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Poughkeepsie…Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro held the second annual Dutchess County Shared Services Summit last night at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel. Close to 80 local, county and state officials took part in a roundtable discussion to brainstorm potential shared services or consolidation opportunities to reduce the cost of government. The summit was an important opportunity for local leaders to come together to develop the necessary shared services and consolidations to qualify for the New York State Property Tax Freeze credit. The County Executive also announced the latest round of awards from Dutchess County’s Municipal Consolidation & Shared Services Grant Program. A total of 13 municipalities were awarded $993,912 to pursue consolidation and shared services projects.
“We are excited to host the 2nd Annual Shared Services Summit, after the feedback we received from last year’s participants. The summit allows state, county, and municipal officials to bring their collaborative ideas to the table to develop shared services and efficiencies across the County, while ultimately reducing the cost of government. This summit further advances our efforts to guarantee Dutchess County residents receive the Property Tax Credit in 2016,” said County Executive Molinaro.
The event was a roundtable facilitated by Dr. Mildred Warner, professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at Cornell University and renowned speaker on state-wide shared services initiatives. Dr. Warner provided an overview of her Shared Services in New York State: A Reform That Works, that surveyed New York towns, counties, villages and cities to assess their level of collaboration in the delivery of public services, including Public Safety, Public Works & Transportation, Recreation and Social Services, Administrative and Support Services, Economic Development and Planning, as well as the motivators and barriers to such service sharing. The survey was conducted by Cornell University, New York Conference of Mayors, New York State Association of Towns, and New York State Association of Counties. The survey fielded a 60 percent response rate of all municipalities surveyed. To see the results and learn more about the survey, visit:
The summit also highlighted the importance of shared services and consolidation savings as a key component to the Property Tax Freeze Credit that was enacted as part of the 2014-15 New York State Budget. In order for homeowners to receive Property Tax Freeze Credit, local municipalities, school districts and other districts must stay within the property tax cap and put forward compliant Government Efficiency Plans that save one percent of their tax levies through cooperation agreements, shared services, mergers, and efficiencies. In June, Dutchess County submitted a Government Efficiency Plan on behalf of all local municipalities that were eligible and chose to participate in the initiative.
"I am grateful to County Executive Molinaro for hosting another successful shared services summit. This collaborative conversation allows local leaders to identify the main causes of our current fiscal challenges and work on best practices that save taxpayers money while preserving essential services. Plans developed among our participants ensure that property taxpayers can expect rebate checks this fall in keeping with the current tax-freeze and tax-cap laws, and lay the foundations for future savings by reducing the overall cost of government," said Rob Rolison, Chairman of the Dutchess County Legislature.
County Executive Molinaro launched the Municipal Consolidation & Shared Services Grant Program in 2013, the first of its kind in New York State, with the primary goal of reducing the total cost of local government through increased efficiencies and the elimination of unnecessary or redundant services, resulting in smaller, smarter government. The program is designed to incentivize local municipal projects that dissolve a layer of government, consolidate services and functions, share services with other local government entities, cooperate in multi-town service delivery, and/or create efficiency improvements.
Projects awarded funding in the third round of Municipal Consolidation & Shared Services Grants announcements include:
City of Beacon Consolidation of Firehouses
Project Award: $200,000
Collaborating Municipalities: City of Beacon, Beacon Engine, Lewis Tompkins Hose, and Mase Hook and Ladder
Project Description: Implement consolidation by retaining an architect and engineer to prepare design and construction plans for a new fire station. The consolidation could result in a savings of more than $1 million over ten years and the sale of the closed stations could generate $1.38 million, increase property tax revenue, and promote economic development along Main Street.
Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training
Project Award: $246,340
Collaborating Municipalities: Cities of Poughkeepsie and Beacon, Dutchess County Jail, Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office, Towns of East Fishkill, Fishkill, Hyde Park, Pine Plains, Poughkeepsie, and Wappinger, and the Villages of Fishkill, Millbrook, Millerton, Red Hook, and Rhinebeck
Project Description: Twenty-five percent of county and local law enforcement officers, for each participating agency, will receive 40 hours of training on how to effectively respond to individuals experiencing crisis situations. The training will provide officers with the knowledge and tools necessary to help identify, intervene, de-escalate, and divert individuals from inpatient hospitalization and the criminal justice system to community organizations that can address their needs. Officers will work collaboratively with community mental health professionals to support the Dutchess County Justice & Transition Center initiative. Research suggests savings from diverted hospitalizations and reduced legal bookings.
