NYS Municipal Consolidation Efforts: A Brief History
New York State's Local Government Efficiency Grant Program was established in 2005 to encourage the study and implementation of consolidation, cooperative agreements, and shared services throughout New York State. The program had provided 435 grants as of September 2014, ranging in size from $862 to $5,000,000 depending on the scope of the projects. See all the awards here.
As economic fortunes changed and local tax burdens became a significant area of focus, municipal consolidation or sharing of services became a substantial theme of Governor Cuomo’s time in office since he was first elected in 2011. His 2014 announcement of a two-year freeze on property taxes came with several stipulations, one of which was municipalities agreeing to make strides towards municipal consolidation or implementing shared services efforts. In 2016, he announced a Municipal Consolidation and Efficiency Competition that encouraged local governments to perform feasibility studies on consolidation efforts that would save taxpayers money, and within the last couple of months, New York State awarded the Town of Brookhaven $20 million to implement their multifaceted plan that is expected to save taxpayers in Suffolk County $120 million over the next ten years.
Our focus in the Town of Ossining has been on the state's municipal restructuring fund, which provides local governments assistance in creating permanent property tax reductions through municipal restructuring. Awards are based on projected savings, and local governments are eligible to receive an award of 20% of the net present value calculation. The MRF tracks projects through four phases: Charter, Development, Small Scale Implementation, and Full Scale Implementation.
It should be noted that of the 16 projects green-lit by the State in Westchester by 2014, THREE of the projects were in Ossining. This new entry - Project Forward! – is the FOURTH project approved within our Town.