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Enhancing Intergovernmental Performance

The Program on Local and Intergovernmental Studies (POLIS) works to improve governmental performance and make what we learn accessible and useful to state and local policymakers. A part of that work is to increase our understanding of the conditions and factors that influence local government performance, and use that knowledge to improve governance and management outcomes. The POLIS team works directly with local officials on community projects and training opportunities. We study public services delivered by local governments, or through intergovernmental systems, to understand how they actually operate, how much they cost, how they can be improved and how successful models can be replicated.

Recent Program News

Heard Around the State...

Local and Intergovernmental News from Newspapers througout New York State.

April 15 - 30, 2012

Sales tax up for municipalities, down for state

Binghamton Press and Sun; April 27, 2012

Sales tax revenue has risen four percent for local government in the first quarter of the year, but has fallen a half of a percent for the state. Broome County experienced the largest rise in the state (almost 20%), as the result of the recovery effort from last year’s floods. The decrease in state revenue is a result of the exemption of sales tax on clothing purchases under $110. In addition, the state government faces a sales tax cap on gasoline, which counties do not, allowing counties to increase revenue by raising the gas tax. Sales tax revenue for local governments has risen over the last two years, tracking the slow economic recovery. [Read Full Article]

Majority of schools will abide by property tax cap

Ithaca Journal; April 26, 2012

Nearly 92% of school districts have proposed tax increases that conform to the 2% property tax cap passed by the state last year. Only 51 of 669 school districts proposed tax-levy increases with the intention to ask voters to override the tax cap. However, 173 school districts proposed budgets that hit the capped amount exactly and twelve proposed budgets just $1 under the capped limit. Oftentimes, rising costs meant that budgets were met by cutting staff and services. Short-term budget goals can be met by postponing maintenance and renovation projects. The true test of the property tax cap will be the actions of school districts in the long-term.
[Read Full Article]

Albion applying for grant to help it absorb dissolving Altmar

Syracuse Post Standard; April 24, 2012

The Town of Albion has decided to apply for a $50,000 grant from the Department of State to assist in the process of dissolving the Village of Altmar. Residents of Altmar voted to abolish the village in 2010, and the dissolution is scheduled to be final in June 2013. The money would be used for professional costs, such as paying lawyers, to turn all village assets, laws, streets, lighting district and cemetery over to the town. An area of tension between the two governments at a recent meeting was the condition of village streets and sidewalks. The town would prefer that the village make necessary repairs before it is dissolved, instead of leaving the responsibility to the town. [Read Full Article]