Bills Aim to Provide Cost-Savings to Local Governments and Taxpayers
(Albany)- State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D/I/WF – 35th District), Ranking Minority Member of the Local Government Committee and Member of the Governor’s Mandate Relief Redesign Team, announced the introduction of five measures and passage of one bill to provide localities with mandate relief which will result in cost savings to taxpayers.
“Long before my appointment to the Mandate Relief Redesign Task Force, I’ve spearheaded key pieces of legislation that aim to provide localities with mandate relief and taxpayers with a more efficient, cost effective government,” said Senator Stewart-Cousins.
“It is important to provide localities with tools to operate more cost effectively and efficiently, but also to provide much-needed property tax relief to residents.”
The package of mandate relief/government efficiency bills authored by Senator Stewart-Cousins includes:
• S2012 – Allows non-profits that provide public services to make purchases through the use of county contracts. This will assist non-profits in reducing the cost of providing the services.
• S2013 – Provides for the Information Technology Procurement Savings Act; provides local governments and school districts greater contracting. This legislation will provide fiscal relief and increased operational flexibility for local governments and school districts and is strongly supported by the New York State Association of Counties.
• S2821-A – Authorizes contiguous county, city, town and village industrial development agencies (IDAs) to merge and to share services. The bill will assist IDAs in achieving economies of scale through mergers or service sharing without diminishing localized control and local self determination.
• S2845 – Dissolves, by statute, 118 public authorities and agencies throughout New York State that are no longer in existence. Senator Stewart-Cousins determined that the authorities and agencies were inactive by contacting the local governments that were originally authorized to establish them.
• S4314 – Authorizes any municipality in New York State to make purchases through other municipalities’ contracts. Current law only allows local governments to make purchases from County contracts. The bill will allow a local government the option to purchase from a contract awarded by competitive bidding by any other local government.
• S.2373 – Allows County Clerks throughout New York State to accept conveyances of real property transactions electronically (e-recording). This measure passed the Senate unanimously on March 22nd.
“We must allow our local governments to be cost effective. My E-recording measure, Senate bill 2373, allows County Clerks throughout New York State to provide more services with fewer resources, improve efficiency, and enhance services. The technological advances of today gives us the ability to provide higher speed and productivity that we have come to expect, and the cost-savings are an added benefit” stated Senator Stewart-Cousins. “I am pleased with the passage of this important measure and grateful that my colleagues in the Senate supported my bill.”
Westchester County Clerk, Tim Idoni commented, “E-recording (S2373) creates huge savings statewide, while bringing the handling of real estate transactions into the 21st Century.”
Furthermore, in 2009, Senator Stewart-Cousins gained passage of the Local Government Consolidation bill (Chapter 645 of 2009), to make it easier for local governments to merge and streamline services.
Senator Stewart-Cousins continued, “These additional mandate relief initiatives will give local governments more options to further effectuate cost savings by allowing them to increase their buying power. This goal is reached by joining together to make purchases between governmental entities and with not-for profit agencies. Reducing administrative costs by eliminating defunct authorities and by merging and sharing between agencies located in counties, towns, cities and villages will save taxpayer dollars.”
“I look forward to continuing to work with Senators, the Governor, and members of the Assembly to gain passage of these additional critical mandate relief measures,” concluded Senator Stewart-Cousins.
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