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Heard Around the State...

On a weekly basis, POLIS provides news articles from mainly New York state newspapers that discuss interesting and innovative policies and actions in local governments. The articles are regionally and functionally diverse, and are intended to give busy public officials a quick look at what other officials are up to across the 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]

April 1 - 14, 2012

Regional EPA chief: New Paltz is an "anchor"

The Poughkeepsie Journal – March 30, 2012

New Paltz is one of 13 communities in the country to be selected for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Zero Waste Pilot Partnership Program for local governments. Most recent waste management programs have been instituted by municipalities on the West Coast. Therefore, the program may make New Paltz a leader in the eastern United States for waste reduction. Currently, the EPA is gathering ideas from its pilot communities through brainstorming sessions. Implementation will begin next year.
[Read Full Article]

Merger plan is termed unprecedented in state

Buffalo News – March 28, 2012

Chad Zambito, chairman of the eight-member Consolidated Charter Task Force of Batavia, spoke to the Rotary Club about the proposed consolidation of the City and Town of Batavia. He told the Rotarians that the merger would be unprecedented in New York State and that there is a projected savings of $900,000 in the first year after the merger, without impacting tiered or zoned services, taxes and existing contracts. If the change in the Batavia City Charter is approved by the City Council, then residents of both municipalities would have to approve the merger in a referendum this November. [Read Full Article]

March 25 - 31, 2012

County, its 3 cities expected to submit proposal
for land bank

Buffalo News; March 27, 2012

Erie County and the Cities of Buffalo, Lackawanna, and Tonawanda are on the path to forming one of the state’s first land banks. A land bank is a non-profit corporation with the power to purchase abandoned property from auctions by simply bidding the amount owed in back-taxes and fees, thereby cutting out land speculators. If approved, the land bank would empower the municipalities acquired abandoned properties and develop them in accordance to locally crafted plans. The bank would only buy properties that a municipality wanted and does not have eminent domain powers.
[Read Full Article]

Norwood study to examine future of village kicking off next month

The Ogdensburg Journal; March 25, 2012

The Village of Norwood, located within the Town of Potsdam, has received a grant to fund a dissolution study and will begin the study next month with the assistance the Center for Governmental Research. There is very little support in the village to dissolve into the town. Rather, some leaders are advocating that the village expand its borders and become the Town of Norwood. Although this might not create immediate savings, some residents are concerned that the neighboring Village of Potsdam will dissolve in the future. The Village of Potsdam recently voted down a referendum to dissolve, raising the taxes of other town residents. “We all know it will come up again,” said Norwood Mayor James McFadden about the dissolution debate in the Village of Potsdam.
[Read Full Article]

February 1 - 15, 2011

Norwood awarded town study grant

Watertown Daily Times; February 10, 2012

The Village of Norwood is considering a novel kind of Government restructuring. Instead of dissolving into a surrounding town, residents are looking at expanding the municipality’s area and becoming a town. The village has received a $50,000 grant from the Department of State to perform a study the transition. The expanded lines would include property in the Town of Potsdam. [Read Full Article]

Little progress on consolidating primaries

The Ogdensburg Journal; February 8, 2012

County officials in the North Country have expressed frustration at New York State’s failure to consolidate the various primaries in 2012 to reduce costs for local governments. The presidential primary is in April, the non-presidential federal primary will be in June, yet the State’s primary is not until September. The failure of the state primary to align with federal primaries is expected to cost Lewis County about $50,000, Jefferson County $60,000 or more, and St. Lawrence between $50,000 and $100,000.
[Read Full Article]

New Paltz consolidation would take time, money

Time Herald-Record; February 8, 2012

The Town and Village of New Paltz have begun to discuss the possibility of consolidation. However, officials have run into difficulties over how to describe their exploration of the consolidation process. Village Mayor Jason West has expressed concern that officials are considering how the two governments could be merged instead of whether the consolidation should take place. Progress was made when a Town Board member assured West that accepting a consolidation report was not a commitment to consolidation. This case reveals a difficulty with the consolidation process: a well-informed decision on whether consolidation is the best option cannot be formed until the option has been thoroughly explored, which requires committing time and resources to the consolidation process. [Read Full Article]

