Local governments should consider sharing services to help reduce costs and maintain services to residents, suggests a new report from the Empire Center for Public Policy. “Municipal Cooperation: Sharing Services in NY,” explores the different ways localities in New York can and do share services to save money.
A new state budget provision would provide property tax rebates to homeowners in localities where local governments reduce costs and maintain services through shared services.
The proposed $600 million new public health lab on the Harriman State Office Campus would be state-of-the-art, built on state land and house as many as 600 public employees.
Shared services, dissolution and mergers remain viable options for taxpayers and elected officials facing challenging fiscal environments and historically high taxes
E.J. McMahon, president of the Empire Center for New York State Policy in Albany, said that governors for at least 30 years have used state agencies to fund staff in the executive chamber as a way to conceal the true size of the governor's staff.
But having state authorities like NYSERDA, which is funded by utility fees, pay for the governor's staff, is taking that a step further.
"I think it's another degree of inappropriateness," McMahon said. "It's just another way of using an authority as a cash cow."
Some workers earned more than $43 per hour taking part in a post-disaster cleanup project during the summer of 2012, according to data gathered by an Albany-based think tank.
A total of 156 people in the Capital Region earned about $1.4 million during the 90-day campaign to clear debris left in and along waterways by floods in the late summer of 2011, according to the Empire Center for Public Policy Inc.
In his State of the State message last week, Gov. Cuomo once again cited the new Tappan Zee Bridge as a symbol of his ability to move forward on big, important infrastructure projects. But the governor hasn’t leveled with commuters and truckers on what they’ll be paying for this progress. Hint: a lot more than they do now.
The SEQR law last saw major revisions in the mid-1990s. The state DEC should take the Empire Center's recommendations to heart as it ponders making changes now. You can't be open for business - as Cuomo is so fond of saying - while still having such a burdensome SEQR law on the books.