"It's not about a bigger government or a smaller government. It's always about a better government."
That quote, from Mike Hein, Ulster County executive and president of the New York State County Executives' Association, is the PAYGo NY message.
PAYGo NY is a statewide policy tour aimed at highlighting new and innovative solutions at the county, city, village, town and school district levels, as well as identifying additional innovations that are currently blocked by bureaucratic or regulatory hurdles.
Recently, Hein was joined by local government and community leaders from Erie, Niagara, Genesee and Chautauqua counties, including Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards, for a forum focused on developing solutions and sharing best practices. The forum follows ones in Putnam, Nassau and Monroe counties.
"I am pleased to see County Executive Hein take the initiative on such an important project," Ed-wards said. "By bringing together county and community leaders across the state, he has set the foundation for an engaging exchange of ideas. Through sharing the struggles we face and the savings we have accomplished as leaders, we can learn from each other and bring about improved services and reduced costs for taxpayers across New York state."
PAYGo NY aims to protect taxpayers and the services they rely on by using what Heim calls common sense and local strategies to address unfunded mandates and the rising cost of those services. Additionally, PAYGo NY works to evaluate the actions of government, as well as its assets and financial position, in order to develop new and innovative ways to ensure that essential services are protected.
"Local governments are facing fiscal challenges head-on, and PAYGo NY is working to bring together the best ideas and strategies from all regions of the state," said Hein. "We must seize this opportunity and capitalize on the vast experience of our local officials in order to both protect taxpayers and deliver high-quality services."
In addition to the forum, which was held at the Center of Excellence at the University at Buffalo, PAYGo NY has included a number of stops across the state, which will conclude with a final report to state and local leaders. The report will contain local solutions that have been successful and can be replicated statewide, as well as provide state legislative policy recommendations aimed at removing state barriers to local government innovation and reform.
More information regarding PAYGo NY can be found at www.paygony.com.