What Have We Done to Create Efficiencies?
Over the years, numerous discussions have taken place – both formally and informally – about streamlining government inside the Town of Ossining, given that we have two villages with separate governments, an umbrella-like Town government, and many services from all entities that offer at least the perception of redundancy or, to be kind, 'overlap.' This is not to mention the school districts, fire departments, libraries, and related entities, none of which are the subject of this effort.
It's not necessary to recount all of the discussions of the past. The fact is that 'talk' about streamlining services has actually translated into action in the Town of Ossining. The Town's police department has been dissolved, and a single Town Court is now in existence. Multiple studies and grant submissions have been exercised over the years. Clearly, our history is one of focus on making ourselves more efficient.
Today's focus is on the fact that the Town of Ossining, joined by the Village of Ossining, applied to the Department of State last August for grant funding under the Municipal Restructuring Fund (MRF) program to help us address possible efficiencies in our operating budgets to save taxpayer money by streamlining services through a number of different strategies. Those efforts identified in the grant application primarily concerned consolidation of Highway Department services, but also included consolidation of Parks services.
We want to be very clear here: while our application was made with the knowledge and participation of the Village - because some of the future concepts would include a partnership with the Village - this first phase of Project Forward! only concerns Town of Ossining services, and not those of any other entity, including the villages within the town.
In early 2018 we were notified that we had been approved for the first phase of our work through an award of $22,445. We then set out to secure the services of a consultant who could help us through the community engagement process. In late May, the Town Board awarded a $12,500 contract to M. Conte Consulting to assist the Town with these outreach efforts, and what you are now reading is the first step in the effort to open the dialogue with Town of Ossining residents.