January 15 - 31, 2011

Bold merger plan could set tone for state's schools

Glens Falls Post Star; January 15, 2012

Four of Herkimer County's eleven school districts voted unanimously to approve a non-binding resolution for a proposed merger. The districts, all of which are located within seven miles of each other, have scheduled another vote for Thursday, January 19th, and if the proposal is approved again, a binding vote will be scheduled for February. If the merger proceeds, the result would be a district with over 5,000 students. [Read Full Article]

Panel recommends dissolving village of Painted Post

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle; January 15, 2012

A committee in the Village of Painted Post has released a report making three recommendations for sharing services with the Town of Erwin. Their strongest recommendation is for the dissolution of the village. The report claims that village residents could expect a 43% reduction in taxes, without significant rise in town taxes or reduction of services. Special districts would be established to maintain services. [Read Full Article]

East Syracuse Fire Department wants to form independent fire district; village questions savings; January 11, 2012

The East Syracuse Fire Department has proposed a plan to separate from the village and form an independent fire district. Officials in the department claim that the move will save taxpayers money as well as give the department greater autonomy. The savings would come from ending the village's practice of inflating the costs of fire protection. Village officials say that they are open to the move, if the savings can be demonstrated; however, they that the estimates given by the department fail to include significant costs, such as payments on department vehicles. [Read Full Article]

November 28 - December 19, 2011

Yurgartis Taking Aim At Court

Messena Daily Courier-Observer; December 3, 2011

Two newly elected officials are making consolidation a key aspect of their agendas. Steven W. Yurgartis, the mayor-elect of the Village of Potsdam announced that one of his first actions once sworn in will be to introduce a resolution to dissolve the Village Court. If approved, the dissolution process will take four years, as village voters elected Village Justice Nicholas Pignone to a four-year term. Town officials welcome the consolidation, and the new town courthouse, currently under construction, has been designed with the village in mind. [Read Full Article]

Lake George's incoming supervisor promises consolidation

Glens Falls Post Star; December 1, 2011

In the Town of Lake George, Supervisor-elect Dennis Dickinson ousted incumbent Frank McCoy. Dickinson, along with two newly elected Town Board members, is a member of a Lake George Citizens Group and is committed to moving forward with the stalled talks with the village regarding consolidation and shared services. He says that he has already begun discussions with the village mayor; he believes consolidation will occur in the future, but that a variety of efforts should be taken now. [Read Full Article]

Five Rockland riverfront villages to look into sharing services

LoHud; November 28, 2011

Village leaders in Grand View, Nyack, Piermont, South Nyack, and Upper Nyack have agreed to explore sharing services and are applying for a grant from the NY Department of State to fund a study of cost saving opportunities. Several of the villages already share services, such as police and road repaving; however, leaders hope to identify more instances of overlap. They have also emphasized that they do not intend on consolidating any village governments.
[Read Full Article]

October 28 - November 1, 2011

Police District Could Follow Library District

The Daily Courier - October 28, 2011

Eliminating a layer of government may require creating a layer of government in Potsdam where the debate over dissolving the village into the town has largely turned on the status of the village's police force. This is fairly counter-intuitive, given Governor Cuomo's expressed policy of eliminating layers of government; however, the article cites evidence that state officials may be sympathetic to the creation of special districts to provide services in the absence of a village government. [Read Full Article]

Glens Falls/Warren County dispatching switch

Glens Falls Post Star - October 31, 2011

The Glens Falls police dispatch center will be consolidated with its Warren County counterpart sometime in early 2012. The debate over dispatch consolidation in Glens Falls has been unusually intense and emotional, being cited as an important issue in local elections for nearly six years.
[Read Full Article]

