Tuesday, August 01, 2017
Sullivan County, NY – Capping months of collaborative discussions, Sullivan County Manager Josh Potosek today gave the Legislature a Shared Services Plan that could lead to new efficiencies and cost savings in County, town and village governments.
“I’ve been working closely with various town and village leaders to develop a plan which meets the shared-services mandate given in the New York State Budget, and I’m gratified to present a document that has earned their support,” Potosek remarked. “Now it is legislators’ opportunity to review and discuss these proposed methods to reduce expenditures in key areas.”
“I appreciate Josh’s dedication to cooperation with the towns and villages, and I’m pleased to have played a role in this plan’s formation,” said Bethel Town Supervisor Daniel Sturm, president of the Sullivan County Association of Supervisors. “Like the County, our municipalities have worked diligently to stay under the state-mandated tax cap without negatively impacting the services we provide to citizens. While better economic times seem to be afoot, we are not ‘resting on our laurels’ but continue to seek better ways to handle taxpayers’ dollars.”
As part of the 2017-18 NYS Budget, Governor Andrew 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.
One of the recommendations is to switch Town of Fallsburg Police Department dispatching duties from the officers themselves (who are unable to engage in patrol while at the dispatch desk) to the Sullivan County E-911 Center staff. The resultant savings could add up to five more officers to town ranks.
“We are looking forward to exploring this and more shared services opportunities with the County,” said Fallsburg Town Supervisor Steven Vegliante. “Hopefully, by utilizing the County infrastructure, we can put more cops on the street and save hundreds of thousands of tax dollars in the process.”
Fallsburg, however, isn’t the only town to participate. Liberty, for example, may have the County handle its parks administration obligations for the time being, though the Town would remain in control of the Parks & Rec Department.
“The Town of Liberty and Sullivan County worked together to determine the best option going forward with our vacant Parks & Rec Director position,” stated Town of Liberty Interim Supervisor Russell Reeves. “This proposal demonstrates our resolve to offer taxpayers the best bang for their buck without eliminating any services.”
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.
Once the Legislature completes its review, the public will have a chance to weigh in at hearings scheduled for September 12 at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at the Government Center in Monticello. The Shared Services Panel will vote on the plan on September 14, and if adopted, it will be filed with the state the following day.
The draft plan can be found here: