The New York Department of State and the Towns of Rosendale and Marbletown today announced the dedication of the Rondout Valley Municipal Center in Ulster County, which will be the first shared Town Hall in New York State, as part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s initiative to make local governments in New York State more efficient by inspiring them to merge critical services and pass on cost-savings to taxpayers. This consolidation will allow the Towns of Rosendale and Marbletown to operate their governments from a single location. Previously, the Governor signed a bill allowing Marbletown to operate outside its Town boundaries, which by general rule is not allowed, to facilitate this merger.
“The Rondout Valley Municipal Center is a terrific example of local governments using innovative thinking to consolidate redundant services, maximize efficiencies and reduce costs, all for the benefit of their taxpayers,” said New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado. “I urge municipalities throughout the State to follow the leads of the Towns of Rosendale and Marbletown and seek ways to make government work better for them and make their communities more prosperous.”
The Roundout Valley Municipal Center, formerly the Rosendale Elementary School, which closed in 2012, will also house three not-for-profit organizations – The ARC of Ulster Greene, Rondout Valley Growers & Food Insecurity Collaborative. The project was awarded a $258,930 DOS Local Government Efficiency Grant from the New York Department of State, which went towards the construction and refurbishment of the now shared facility.
In 2013 the Town of Rosendale accepted the offer from the Rondout Valley Center School District to take over the school to provide municipal office space to the Town with a contract to purchase it for $1.00. Earlier this year, Senators George Amedore and John J. Bonacic and Assemblyman Kevin Cahill helped pass legislation authorizing the Town of Marbletown to establish and maintain an office or offices in the Town of Rosendale for the conduct of its business (S.1530/A.2297), and Governor Cuomo signed the bill into law, allowing Marbletown to operate outside its boundaries and in the Center.
The Towns of Rosendale & Marbletown are saving their taxpayers millions of dollars in avoided costs by not having to build new town halls, as both Towns had inadequate space, while neither were in compliance with the Americans Disability Act Compliance. The two neighboring towns now share a justice court, an assessor, a dog warden and a phone system in a 45,000 square foot space that is energy efficient and handicapped accessible. This municipal consolidation effort by the two towns involved will lead to reduced costs and as a result. Rosendale’s budget will come in under the property tax cap while Marbletown will save approximately $4 million in capital expenses by avoiding the construction of a new, ADA-compliant Town Hall.
“The cooperation between Marbletown and Rosendale in their new municipal facility serves as a model of how local governments can operate more efficiently and achieve cost savings, and I hope more communities follow their lead,” said Senator George Amedore. “I want to congratulate both municipalities on their vision, and determination. This project was a long time in the making, but the end result benefits the school district, both municipalities, and most importantly, it benefits the taxpayers. It’s a great example of shared services, and I wish both communities much success in their new facility.”
“I’m proud to have co-sponsored legislation to allow the Towns of Rosendale and Marbletown to share the same Municipal Building,” said State senator John Bonacic. ”The merger will save the taxpayers of both municipality’s money, while also streamlining services and making local governments more efficient.”
“The Rondout Valley Municipal Center initiative is empowering these civic administrations to more effectively meet the needs of the people in their community,” said Assemblymember Cahill. “This consolidation is already helping both town governments to lower the tax burden on citizens and further enhancing public access to shared services. I am pleased to see this idea come to fruition and to have worked closely with Senator Amedore every step of the way.”
“After three years of hard work the Town of Rosendale is happy to be able to share the Rondout Municipal Center with the Town of Marbletown,” said Town of Rosendale Supervisor Jeanne Walsh. “The Rondout Municipal Center is a model example of shared services. We have partnered with the Rondout Valley Central School District to take over the former Rosendale Elementary School. This partnership between the Towns will save taxpayers from both communities and the School district for many years.”
“The concept of shared services is not just a “concept”, but a ‘reality,’” said Town of Marbletown Supervisor Michael E. Warren. “The Town of Marbletown has, through this partnership, been able to expand services, enhance the recreation department and at the same time reduce taxes. Marbletown residents will be able to look to the future and know they have a state of the Art Community Town Hall, which meets all requirements and can accommodate the municipal needs for generations. We want to thank the Rondout Board of Education, Town of Rosendale, Department of State, our elected representatives and the residents, board members of Marbletown who supported this important initiative and made this a reality.”
“After the closing of the former Rosendale Elementary School, I understood the hurt and challenge faced by the local community,” said Rondout Valley Central School District Chair David O’Halloran. “I worked diligently with the Town Supervisors to open a shared central government center would spur efficiency and help revitalize the area.”
The Dyson Foundation awarded the Towns $15,000 towards planning and design activities related to the Towns adaptive re-use of the existing school. New York Rising has given the Town of Rosendale a grant to provide generator service to the Rondout Municipal Center, which will allow the facility to serve as an emergency shelter.