Senate Passes Historic Government Consolidation Legislation Co-Sponsored by Senator Valesky

David J. Valesky

June 04, 2009

ALBANY, N.Y. – State Senator David J. Valesky (D- Oneida) announced that the New York State Senate passed the New York Government Reorganization And Citizen Empowerment Act (S5661) by 47-16 votes, legislation that will empower citizens to streamline their government, cut costs associated with government and lower property taxes through consolidation of governmental entities.

Over the last 75 years, New York State has seen exponential growth in its local governments, which includes which include towns, villages and other types of special districts. Today, there are 10,521 such entities; 1940, there were just 2,000.

These layers create many additional costs to taxpayers as well as forcing residents to pay additional fees for public services such as water, sewer, and lighting—services that can be more efficiently managed and delivered.

“Consolidation of outdated and inefficient layers of government has strong potential to reduce the stifling property tax burden New Yorkers face,” Senator Valesky, Vice President Pro-Tempore of the State Senate, said. “I am pleased to co-sponsor this legislation, which puts control of this decision-making process where it belongs, in the hands of community residents.”

Under the Senate’s legislation, 10 percent of voters (or 5,000, whichever is less) can request that consolidation be placed on the ballot for all voters to consider. No community is forced to take action they don’t feel is in their best interests.