madison County will partner with Onondaga County to develop a study that addresses the long-term management of emergency communications in the two counties.
Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney said, "We are excited to expand our purchasing partnership that we built with Otsego County, to the city and county of Oswego. The work that our staff in the Division of Purchase is doing on behalf of Onondaga County residents, as well as our partner local governments is a model for efficiency. I want to thank the Department of State for recognizing this work and providing assistance and support."
Madison County Board of Supervisors Chairman John Becker said, "This grant will allow us to discover how we can better serve the residents of Madison County. The study will the benchmark our 911 systems and seek out opportunities for improving our 911 services through partnering with Onondaga County."
Oswego County Legislature Chair Shane Broadwell said, "Oswego County's procurement relationship with Onondaga County resulted in immediate savings in personnel costs. Over the past several months we've developed an effective professional relationship with Onondaga's Division of Purchase, and they've been great to work with. Since the 1970s Oswego County has been consolidating or sharing services with other governments to save taxpayers' money or improve public services; everything from solid waste management to regional tourism promotion. Our purchasing agreement with Onondaga is the latest in this long line of cooperative projects, and we look forward to continuing this partnership's success."
City of Oswego Mayor William J. Barlow said, "The city of Oswego is pleased to consolidate our Purchasing operations with Onondaga County and we've already realized the benefits to this partnership by saving our taxpayers money and working with our municipal partners to reduce costs while still administering quality services. I appreciate having a partner in Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney providing us with the opportunity to consolidate services and reduce the overall cost of local government in the city of Oswego."
Mohawk Valley - $219,917:
Otsego County Health Care Consortium - $44,150 for Project Development: Otsego County is proposing the establishment of the Otsego County Healthcare Consortium, a new healthcare corporation under Article 47 of the Insurance Law, to collectively reduce the costs of the municipal employees in local governments across the county.
Otsego County Four-Town Reorganization - $26,715 for Project Development: Otsego County will partner with the Towns of Decatur, Maryland, Westford, and Worcester to develop a project plan for municipal reorganization.
Montgomery County Village of Fort Plain Dissolution - $21,677 for Project Development: Montgomery County will work with the Village of Fort Plain and the Town of Minden to develop a plan for municipal reorganization to help ensure long-term service sustainability.
Montgomery County Village/County Police Consolidation - $27,847 for Project Development: Montgomery County will work with the Village of Fort Plain and the Village of Canajoharie to consolidate policing functions within the County Sheriff's office in order to maintain law enforcement services and simultaneously reduce costs.
Montgomery County Regional Court Facility - $50,000 for Project Development: Montgomery County will work with local government partners to develop a consolidated court facility in order to avoid required capital upgrades to individual municipal facilities, reduce operational costs and simplify arraignment procedures.
Montgomery County Consolidated Records Management System - $49,528 for Project Development: Montgomery County will work to expand the existing records management system—currently shared with the City of Amsterdam, the Town of Amsterdam and the Town of Florida—to all municipalities across the county.
Montgomery County Executive Matthew Ossenfort said, "The County and its municipal partners remain ambitiously committed to implementing a range of projects formulated last year. We wish to express our appreciation to New York State for its ongoing financial support for innovative initiatives that simultaneously reduce the cost and improve the quality of county and municipal services."
Minch Lewis, Adjunct Professor from the Maxwell School said, "The Maxwell School is excited to extend its working partnership with Montgomery County. In particular, we look forward to the collaborative development of practical frameworks for spurring municipal innovation, facilitating efficiencies of services delivery and, consequently, reducing local taxpayer burden."
Western New York - $44,545:
Chautauqua County Water and Wastewater Cooperative - $44,545 for Project Development: Chautauqua County will work with local government partners to establish Chautauqua Region Water and Wastewater Cooperative in order to address challenges confronting small municipal systems by pooling resources, including shared operators.
Chautauqua County Executive George Borello said, "Receiving this Municipal Restructuring Fund grant will be a game changer for Chautauqua County's local water and sewer districts. It will enable us to develop an intermunicipal water and wastewater cooperative among 17 partner communities to stabilize staffing and generate long-term savings through shared equipment and purchasing. I thank Governor Cuomo and our partners at the Department of State for helping us advance this innovative project and continuing to champion local government efficiency efforts."
Since its inception two years ago, the Municipal Restructuring Fund has invested in 30 projects for Phase 2, Phase 3 and Phase 4, totaling over $13.9 million in funding commitments. The annual estimated savings from the implementation of these projects is expected to exceed $66 million.
The MRF utilizes multiple deadlines for project submission to enable applications and project awards throughout the year. The next due date for new project proposals is November 14, 2018. For additional information about the program and project applications, visit the Department of State website at www.dos.ny.gov.
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