Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy, County Comptroller Mike Conners and 29 local government leaders today announced that that county has completed the Countywide Government Efficiency Plan. The plan, as submitted to the state in accordance with the Property Tax Freeze Credit Law, was prepared by the Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach at SUNY New Paltz under the leadership of Dr. Gerald Benjamin.
The report details how since 2012 Albany County and local governments have implemented efficiencies, mergers and shared service agreements that will realize $15.8 million in annual savings in fiscal years 2017-19.
County Executive McCoy noted that the county’s target for savings was $899,473 and that the savings the county is reporting is more than $6 million, over $5 million more than what Albany County on its own was required to achieve by law. The recent management changes at the Albany County Nursing Home account for approximately half of the savings.
“This report highlights how we’ve successfully come together to make government more innovative and more efficient,” said McCoy. “I want to commend Mike Conners, Dr. Benjamin and all our government partners for working on this report.
“The Albany County Department of Audit and Control appreciates the efforts of local Mayors, Supervisors, Library Directors and Fire Chiefs,” said Comptroller Conners. “This collaborative effort will generate approximately $2.5 million in property tax rebates for homeowners within Albany County and we look forward to continuing to work together to reduce the burden of property taxes.”
“The inter-local collaboration in Albany County that produced this study, the results of the many substantive collaborations it documents, and the beneficial consequences for taxpayers, are truly extraordinary, said Dr. Gerald Benjamin, Director of the Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach at SUNY New Paltz. In my 45 years of working on local government issues in New York State, Albany County’s local government leaders’ dedication to implementing shared services and other efficiencies to control local property taxes is unmatched. We are looking forward to the results of the shared workforce database project we are currently developing with the County and its municipalities for its potential to reduce costs by millions of dollars annually while preserving current levels of service.”
Bethlehem Town Supervisor John Clarkson said: “As documented in this report, Bethlehem is saving about $2 million annually through a series of shared services, consolidations and efficiency actions – nearly 17% of our property tax levy. But that’s only a start, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to work with other area local governments to identify more cost savings. We’re also hopeful that state government will support these efforts and help fund transformational changes to help all local governments in the region achieve even greater savings.”
Altamont Mayor Jim Gaughan said: “Every day, year after year, our Village employees and I work to deliver services in the most efficient manner possible to keep property taxes down, especially by sharing services and employees with other local governments. We can do an even better job with increased financial and technical assistance from the State, and especially with much-needed mandate relief. For example, the State now requires an expensive engineering assessment of all municipally owned reservoirs which used to be completed by State staff in the Department of Environmental Conservation.”
The County Executive further noted that Albany County has been proactive in sharing services, personnel and working to facilitate mergers where possible. The report also highlights plans for future efficiencies that will save taxpayers a minimum of $2.8 million, including:
- Consolidated dispatch operations in the city of Albany, the county and the towns of Bethlehem and Colonie;
- Joint Enterprise Resource Planning Systems that would integrate all facets of business processes across all departments and functions in local governments and allow local government to identify best practices across municipalities and possible shared personnel opportunities;
- Further exploration of expanded use of joint purchasing of equipment, materials, services and supplies through the use of existing county, state or municipal contracts.
The report may be accessed at the following link: www.albanycounty.com/comptroller