Weekly Feature

2017-02-15 / Front Page

Cuomo initiative promotes service-sharing by local governments

by Keaton T. DePriest

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday detailed a plan - which would ultimately result in providing tax relief for property owners - to initiate intermunicipal service sharing between local governments across the state.

The governor, in a presentation at the Williamsville Meeting House, is advising county executives throughout the state to convene with local governments to find ways to share services, find efficiencies and decrease costs.

In the proposal, towns and villages would provide plans to their respective county executives while county legislators also submit their input on possible ways to share services. Cuomo said each county executive would develop the plans and allow residents to vote onthe measures via a referendum on this November's election ballots.

"We need to eliminate duplication and find efficiencies," Cuomo said. "There is no excuse for not trying. It's all done by concensus; no town is forced to do anything."

The governor said that in Erie County if one percent of the budget is saved from the proposal it will equal about $7 million in savings. 

He also detailed a caveat should counties and local governments find ways to reduce costs through the proposals.

"Whatever they say, I will match from the state," he said. "I will provide additional revenue dollar-for-dollar."

Additionally during his presentation, Cuomo implored state legislators to re-instate a millionaire's tax of 8.82 percent that was enacted in 2009 and expires at the end of this year.

The tax, which effects 306 millionaires in the state, is a surcharge that prior to 2009 was at 6.85 percent. Residents who have incomes of $2 million or more are included in the millionaire tax.

If the tax is not continued at the current percentage, the governor said it will amount to a $3.5 billion loss in state funding, one-third of which Cuomo has earmarked for education. 

A full report from Cuomo's presentation will appear in the Feb. 22 edition of The Amherst Bee. 

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