Public Hearings, Vote Set for Shared Services Plan   

Monticello, NY – Sullivan County’s 2018 Shared Services Plan will be the subject of three public hearings and a vote next week.

Last month, following the mandate from Governor Andrew Cuomo, Sullivan County Manager Josh Potosek gave the Legislature a Shared Services Plan that could lead to new efficiencies and cost savings in County, town and village governments.

As part of the 2017-18 NYS Budget, Governor Cuomo required leaders of every county and their component municipalities to create a “Countywide Shared Services Property Tax Savings Plan” to identify additional efficiencies beyond that which Sullivan County and many of its colleagues have already implemented. The state has promised to match realized savings dollar for dollar.

The public is welcome to share their thoughts on the Plan at three hearings scheduled for Tuesday, September 12 at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. in the Legislative Committee Room on the second floor of the Government Center in Monticello. The Shared Services Panel will vote on the Plan on Thursday, September 14 at 6:30 p.m. in the same location. If adopted, the Plan will be filed with the state while the proposals therein will be explored further.

Available to read on the County Manager’s page at co.sullivan.ny.us, the Sullivan County Shared Services Plan proposes the following:

Sullivan County would perform park-related administrative oversight functions for the Town of Liberty through an intermunicipal agreement, as the Town’s Parks & Recreation Director position is currently vacant. The Town would reimburse the County $1,000/month ($12,000/year) for this service, while the Town Board would retain control. Estimated net savings: $80,314 per year.
Municipalities which currently do not participate in the Municipal Electric and Gas Alliance (MEGA) electricity procurement, and could therefore capture savings, include the Towns of Callicoon, Delaware, Fallsburg, Forestburgh, Fremont, Highland, Liberty, Lumberland, Neversink, Thompson and Tusten; and the Villages of Jeffersonville, Liberty, Monticello and Wurtsboro. This initiative would be most valuable to those municipalities with greater annual usage of electricity, particularly those with a robust network of infrastructure such as municipal water, sewer and large lighting districts (in the case of Fallsburg, this would also include the irrigation systems for two popular municipally owned golf courses). Estimated net savings: $21,000 per year.
Fallsburg is interested in increasing its police coverage; however, it has not been able to fund this without raising taxes. Sullivan County 911 would take over the 3 shifts a day of police dispatching through its 911 Center. This would empower Fallsburg to add up to five additional police officer positions. Estimated net savings: $487,000.    
The County is considering the effects of an aggregate agreement with CODE RED, a state-bid vendor offering an emergency notification system. If each municipality were to purchase such software on their own, it would cost them $69,759 apiece. With an aggregate purchase managed by the County, the same system would cost $15,924. Estimated net savings: $53,835.   
The Sullivan County Office of Sustainable Energy would provide consulting services – for initiatives related to sustainability and the Climate Smart Community programs – to the Town of Bethel free of charge. Estimated net savings: $3,000.
Sullivan County would contract with Laserfiche Enterprise Content Management to securely manage and share County/Town/Village documents, videos, photos and other content using state-of-the-art enterprise document management and cutting-edge business process management tools. Estimated net savings: $386,731. Separately, this initiative could save the Town of Lumberland $28,000 by not having to build a Town records storage facility.
Sharing various services between the Towns of Rockland, Neversink and Fallsburg could result in an estimated net savings of $108,450.
The Town of Rockland is willing to enter into five-year memoranda of agreement with the County for continued use of Town Hall space for Sheriff’s Office and Dept. of Motor Vehicles documents. The Town is also offering to plow the Livingston Manor Fire Department’s parking lot. Estimated net savings: $21,800. 

Total savings as recommended by the Shared Services Panel: $1,190,130.

“As these initiatives could impact taxes and services, taxpayers are encouraged to review and comment on the Plan so that legislators can take their thoughts into account when voting,” said County Manager Potosek.