Cohoes budget proposes 2 layoffs, no tax increase

Albany Times Union - November 1, 2011

All around the state, counties and municipalities are revealing their budget plans for 2012, and a great many of them resemble the City of Cohoes in terms of attempting to address prolonged fiscal difficulties. In Cohoes, two positions are being eliminated through layoffs and three through attrition. However, after consecutive years of position cutting, finding savings is becoming difficult. New York State's failure to include mandate relief with the two percent tax cap is often cited as another key fiscal constraint. [Read Full Article]

October 14 - October 31, 2011

Brennan: Money saved by eliminating positions, creating efficiencies

Binghamton Press Connects - October 14, 2011

Patrick Brennan, Broome County Executive, announced that the proposed 2012 County Budget includes a three percent salary reduction for himself and several other county officers and eliminates 112 positions. These cuts were achieved through a retirement incentive program that he conceived. The costs of this incentive program will be spread out over ten years because it offers retirees a credit on their share of health insurance instead of a cash incentive. Given the emphasis on staff reductions faced by New York State and municipalities, retirement incentive programs that save money without disadvantaging employees may be an alternative to layoffs in some cases. [Read Full Article]

Regional council identifies economic obstacles at Cornell meeting

Ithaca Journal - October 19, 2011

Members of the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council held a meeting at Cornell University and identified what they perceived as key economic obstacles and challenges facing local governments. Among these were the complexity of working with state agencies, the high cost of doing business in New York, and workforce development. This council, as well as the other nine councils established by Gov. Cuomo, has received thousands of applications for project funding through the Consolidated Funding Application process.
[Read Full Article]

Public works facility dedicated

Buffalo News - October 23, 2011

The Village of Akron and the surrounding Town of Newstead, located in Erie County, held an open house for a $4 million joint Public Works facility, the first of which in the county. A significant portion of the work, including grading and landscaping, was performed by town and village employees. This put to rest concerns regarding the ability of the two local governments to work together, according to Town Supervisor David Cummings. [Read Full Article]

June 17 - June 27, 2011

Moreau developments could boost Glens Falls sewer revenues

Glens Falls Post Star - June 19, 2011

The Town of Moreau and the City of Glens Falls are discussing an intermunicipal agreement to allow Glens Falls handle the sewage from anticipated housing developments in Moreau. The contract under discussion could be worth well over $2 million. [Read Full Article]

Combined courts law is headed to governor

Watertown Daily Times - June 17, 2011

State lawmakers have passed a bill that would allow three Tug Hill towns — Harrisburg, Pinckney and Montague — to form the state's first elected combined justice court. There is no expectation that Governor Cuomo will have any qualms about signing the bill into law. [Read Full Article]

May 25 - June 16, 2011

Shared services suggested

Buffalo News - June 1, 2011

State Sen. Catharine Young, R-Olean, is working on proposed legislation that would allow the creation of regional high schools. According to the Fredonia Central School District Supervisor, the district is looking for ways to share services and possibly regionalization. The district is waiting to for a reply from the Brocton School District about the possibility of centralization. [Read Full Article]

Panel airs draft on dissolution

Watertown Daily Times - May 26, 2011

The Village of Potsdam's dissolution committee presented its findings, raising concerns regarding the proposed dissolution. According to the study, dissolution may result in an increase of net spending of $30,000, as well as budget cuts. State law involving consolidation was cited as one of the major sources of complexity in the process.
[Read Full Article]

3 panels to study shared services for Erwin, Painted Post

Binghamton Press Connects - May 25, 2011

The Town of Erwin and the Village of Painted Post are looking at ways to share or consolidate services, and a committee appointed to study the options has formed three subcommittees to look at three key areas. A website has also been created to inform the public of meeting times and developments.
[Read Full Article]

May 7-16, 2011

Forks board agrees to study merger with Chenango Valley

Binghamton Press Connects - May 5, 2011

The Chenango Forks Board of Education agreed to apply for a state grant to study the feasibility of merging with neighboring Chenango Valley Central School District. The Chenango Valley Board is expected to likewise approve the action at their next meeting. Attempts to consider consolidation or sharing services between the two districts have failed in the past, but the current conversation is enjoying wider support than in the past. [Read Full Article]

