Local Leaders Discuss Consolidation and Shared Services at County Forum
Representatives from 8 of Cortland County’s 19 municipalities sat down with county leaders last night to talk about the impact the county emergency communications project will have on sales tax receipts next year, in addition they discussed possible areas of consolidation.
Officials from Cortland, Cuyler, Town and Village of Homer, Marathon, Scott, and Taylor sat down with county leaders last night.
County Administrator Martin Murphy spelled out the impact the $16 million dollar radio project will have on the sales tax payments that each community will receive. The county must make an over 1 million dollar payment next year on the new system which is currently under construction. The county will up front the payment for the first half of the year, the City, Towns, and Villages will contribute their share of the project starting next July.
In 2013 The County will pay $600 thousand dollars toward the radio system, the City will pay $200 thousand, and the Towns and Villages will pay $340 thousand. Those shares reflect the 4 million dollar grant the County received for the project.
A large portion of the meeting was devoted to talking about possible shared services or consolidation. During discussions City Mayor Brian Tobin expressed concerns about the burdens placed on the City by having a paid fire service, Tobin also pointed out that the City is double taxed for police protection paying for both the City police force and the County Sheriff’s Department.
Taylor Town Supervisor Steve Breneman expressed distrust of the County and said the towns in his area already work together. Breneman wishes the County would do more to take care of its roads in the outlying areas.
Homer Town Supervisor Fred Forbes pointed to the local justice courts as a prime area for consolidation, many Towns are having trouble finding Judges and face low revenues and large expenses to maintain the courts.
Forbes also suggested privatizing highway maintenance including plowing turning it over to companies like Suite Kote or Economy paving to save money
County Legislative Chair Mike Park says the meeting is a staring point to try to bring local leaders together to talk about ways to save money, he plans to host a meeting in January to look at possible consolidating the justice courts.