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County Awards Nearly $900,000 in Municipal Consolidation & Shared Services Grants

Published: 10/18/2013

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Colleen Pillus

Poughkeepsie, NY… Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro announced the first round of funding awards from the Dutchess County Municipal Consolidation and Shared Services Grant program today during a special roundtable discussion event held at Hyde Park Town Hall. Five projects, representing collaborations among seventeen municipalities, were awarded nearly $900,000 for shared service and new efficiency initiatives.

County Executive Molinaro launched the Municipal Consolidation and Shared Services Grant program as part of the 2013 county budget 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. A total of $2 million in grant funding was approved by the Dutchess County Legislature and was made available for projects designed to consolidate services and functions, share services with other local government entities, and/or cooperate in multi-town service delivery.

County Executive Molinaro said, “This program is unique in the State of New York and demonstrates our commitment to finding collaborative ways to enhance efficiency, cut costs and reduce the total cost of government for the taxpayers. We are very pleased with the number of municipalities who have embraced this concept and put together collaborative projects that provide savings and/or improve how they operate to better serve our residents.”

Collaborative projects awarded funding in this first round include:

Cloud Based Building, Permitting, Code Enforcement, Planning, Zoning Collaboration Software

Project Award: up to $257,205

Collaborating municipalities: Towns of Beekman, Hyde Park, Milan, Pleasant Valley, Red Hook, Rhinebeck, Union Vale; Villages of Red Hook, Rhinebeck, Tivoli, and Wappingers Falls; and City of Beacon

Project Description: This project will implement a web-based (cloud) permitting and enforcement system. The web-based system allows for building inspectors, code enforcement officers, and plan reviewers to provide and share information in real time. The public will have the capability to submit online permit applications, track the status of existing applications, and receive emails and/or text messages when an inspection has occurred or permit has been approved.

Town of Hyde Park Supervisor Aileen Rohr said, “The Town of Hyde Park is excited about County Executive Molinaro’s support of this significant collaborative effort among 12 municipalities. The technical component of this project enables the public to have improved and accelerated access to pertinent documents, while allowing for increased cross-communication between town departments.”

Automated Salt Spreader Project

Project Award: $357,000

Collaborating municipalities: Towns of Poughkeepsie and Hyde Park

Project Description: Purchase of automated spreaders proven to reduce the amount of material (salt) used by the spreaders while adequately controlling ice. The result will be a direct cost savings and reduction in the environmental impact of salt.

In addition, both Towns will be evaluating the routing of their vehicles (particularly where they cross shared borders) to identify any potential reassignment of responsibilities for snow removal and salt distribution.

Shared Fuel Farm

Project Award: $48,720

Collaborating municipalities: Town and Village of Pawling

Project description: Remove and replace an existing fuel farm with a more energy efficient and technologically advanced fuel delivery system to be utilized by participating municipal and county vehicles.

Town of Pawling Supervisor Dave Kelly said, “The fuel farm will reduce long-term costs while delivering fuel in a safer, more efficient manner. I have utilized shared service agreements for years to the benefit of taxpayers and I look forward to working with County Executive Molinaro to further promote these cost saving programs.”

Shared Assessor Services

Project Award: $25,000

Collaborating municipalities: Towns of Beekman and Dover

Project description: Consolidate the assessor responsibilities between the Towns. The elimination of one assessor position will result in a shared savings of up to $75,000 annually.

Tri-Muni Waste Water Treatment System Upgrades

Project Award: $200,000

Collaborating municipalities: Village of Wappingers Falls; Towns of Poughkeepsie and Wappinger

Project description: Replacement of the current aeration system 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.

Additional funding awards will be announced over the next several weeks. The Municipal Consolidation & Shared Services Grant program is administered by the Department of Planning & Development through the guidance of the Community Development Advisory Committee.

Dutchess County Legislator Angela E. Flesland, who represents District 6– Poughkeepsie, noted the Municipal Consolidation & Shared Services Grant provides opportunities for municipalities that may not be otherwise possible. “There are a lot of great ideas out there about working together, but during these challenging economic times, it is hard to find the dollars to bring to the table to get some good ideas moving forward. This grant program provides important start up money to make a collaboration possible and in the end better serve our residents with improved efficiency and reduced costs.”