Victory adopts village budget with tax rate unchanged

Glens Falls Post Star - May 3, 2011

In the small village of Victory, proposals from dissolution study consulting firms are due at noon on May 10 and a special village meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. on May 11 to open consultants' bids. An 11-member dissolution study committee has met monthly since February. Residents will vote on whether to dissolve village government in March 2013.
[Read Full Article]

April 20-May 6, 2011

Waddington to present dissolution plan Monday

Watertown Daily Times - May 1, 2011

The village of Waddington is taking another step down the path towards dissolution. The village is presenting its plan for dissolution that describes how the villages various assets will be divided what special districts will be formed. A dissolution measure must still be passed by referendum. [Read Full Article]

Washington County considers countywide assessing

Glens Falls Post Star - April 28, 2011

Officials in Washington County are once again mulling over the possibility of transferring assessment form a town function to a county function. A study on this subject was conducted with grant money in 2008 but did not lead to any action. A transfer of assessment services would mean unifying policies that vary from town to town, such as equalization rates and revaluations.
[Read Full Article]

Nassau, Suffolk move on joint purchases

Melville Newsday - April 28, 2011

Nassau and Suffolk counties plan to consolidate their purchases of wastewater treatment chemicals into a single contract that officials say could lead to major savings for taxpayers.The Long Island Purchasing Council, a procurement consortium between the two counties, the towns of Oyster Bay and Brookhaven and dozens of villages across Long Island, agreed Thursday to begin soliciting bids. [Read Full Article]

April 1-19, 2011

Public hears details on proposed eastern Onondaga County fire department merger; implementation team to be set up

Syracuse Post Standard - April 14, 2011

A public meeting was held to discuss the merging of four fire districts in eastern Onadaoga County in to a single district. A consultant hired to study the situation recomended the merger to save money on administrative and managerial costs. The next step is to set up an Implementation Advisory Committee composed of members of the various municipalities. [Read Full Article]

Washington County communities talk about sharing police services

Glens Falls Post Star - April 13, 2011

Leaders of the Village of Hudson Falls and the Towns of Kingsbury and Fort Edward have begun to discuss ways that the communities can share police services. An impetus of these discussions is the increasing presence of the Hudson Falls police force in the sorrounding Town of Kingsbury. Hudson Falls Police Chief Randy Diamond stated that he favors Kingsbury contracting police services from Hudson Falls. [Read Full Article]

March 6-13, 2011

Development group eyes way to share services

Glens Falls Post Star - March 13, 2011

A group of municipalities in Washington, Warren, and Saratoga counties are exploring ways to share services and increase regional efficiency. Current projects being considered include connecting the Village of Hudson Falls with the Glens Falls Waste Water Treatment Plant, constructing bicycle and pedestrian trails to connect public parks in the region, and encouraging development along the rail line that runs from Johnsburg south to Saratoga Springs.
[Read Full Article]

Sean Carroll is developing plan for consolidated purchases to save city,villages and towns money

Syracuse Post Standard - March 10, 2011

Onadoga County is consolidating its purchasing operations with the City of
Syracuse, the Syracuse School District, and perhaps the other towns and
villages within the county. Sean Corroll, the director of Onadoga County's
purchasing, will be the head of this new office. He hopes that the move
will save taxpayers money by reducing duplication and utilizing volume
discounts. [Read Full Article]

Trumansburg, South Seneca schools explore sharing resources

Binghamton Press and Sun Bulletin - March 6, 2011

In response to Gov. Cuomo's call for consolidation of small school districts, Trumansburg School officials announced that they have met with officials of South Seneca Central Schools to discuss the possibility of a future merger and a short-term goal of increased service sharing. Efforts are underway to identify services that the two districts can share easily. [Read Full Article]

February 8-28, 2011

County libraries seek creative ways to survive

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle - February 21, 2011

The Irondequoit Public Library, which is facing dwindling funding, is considering separating from the town government and forming its own Library District. Proponents argue that the move will give the public greater authority over the library, including the ability to vote on budgets and trustees. However, the move runs against calls for government consolidation from Gov. Cuomo and other officials. [Read Full Article]

