A pitch for savings
County presents consolidation application to state
ALBANY — Chautauqua County officials recently traveled to Albany to provide New York state officials with a presentation on the county’s submitted application for the final phase of the Municipal Consolidation and Efficiency Competition (MCEC).
The MCEC is part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s mission to reduce the heavy property tax burden in New York state by cutting costs, sharing services and increasing efficiencies.
In February, Chautauqua County was one of six finalists across the state to be awarded $50,000 to further develop its plan for the final phase of the competition. Its final plan was submitted to the state at the end of June and the winner of this final phase will receive a $20 million grant award for its innovative plan for consolidation, dissolution, service sharing and other cost-saving measures.
Presenting the county’s final plan were Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan, Chautauqua County Regional Solutions Commission Chairman and County Legislator George Borrello, R-Irving, and Executive Assistant Daniel Heitzenrater.
The presentation was to a six-member review panel made up of officials from the Governor’s cabinet and county officials discussed the proposed projects in its submitted application, showed a video on the importance of these projects to the area, and answered questions about the application.
“I am so proud of how our county has come together and been a leader in creating more efficient government,” said Borrello. “This MCEC grant opportunity will allow us to take a quantum leap forward in reducing the burden of government for the taxpayers of Chautauqua County.”
Chautauqua County partnered with 23 local governments for its final grant application and it included the following consolidation and efficiency projects:
¯ The dissolution of the village of Cherry Creek into the town of Cherry Creek;
¯ Dewittville, Hartfield, Mayville and Maple Springs fire companies exploring closer coordination;
¯ County Fire Services study and coordinated efficiencies;
¯ Portland and Brocton fire companies merger;
¯ The city of Dunkirk and village of Fredonia sharing one facility for their police forces and courts;
¯ The city of Dunkirk and village of Fredonia implementing wastewater treatment efficiencies;
¯ The town of Gerry and town of Charlotte consolidating into one town and then the village of Sinclairville dissolving into the single town. They would then have a unified highway and administrative building on the Cassadaga Valley Central School grounds;
¯ The town of Hanover and village of Silver Creek sharing one facility for their municipal offices and courts;
¯ Continued discussions with the Sheriff’s Office and Jamestown Police Department project;
¯ The village of Lakewood, town of Busti and town of Ellicott exploring one unified police force;
¯ The village of Lakewood and town of Busti establishing a shared municipal and court facility; and
¯ Regional Solutions Commission to further explore, develop and implement additional projects.
“I thank Regional Solutions Commission Chairman George Borrello, commission members, participating municipalities and Executive Assistant Dan Heitzenrater for all of their hard work in putting together our final grant application,” said Horrigan. “The county’s grant application was extremely well received and we are very excited about the possibility to win this competition.”
The winner of the $20 million grant award is expected to be announced in the fall.