No Recommendations For County Consolidations In State’s Report On Local Government Efficiencies

By: Melissa deCordova

NORWICH – There wasn’t any specific mention of Chenango County’s efforts at consolidating government processes or streamlining services in a state report released this week, but it wasn’t because nobody tried.

A two-page description of collaborative joint fuel purchasing strategies and plans to create a county-wide highway services department made its way to the Commission on Local Government Efficiency and Competitiveness. Deputy Director Lori Hethoff said she received the report from the Chenango County Board of Supervisors in June 2007, but no one in county government remembers sending it.

The submission describes the efforts of a community cooperation group that met a three or four times at the Eaton Center begining in late 1996. No action resulted from the multiple converstations between government and business leaders in the county.

The Board of Supervisors adamantly opposed former Governor Eliot Spitzer’s initial request last March for collaborative strategies that could streamline government, and perhaps cut taxpayer costs. And though it did agree to apply for a grant to study the assessment function at the municipal level, the county board did so only reluctantly earlier this month.

A handful of county officials said they recalled attending meetings about community cooperation in 2006 ad 2007, but no one said they submitted the report to the Commission. Commerce Chenango President Maureen Carpenter said it could have originated from the Chamber prior to her tenure there. Several officials representing the city and town of Norwich, North Norwich, the county, DCMO-BOCES and the Chamber of Commerce said they did not submit the report.

Deb Bestwich, from BOCES’ purchasing department, said she attended two meetings at the Eaton Center beginning in late 2006 as an invited guest of the community cooperation group. The meetings addressed how fire companies could participate in joint fuel, tire, gear and office supply purchasing.

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