Worried about its protection, Elbridge is forcing fire departments to consolidate

Syracuse Post Standard - February 23, 2011

In reaction to the County Executive's call for fire department consolidation and poor performance from its own department, the Village of Elbridge has found a creative way to quickly consolidating the department with neighboring Jordan. The village, which owns the fire trucks and equipment, has declared a state of emergency and handed its fire protection to the Jordan Fire Department.
[Read Full Article]

Consolidation panel hopefuls to undergo interview process

Buffalo News - February 23, 2011

The City and Town of Batavia are moving forward in exploring the possibility of consolidating the two governments. Interviews have been conducted to appoint an eight person committee to amend the City Charter to allow the consolidation. A vote on whether to consolidate has been scheduled for November 2012.
[Read Full Article]

February 1-7, 2011

Erwin, Painted Post exploring shared services

Binghamton Press and Sun Bulletin - February 6, 2011

The Town of Erwin and the Village of Painted Post have established a nine-member committee to investigate the feasibility of the municipalities sharing and consolidating services, with the possibility of eventually merging the municipalities. The committee, which first met on January 26, is planning on holding six to eight meetings and launching a website, and seeks to foster public participation. [Read Full Article]

Altmar moves forward with its dissolution process

Syracuse Post Standard - February 5, 2011

Voters in the Village of Altmar decided to dissolve the village on November 10, 2010. Village officials have begun the process by appointing a seven member committee facilitate the process. The village has also applied for a state grant to cover the cost of a study of how to dissolve the municipality. [Read Full Article]

Glens Falls area municipalities trying new name to
cash in on grants

Glens Falls Post Star - February 1, 2011

Several municipalities in the Glenns Falls area have formed a loose-knit affiliation for the purpose of applying for state grants. The "Regional Council of Municipalities in Upstate New York" is comprised of municipalities seeking grants for economic development and internal improvements and have been previously denied. Its members believe that the name of an organization may have in affect on the ability to receive grant money; "Words such as 'consortium' and 'council' appear to carry more weight than 'collaboration' when bureaucrats review grant applications," according to Glens Falls Mayor John Diamond.
[Read Full Article]

January 24-31, 2011

JCJDC to pay JCIDA its share of workers

Watertown Daily Times - January 26, 2011

At a recent committee meeting of the Jefferson County Job Development
Corp. (JCJDC) board, the committee decided to take a second look at its
current agreement with the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency
(JCIDA). JCJDC is seeking to pay JCIDA for employees working on JCJDC
projects but employed be JCIDA. Several committee members expressed the
view that the organizations ought to be proactive in finding efficiencies
in light of the state government's emphasis on consolidation and
efficiency. [Read Full Article]

Learning what brown can do for them

Tonawanda News - January 28, 2011

The Town of Tonawanda has received a $60,000 state grant to study brownfield development "Brownfield Opportunity Area" which includes sites in the Town of Tonawanda as well as several sites in the City of Tonawanda. A "brownfield" site is one where redevelopment is difficult because of the presence of contamination. There is hope that these sites can become areas of economic opportunity for the town and the city, as brownfield sites can be sources of substantial tax credits for businesses. [Read Full Article]

White Plains shared service seffort takes first steps with school vehicle maintenance

LowHud - January 31, 2011

Last year, the City of White Plains and the White Plains school district began an initiative to find areas where services could be consolidated to save tax payers money. They are now launching a pilot program in which the city's Public Works Department will maintain the school district's 26 vehicles. It is estimated that the program will save $75,000 by reducing outsourced maintenance work.
[Read Full Article]

January 2-19, 2011

Herrings officials look into, opt against dissolution

Watertown Daily Times - January 16, 2011

In the small village of Herring, which has only three employees, the possibility of dissolution has been considered over the years, but no attempt has been made to move forward with the process. The village board is concerned that dissolving would halt a project to bring water to the village. Furthermore, only one resident has shown interest in the possibility of dissolution. [Read Full Article]

Clifton Park keeps OT costs low

Albany Times Union - January 18, 2011

Clifton Park has successfully kept costs for overtime work down by contracting out security services. The municipality does not have its own police force; instead it relies on the New York State Police and the Saratoga County Sheriffs Office. Clifton Park spent under $140,000 in overtime pay in 2010. In contrast, the town of Colonie paid out around $2.6 million in overtime pay.
[Read Full Article]

Tkazyik starts push for full-time mayor, plans charter review

Poughkeepsie Journal - January 19, 2011

Poughkeepsie Mayor John Tkazyik is pushing for a commission to explore ways to modernize the city charter and whether the Mayoral position should be full time. Tkazyik argues that the current structure of the city's government is inefficient and that oversight functions should be consolidated into the Mayors office. He also feels that the Mayor ought to have more control over spending. [Read Full Article]

December 14-26, 2010

East hampton wants out of state mandates

Newsday - December 19, 2010

The board of East Hampton village passed a resolution to ask the state to exclude them from mandates regarding health insurance, pension and collective bargaining for employees. [Read Full Article]

Renewal plan for North Amityville Okd

Newsday - December 19, 2010

The town of Babylon approved a renewal and revision plan for a problematic section of Amityville. [Read Full Article]

Ogdensburg library to go to taxpayers for funding

Watertown Daily Times - December 20, 2010

The library in Ogdensburg is considering raising funds by going directly to taxpayers and taxing school district residents. [Read Full Article]

December 7-13, 2010

Bethlehem seeks proposals on budget

Albany Times Union - December 7, 2010

The Bethlehem school district is considering some creative alternatives in order to balance its budget. [Read Full Article]

Firefighters, towns, still at odds over contract

Buffalo News - December 11, 2010

The town of Boston and its firefighters are in the middle of a contract
disagreement that may result in no fire services in the coming year.
[Read Full Article]

Library system, not culturals, to get more funds

Buffalo News - December 12, 2010

Erie County Republican legislators have agreed to support the county executive's veto of arts spending, under the condition that the library system receive additional funds. [Read Full Article]

November 30-December 6, 2010

Westchester lawmakers consider term limits for themselves

Journal News - December 5, 2010

County legislators in Westchester are considering laws that would impose term limits on the positions they hold. [Read Full Article]

Fire districts lead public pay with average $92,00 per year

Poughkeepsie Journal - December 5, 2010

Firefighters in three Dutchess county fire districts are the highest paid government employees in the area, earning more than double what the average governmental worker makes in Ulster and Dutchess counties. [Read Full Article]

City utility tax not likely to pass

Plattsburgh Press-Republican - December 6, 2010

An plan to create resources for the Plattsburgh city school district through a utility tax is meeting with fierce opposition. [Read Full Article]

November 22-29, 2010

Clifton Park buys golf course

Albany Times Union - November 29, 2010

the town of Clifton Park has purchased a privately owned golf course, which they believe they can staff with current municipal employees and turn into a source of profit. [Read Full Article]

Public input sought on future of Moses Parkway

Buffalo News - November 29, 2010

State and local representatives in the Niagara Falls area are holding a public forum regarding the controversial Robert Moses causeway. The forum will welcome questions and suggestions regarding the causeway on a variety of topics. [Read Full Article]

New Jersey's Tiniest Towns Fight Push to Merge

New York Times - November 28, 2010

The state of New Jersey is putting pressure on some of its smaller municipalities to look into consolidation. [Read Full Article]

November 9-15, 2010

Towns, others collaborate to save on health care costs

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle - November 15, 2010

Nine Rochester area muncipalities and the city's housing authority have agreed to enter into a trust for health insurance that could save them millions.
[Read Full Article]

Dutchess legislators cut $400,000 from budget

Poughkeepsie Journal - November 14, 2010

After five days of careful scrutiny, Dutchess county legislators have managed to trim $400,000 from the budget. [Read Full Article]

East Syracuse, Dewitt start study on consolidation,
shared services

Syracuse Post-Standard - November 8, 2010

Two Onondaga County municipalities have begun studying where they can share services or consolidate, in order to cut costs. [Read Full Article]