Development of Fiscal Improvement Plan
Project Award: $40,000
Awarded Municipality: City of Poughkeepsie
Project Description: Pending the results of the State Financial Restructuring Board (FRB) report and commitment by the Common Council to address the recommendations of the FRB, the City will hire a consultant to develop a strategic fiscal improvement plan (including shared service recommendations). The plan will act as a framework for restoring fiscal stability and will include an investigation of shared service opportunities.
Municipal Shared Highway Equipment
Project Award: $70,000
Collaborating Municipalities: Towns of Clinton, Milan, Red Hook, and Rhinebeck
Project Description: Purchase a compact excavator to be shared among participating towns for ditch cleaning, culvert pipe replacement, and other applicable projects. The shared equipment will eliminate the need for individual towns to rent equipment annually and reduce costs by $29,000 annually.
Municipal Shared Highway Equipment
Project Award: $194,863
Collaborating Municipalities: Towns of Clinton, Milan and Rhinebeck
Project Description: Purchase a bucket truck to be shared among participating towns, which will be used for tree trimming, building and grounds maintenance, utility work, and changing out street lights. The shared equipment will eliminate the need for individual towns to rent equipment, resulting in a projected savings of $53,460 annually.
Conversion of Local Laws to Online Codification
Project Award: $16,459
Awarded Municipality: Town of Pine Plains
Project Description: The Town of Pine Plains will have all of their ordinances codified into an electronically accessible format. It also includes research and legal analysis to identify and eliminate conflicts, duplication and other problem areas in need of updating or correction; code revisions; and the creation of an index. A fully searchable online version of the Code will be accessible to the general public, including e-government services that enhance transparency by offering constituents access to meeting minutes, agendas, resolutions, budgets, and pending legislation. The electronic codification system can generate a savings of more than $200,000 over the useful life of the system in staff time savings.
Consolidation of Rhinebeck Highway and Maintenance Departments
Project Award: $45,000
Collaborating Municipalities: Town and Village of Rhinebeck
Project Description: Participating municipalities will retain a consultant to develop a plan to optimize the delivery of highway and maintenance services and identify ways to reduce costs. The project will identify ways to improve efficiency, identify shared equipment possibilities, and reduce overall administrative expenses, while reducing the taxpayer burden.
Implementation of Recommendations from Highway Shared Services Study
Project Award: $81,250
Collaborating Municipalities: Villages of Red Hook and Tivoli and the Town of Red Hook
Project Description: Develop and implement standardized procedures for administration, asset management, inventorying, and development of a shared purchasing program. Participating municipalities will save an anticipated $60,000 annually.
Tri-Municipal Waste Water Treatment Aeration System Upgrades
Project Award: $100,000
Collaborating Municipalities: Village of Wappingers Falls and Towns of Poughkeepsie and Wappinger
Project Description: Complete the replacement of the current aeration technology to a more energy-efficient, higher capacity, modern alternative. The new system will increase the plant’s waste water treatment capacity by up to 50%, which will permit future economic development in the vicinity. It is calculated that the cost of alternative measures to create this increase in capacity would be in excess of $1.2 million.
“The Municipal Consolidation & Shared Services Grant Program is a powerful innovative approach to bringing municipalities to the table to discuss their shared common goals with a carrot instead of a stick. Furthermore, this grant encouraged further conversation between the Village of Wappingers Falls and the Towns of Poughkeepsie and Wappinger, resulting in two additional grants for shared services in recreation and a microgrid efficiency project in other programs. The County’s leadership provided the method for our communities’ success in delivering efficiency and savings to our taxpayers,” said Village of Wappingers Falls Mayor Matt Alexander.
In addition to the Municipal Consolidation & Shared Services Grant Program, the County offers a wide variety of shared services opportunities to local municipalities, districts and non-profit organizations to maximize fiscal and operational efficiencies, improve agency resources and increase accountability. Services include website development, purchasing and contract administration, printing and copying, workers’ compensation and emergency management. Recent examples include partnerships between the Office of Central and Information Services (OCIS) and the Arlington Fire District and the Towns of Dover and LaGrange to streamline IT services and deliver information to residents faster and more effectively. More information about Dutchess County’s shared services opportunities can be found here:
To learn more about the Municipal Consolidation & Shared Services Grant Program, visit: