NORWICH – For the second consecutive year, the New York State Department of State is soliciting applications for New York’s Local Government Efficiency Grant Program, a state-funded initiative designed to encourage local governments to find innovative ways of reducing costs through consolidation and reorganization.
As a result, City of Norwich Mayor Joseph Maiurano has expressed interest in spearheading talks among local officials to revisit the sparsely debated topic of consolidation in the region. “We’re operating in a different world now than we used to and I think it’s time we adjust,” he said. “Boundaries have become obstacles instead of fences of security, and I think there’s a lot of people who would like to see some dialogue about it.”
In December, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced $4 million earmarked for the program. The goal, according to a press statement released by the Governor’s Office, is part of Cuomo’s objective to reduce property taxes and the size of government. “In this economy, government on all levels must continue to find new ways to maximize the use of every tax dollar and reduce costs,” the governor stated. The program provides the means to “push municipalities to do so, whether it is through reorganizing or consolidating” to lessen that tax burden on property owners, he added.