New State Law Aims To Streamline Local Government And Reduce Property Taxes

I received the following press release from the Governor's office recently and am posting it here for the information of the public. I would like to see the Village of Monticello and Town of Thompson find more ways than we presently have in place to consolidate and 'streamline local government', reducing the burden on taxpayers.

June 25, 2009


Law Will Affect More Than 10,500 Local Government Entities and Reduce the Nation’s Highest Local Property Tax Rates

Governor David A. Paterson today announced that he signed the New York Government Reorganization and Citizen Empowerment Act, which will streamline New York’s local governments, reduce waste, lower the cost of doing business and reduce property taxes for the people of New York.

“This bill is a major step forward in our efforts to cut waste, lower the cost of doing business, and reduce our property taxes,” said Governor Paterson. “Our system of local government is outdated and overly complicated, and today we are making it easier to consolidate or dissolve local government entities. This legislation represents real reform, and will result in bottom-line savings for taxpayers. I want to thank Attorney General Cuomo for his leadership and partnership on this issue and Speaker Silver and my colleagues in the Legislature for their bipartisan support to pass this critical legislation.”

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said: “With this new law, taxpayers are now empowered to cut the nation’s highest local tax burden by reigning in the bloated and antiquated system that has left the State with layer upon layer of government entities. After 75 years of commissions and studies calling for reform, today is the day we are delivering real results by working together in bipartisan cooperation. I applaud the Governor for his quick action on this important legislation.”

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said: “New York’s system of local government, which includes more than 10,000 local entities, can be expensive, at times confusing, inefficient and susceptible to waste, fraud and abuse. The Assembly, working with the Attorney General and joined by Governor Paterson, is proud to have made this important step toward reducing the many unnecessary and outdated layers of bureaucracy through consolidation and dissolution.”

Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb said: “Governor Paterson’s signing this bill into law means New York is another step closer to reducing the considerable cost of government on local taxpayers. Now, we need to focus on capping state spending, enacting a real property tax cap and the other recommendations called for by the Suozzi Commission, including a property tax circuit breaker and unfunded mandate relief. This type of holistic approach is necessary to make New York State a more affordable place to live, work and do business.”

Assemblyman Sam Hoyt said: “New York taxpayers are demanding relief because we have too many costly layers of government. Consolidating out redundancies will provide that relief. Giving citizens the option to start these efforts on their own will provide local residents with a greater voice. I was proud to lead the floor debate on this bill and its signature into law is a great step forward for a more efficient and competitive New York.”

This bill will establish a single, comprehensive procedure to consolidate or dissolve several kinds of local government entities, which until now have been governed by disparate provisions of law, in order to make it easier for such governments to consolidate or dissolve. The consolidation and dissolution procedure set forth in the bill will apply to towns, villages and districts, including special districts and improvement districts.

The procedure provides for two alternative mechanisms to either consolidate or dissolve local government entities. Consolidation or dissolution may be initiated by the government entities themselves or, voters of the local government entities can submit a petition with the requisite number of signatures, which would then be the basis of further governmental action to achieve consolidation or dissolution. The consolidation or dissolution process includes the development of a plan and public hearings to maximize civic participation, as well as a referendum on the question of consolidation or dissolution in certain cases.

“This legislation is a serious step forward for the people of New York, but more needs to be done. Now, we need to turn our efforts to cap State government spending and local property taxes, reform our pension system and provide other mandate relief,” added the Governor. “I am proud of what we accomplished with this meaningful legislation and pledge to keep on fighting for the people of this State.”