Ranzenhofer votes YES to save taxpayer dollars; Legislation that allows local government consolidation/dissolution passes Senate

 

Albany, N.Y. – State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer voted today for legislation that would allow citizens and government bodies to initiate the process of consolidating or dissolving local governments more easily, a measure that would save taxpayer dollars.  

“New York State’s 10,521 government entities have led to Western New Yorkers paying among the highest property taxes in the nation.  Citizens across Western New York deserve the opportunity to consolidate or dissolve local governments if they chose to in an effort to reduce the size of government, decrease costs, and ultimately pass much needed property-tax relief along to homeowners,” said Senator Ranzenhofer. 

The New New York Government Reorganization and Citizen Empowerment Act (S5661) allows local government bodies and citizens to initiate local government consolidation or dissolution.  Under the recently passed legislation, government bodies may develop a plan for consolidation/dissolution and after approval, the legislation must be approved by a referendum among the voters in towns and villages.  Additionally, citizens may propose consolidation/dissolution efforts by filing petitions that have been signed by ten percent of registered voters.

“I have faith in citizens to give them the ability to accept or reject consolidation and efficiency measures as they see fit,” said Senator Ranzenhofer.

Senator Ranzenhofer supported an amendment on the Senate floor to prevent any negative effects of the legislation on local fire departments.  Senate Democrats defeated the amendment.

“I am concerned this legislation could have a negative effects on fire departments that already save taxpayer dollars for local governments through the brave men and women who serve our communities.  Our volunteer firefighters are an integral part of our community that we cannot afford to consolidate or dissolve,” said Senator Ranzenhofer.

Additionally, Senator Ranzenhofer expressed his continued commitment to reforming State government.

“This Citizen Empowerment Act represents only a first step in the movement to change the way Albany does business.  For once this legislation does not dictate to local government entities, instead it empowers citizens to have their voices heard.  However, there is still much more work to be done.  Albany must cut spending across the board, end unfunded State mandates that increase costs on existing local governments and create a more open, transparent State government because New Yorkers deserve better,” he added.

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