November 2-8, 2010

Downsizing picks up steam amongst voters

Buffalo News - November 7, 2010

Downsizing government is becoming increasingly popular in Western New York.
[Read Full Article]

Potsdam weighs Recreation Department's future

Watertown Daily Times - November 8, 2010

The village of Potsdam is considering removing the Recreation Department from its budget and creating and independent fund. [Read Full Article]

Schools find creative ways to save money

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle - November 8, 2010

Rochester area schools are finding ways to trim their budgets without resorting to painful layoffs. [Read Full Article]

October 27- November 1, 2010

Term referendum on Tupper village ballots

Plattsburgh Press-Republican - October 31, 2010

The village of Tupper is voting on whether or not to change its term lengths for public officials, in order to get more in line with other local governments
[Read Full Article]

Merger vote in Homer and Scott proves divisive for
many in two towns

Syracuse Post-Standard - October 31, 2010

The upcoming vote on a referendum for merging the towns of Homer and Scott has shown how divided citizens are on the issue. [Read Full Article]

Most Broome towns plan to hand plowing duties back to county

Binghamton Press and Sun Bulletin - October 31, 2010

Almost all the towns in Broome County have opted to let the county handle plowing responsibilities, after a 10% cut to the amount of payout they would receive by handling it themselves. [Read Full Article]

October 19-26, 2010

Upstate in quandary over what attention its economy will get

Buffalo News - October 25, 2010

Andrew Cuomo has advocated for a more regional perspective on upstate New York's economy, leaving some upstate officials wondering what the result will be for their muncipalities. [Read Full Article]

Massena will face tough choices on next budget

Watertown Daily Times - October 24, 2010

Like many upstate municipalities, the village of Messina will have to make some tough decisions come budget time. [Read Full Article]

Experts discuss path to regional prosperity on panel at Binghamton High School

Binghamton Press and Sun Bulletin - October 24, 2010

A panel of local experts gathered Saturday to discuss ideas regarding the region's future. [Read Full Article]

Auburn lands 590,000 grant to study multi-use building along Owasco River

Syracuse Post-Standard - October 23, 2010

The town of Auburn, led by city manager Mark Palesh, obtained a sizable grant to study riverfront development. [Read Full Article]

October 12-18, 2010

North Greenbush Holds the Line

Albany Times Union - October 15, 2010

North Greenbush has released its proposed 2011 budget, which manages to avoid tax increases by cutting hours for employees. [Read Full Article]

Seven Winning Visions of Suburbia Reborn

New York Times - October 15, 2010

A recent contest sponsored by the L.I. Index that asked contestants to
design a better suburb revealed seven winning ideas.
[Read Full Article]

Students Build Moriah Courthouse Addition

Plattsburgh Press-Republican - October 18th, 2010

The town of Moriah and students from Champlain Valley Technical Education Center teamed up to build a new town courthouse for cheap, while giving students hand on construction experience. [Read Full Article]

October 5-11, 2010

County plans audit of Brookfield's tax relief

Albany Times Union - October 11, 2010

Albany County plans to audit the Empire Zone tax benefits that Brookfield
Renewable Power receives after the way the company reports its number of
employees has been called into question. [Read Full Article]

New York launches website to help attract and grow business

Syracuse Post-Standard - October 11, 2010

A new website called New York First is going to be the first portal for statewide economic development programs.
[Read Full Article]

Cops laud city gun tips hotline despite only 1 approved award

Poughkeepsie Journal - October 11, 2010

While officials are counting the city of Poughkeepsie's new cash for tips about guns program as a success, only one reward has actually been approved.
[Read Full Article]

September 27 - October 4, 2010

New York's Property Tax Nightmare

Albany Times Union - October 2, 2010

The Albany Times-Union writes an in-depth about how high property taxes are, the role they play in threatening the state's economy, and what some citizens are trying to do about it. [Read Full Article]

Two lawsuits aim to get County Legislature downsizing on ballot

Buffalo News - October 4, 2010

Local government downsizing advocate Kevin Gaughan is attempting to get downsizing the Erie county legislature on the ballot in November.
[Read Full Article]

