New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado and the New York Department of State hosted over 120 local government officials from across New York State at the 2nd Annual Local Government Innovation Conference held last Friday in Albany that explored new opportunities to restructure the way municipalities deliver services while saving taxpayer dollars.
“I’d like to thank all the local government officials from around New York State who were in attendance for making this conference a resounding success,” said Secretary Rosado. “Bringing such innovative leaders together and furthering this dialogue will move us closer to our shared goal of making government more efficient and bringing cost-savings to taxpayers throughout the Empire State.”
Highlights of the conference included:
- A very well-received keynote address by Chad Goerner, the last Mayor of Princeton Township in New Jersey, who spearheaded the successful merger of the Township and Princeton Borough, an initiative that that had been attempted over half a dozen times since 1953.
- Breakout sessions focusing on public safety, public engagement, infrastructure, open data, highway services, as well as technology and economic development projects.
- Displays touting training opportunities for Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise, the New York State Office for New Americans and the New York State Office of the State Comptroller.
- A presentation on Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s recently announced Municipal Consolidation and Efficiency Competition, which invites local government consortiums to design comprehensive, innovative plans to reduce bureaucracy, improve government efficiency and deliver taxpayer savings. These proposals will be measured against each other, seeking the most creative and innovative ways to stimulate the local economy and streamline municipal services and operations, culminating in a $20 million award. The competition builds upon the Governor’s commitment to lower property taxes for the residents of New York State.
- The presentation by Secretary Rosado of the 2016 Local Government Innovation Awards to municipalities to recognize local efforts that have increased shared services and consolidation of local government functions:
The Extraordinary Municipal Partnership Award, recognizing local governments that have implemented an efficiency effort with unique creativity and have shaped fundamental and unprecedented changes to the structure, location and delivery of local government services, was awarded to the Town of Rosendale and the Town of Marbletown for their shared municipal facility, establishing New York’s first shared Town Hall. The two neighboring towns now share multiple services in the 45,000 square foot facility.
The Local Government Efficiency Program Collaboration Award, given to a local government or local service provider that has been most involved with the Department of State in developing local government efficiency projects, was awarded to the Erie County Water Authority (ECWA). ECWA has been a lead or co-applicant in 22 applications and has been the recipient of eight awards from the Department and has been active with local governments within the county to transfer water utility services to this regional organization. The projects are permitting partner local governments to avoid long term maintenance costs and better leverage water as a regional asset. Partner local governments include the Village of Williamsville, the Village of Hamburg, Town of Eden and Town of Evans.
The Comprehensive Service Consolidation Award, presented to a local government and partners that have implemented a large-scale consolidation of a local government municipal service, was awarded to Schenectady County for consolidating five public safety answering points (PSAPs) in the County into one operation. The consolidated PSAPs – now one 911 call center - were operated by the County, the City of Schenectady, and the Towns of Rotterdam, Glenville and Niskayuna. The award is determined by assessing the totality of the consolidation and the impact of the service modifications on the partners and residents.
The Municipal Consolidation Implementation Partnership Award, presented to a local government or a group of local governments that have worked most effectively to implement a municipal consolidation or dissolution, was given to the Town of Chesterfield and the Town of AuSable for the dissolution of the Village of Keeseville, which was completed on December 31, 2014. The village previously existed in two towns in two separate counties, the Town of AuSable in Clinton County, and the Town of Chesterfield in Essex County.
“Often applying for grant assistance can be the easy part, and without committed leadership projects can often fail,” said Rosado continued. “I am so pleased that we are able to recognize the hard work that our local government officials have undertaken to move these projects forward.”
As part of the suite of financial and technical services offered to local governments by the Department of State, the Local Government Efficiency (LGE) program provides grants to plan for and implement cooperative services and municipal reorganizations. Projects supported under the LGE program have involved public safety, water and wastewater infrastructure, highway, education and other general government services.
More information on the New York State Division of Local Government Services can be found here.