Press-Republican

Local News

June 21, 2013

County scores $1.2 million in grants

Funds awarded for moves to save taxpayers money

(Continued)

The total $1.2 million will add something close to $400,000 annually to county revenue.

PROVEN SAVINGS

“The whole concept of the grant was efficiency,” Palmer said.

“The Department of State asked, ‘What have you done to save money in county government?’ The entire basis of the Horace Nye sale was to reduce the levy to the county, which it did.”

Mascarenas said that in the three years since consolidating four county departments into one Community Resource Office, they have saved about $800,000 total.

And with the new grant, cost savings made money, too.

“Yes, at the end of the day, I guess it did,” Mascarenas said.

“The intent of the program was to recognize recurring cost savings to the taxpayer.”

Altogether, cost savings from Essex County’s consolidation and privatization moves saved nearly $3 million annually from the overall $16.3 million levy.

CHALLENGING

Mascarenas said other municipalities around the state have been calling their office to ask how they implemented the Community Resource consolidation.

It was not an easy task because with 38,000 people the population of Essex County is relatively small, but it is the second-largest county geographically.

Doing more with fewer people is a challenge, Mascarenas said, especially across that many square miles.

“We are busy. There are a lot of challenges in being a rural, large county. But it’s definitely working. We’ve been successful on the planning side. We are able to provide a high level of service and provide that service at lower cost to the taxpayers.”

COMPETITIVE

In announcing the grants this week, Department of State officials said the 13 projects recognized a total $38.2 million in combined annual savings to taxpayers.

“This program is an integral part of Governor (Andrew) Cuomo’s agenda to improve efficiency and reduce costs at all levels of government,” Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales said in announcing the grants. 

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