Monday, June 29, 2009

If Local Governments Don't Favor Consolidation. . .

. . . There Must Be Something Good About The Government Reorganization Act

Mayors don't like it.

Fire Districts don't like it.

Water District Associations don't like it.

Even Library Districts don't like it.

[If only School Districts had been included in the bill, so they would have something not to like as well!]

Maybe, just maybe, this idea of local government consolidation, the first step toward efficiency and lower -- not capped, lower -- property taxes, is taking New Yorkers in the right direction.

We think so. What say you?

Comment on the blog, and write us with your opinions at
- - -
From Newsday:

LI mayors blast state consolidation law

Village mayors across Long Island blasted Albany Thursday for the new law aiming to help consolidate local governments.

"The most dysfunctional city on the planet is going to tell us how to streamline government?" Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley said of the bill signed into law Thursday by Gov. David A. Paterson. "What drives the tax bill on Long Island is the cost of education. That's what the state should be focusing on."

The law creates three avenues to streamline government, including a petition drive by residents to eliminate a special district or village.

Several mayors said the law could lead to costly studies and threaten the quality of life and local control that their residents have chosen.

Rockville Centre Mayor Mary Bossart said the state has "attacked the power of self-government that village residents now exercise." And Bayville Village Mayor Victoria Siegel called the law "the biggest mistake the state has ever made."

Siegel, who had urged Paterson to veto the bill, said the law violates the state constitution, which allows for the formation of villages. She said Bayville would join other villages in challenging the law in court.

Nassau and Suffolk officials yesterday praised final action on the bill but appeared cautious on its implementation.

Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi said he plans to appoint a committee from various government entities, including towns and school districts, to come up with a plan that "makes sense." His consolidation proposals had never mentioned villages or fire districts.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy said he is "still evaluating all the powers bequeathed to us" and awaiting a county attorney's opinion, but added the details are "very complex."

"People are drowning in taxes on this island and every method of making it more affordable has to be considered," he said.

With Susana Enriquez, Deborah Morris, Laura Rivera
Copyright © 2009, Newsday Inc.