A renaissance in the heart of Lockport

Buffalo News - October 4, 2010

A developer has effectively revitalized downtown Lockport using a strategy of personal investment. [Read Full Article]

September 21-27, 2010

Crown Point seeks hamlet expansion

Plattsburgh Press-Republican - September 26, 2010

Crown Point, a hamlet in Essex County, is looking to expand itself in an effort to boost development. This is a tactic several North Country hamlets have recently taken. [Read Full Article]

An alternative approach to funding wind energy

Binghamton Press and Sun Bulletin - September 24, 2010

A Cornell professor recommends that the town of Enfield consider "community funding" a new local wind farm, as opposed to the typical approach of using capital funding from investors. [Read Full Article]

Tax shocker: Soaring Onondaga County tax bills put town government under scrutiny

Syracuse Post-Standard - September 23rd, 2010

The new tax laws in Onondaga County, noted in one of last week's articles, have led to town government spending coming under close scrutiny. [Read Full Article]

September 12-20, 2010

Beacon, Fishkill riders get shuttle for free

Poughkeepsie Journal - September 20, 2010

Local economic development agencies worked with government to create the Beacon Local Transit Shuttle, which now gives Beacon residents free transportation to Fishkill. [Read Full Article]

Ossining Town Board plans Sept. 28 vote on police merger

LoHud - September 19, 2010

The Town of Ossining holding a vote on some different merging options for their Police Department. [Read Full Article]

Onondaga County's sales tax formula hits towns hard - September 19, 2010

Onondaga County's new sales tax revenue sharing formula means town are getting far less sales tax revenue than they used to. Meanwhile, if the county's new budget passes, property taxes in those towns will go up significantly.
[Read Full Article]

August 29 - September 11, 2010

Benefits unclear in state's new law on power 'A very big deal' for the local economy? It all depends on who's doing the math

Buffalo News - September 7, 2010

A new state law has redirected profits from unused hydropower from the NYPA into a new program meant to fund economic development in Erie and Niagara County.  However, officials disagree on exactly how much profit the new law will bring local governments. [Read Full Article]

Let’s elevate standards for local officials

Buffalo News - September 7, 2010

Buffalo News reporter Bruce Andriatch uses examples of corruption in area local governments to advocate for higher standards. [Read Full Article]

Teaching jobs are saved, for now

Watertown Daily Times - September 7, 2010

Like the rest of the state, school districts in North Country are relieved that recent federal funding has allowed them to rehire teachers and prevent layoffs; but there are concerns about what will happen when the federal funding runs out. [Read Full Article]

August 15-28, 2010 

Towns spread news through facebook, twitter, youtube 

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle - August 23, 2010 

The city of Rochester and nearby municipalities have begun using social media as promotion and network tools.  Fishkill plans meeting to address deficit. [Read Full Article

The Town of Fishkill is planning a series of public meetings to discuss its multi-year plan for dealing with their considerable deficit. 

Poughkeepsie Journal - August 22, 2010 

The Town of Fishkill is planning a series of public meetings to discuss its multi-year plan for dealing with their considerable deficit. [Read Full Article]  

Saratoga Springs rejects reform petition 

Albany Times Union - August 19, 2010 

In a controversial move, Saratoga Springs' accounts commissioner has rejected a petition from citizens regarding an overhaul of the currrent system of government.  [Read Full Article]

August 1-14, 2010 

Greenburgh hires court administrator 

Westchester Journal News - August 9, 2010 

Troubles in the Greenburgh town court have led to the unique step ofhiring a court administrator. [Read Full Article

Villages unwelcoming to Gaughan 

Buffalo News - August 7, 2010 

Kevin Gaughan, a local government reform advocate in the Buffalo area,often meets strong resistance from residents of the communities he targets. [Read Full Article

Onondaga County Legislature proposes cutting its size by two members 

Syracuse Post-Standard - August 3, 2010 

In an attempt to become more efficient, the Onondaga County legislature is considering cutting two members. [Read Full Article]