MAYVILLE - In an effort to streamline local government, several Chautauqua County legislators are pushing to create a commission on government effectiveness.
A resolution to form the commission will be discussed during an Administrative Services Committee meeting Monday in Mayville before it heads to the full-body legislature later this month.
The resolution is being sponsored by legislators Rod Rogers, I-Forestville, George Borrello, R-Irving, Tom Erlandson, D-Frewsburg, and Mark Tarbrake, R-Ellicott.
"It's clear that we need to do more than continue to talk year after year about the need for change," Rogers said of the commission. "As the saying goes, our dreams and desires are only dreams and desires until we take action."
Rogers said if the status-quo were to remain in local government, "the population will continue to decrease and our costs to live here will continue to increase."
The bipartisan push, he said, would establish a "Stan Lundine-style" commission for the county that would join efforts with local villages, towns, cities and other counties. Lundine is the chair of the state's Commission on Local Government Efficiency and Competitiveness.
In the county resolution prefile, legislators alluded to the county's comprehensive plan, Chautauqua 20/20, which calls for cost-effective services.
The comprehensive plan notes that the county should be "a model in New York state for counties, municipalities, and other government entities, educational institutions and non-profit agencies in providing cost-effective services and infrastructure through regionalization, the sharing of resources, collaboration, and elimination of duplication."
Erlandson pointed to the comprehensive plan as "justification for his support," according to a news release from Rogers.
Legislators also pointed to the county's population, which according to the 2010 U.S. Census, has declined by nearly 5,000 residents - a 3.5 percent decline over a decade ago. Lawmakers noted that the median income for county residents is "well below the national and New York state median income levels," according to the news release.
"As a local businessman and member of the legislature's Planning and Economic Development Committee, I understand firsthand the impact of property taxes on our local economy," Borrello said. "One of the most effective ways we can lower property taxes and help create a more supportive business climate is by streamlining government."
Minority Leader Lori Cornell, D-Jamestown, also applauded the bipartisan effort.
"The Chamber of Commerce has rightly identified local government structure as one of the most significant factors contributing to our local tax burden," Cornell said. "We have no time for partisanship on a matter this critical to our county's future."