NORWICH – An executive order released by the governor’s office late last month appointing a commission to study local government efficiencies has prompted a handful of local officials to express their outrage.
The order is intended to relieve the tax burden for all New Yorkers and suggests consolidating taxing jurisdictions. In the April 23 letter distributed to governmental officials throughout the state, Governor Spitzer said he aims “to reduce the number of taxing jurisdictions while reducing the cost and improving the quality of the many vital services that local governments provide.”
The order also requests a response from town supervisors, asking them to submit examples of recent shared services or mergers. A newly appointed Commission on Local Government Efficiency & Competitiveness will review the submitted initiatives, select those deemed most substantial and help implement them where they could also be affective.
“Consolidation is great. We are all for that. But as I read this letter, I became angrier and angrier,” said Supervisor Dennis Brown, D-Pharsalia. “Fifty percent of the tax rate in Chenango County is for Medicaid and school taxes. The rest is cheap, and comes with a good deal less than the 2 percent increases paid out in salaries to government employees each year.”