ALBANY — A total of $4 million in 2012-2013 Local Government Efficiency Grant Program funds is available to help local governments find innovative ways to reduce costs and save taxpayer dollars through consolidation and reorganization. The competitive program is part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s agenda to reduce property taxes and shrink the size of government, according to a press release.
The Department of State has released a Request for Applications for municipalities to apply to the program.
“In this economy, government on all levels must continue to find new ways to maximize the use of every tax dollar and reduce costs,” Cuomo said. “The Local Government Efficiency Grant Program provides critical financial incentives and assistance to push municipalities to do so — whether it is through reorganizing or consolidating, so that we can serve New Yorkers and lessen the tax burden on our families and businesses.”
“The Department of State is eager to work with local governments to help them identify and implement strategic actions that will result in a reduction of municipal expenses and significant savings for taxpayers,” Secretary of State Cesar Perales said.
‘CHALLENGE EACH OTHER’
Projects funded under last year’s grant program are anticipated to produce multi-year savings of $45 million, a 10-to-1 return on a one-time state investment of $4 million. Since the program’s inception, more than 350 projects have been funded with a projected impact of more than $550 million on future local expenditures, the release said.
“At every level of government, we must continue to challenge each other to develop new services and service delivery methods, regardless of our municipal borders, to ensure that governments can support competitive economies,” said Deputy Secretary of State for Local Government Services Dierdre Scozzafava.
“The Local Government Efficiency program remains a technical and financial resource available to our local officials to help them implement projects that leverage new opportunities to reduce expenses and increase regional competitiveness.”
Under the grant program, local governments may apply for:
▶ Assistance to develop plans for implementation and/or to implement projects such as: consolidation or dissolution, functional consolidation, city or county charter revision that includes functional consolidation, shared or cooperative services, and regionalized delivery of services.
▶ Implementation of internal reorganizations or service delivery modifications for local governments that have had an operating deficit in each of the last three years or that have been unable to limit growth in the property-tax levy to less than 2 percent in each of the last three years.
“The LGE grant program provides local governments such as ours the opportunity to conduct an evidenced-based review of operations and, with that information, allows local governments to make decisions on how best to deliver services at the most cost-effective method to the taxpayers and citizens,” said John T. McDonald III, mayor of the City of Cohoes.
“Our recent efforts as it relates to 911 dispatching here in the City of Cohoes resulted in a transfer of that function to Albany County, resulting in a savings of over $300,000 a year to the taxpayers of Cohoes, no layoffs of existing personnel and no diminishment of service to our residents.”
MARCH 13 DEADLINE
Municipalities can receive a maximum of $200,000 per project in this round of funding. Applications must demonstrate financial savings to the local government and its taxpayers, a positive return on public investment, and progressive and measurable management improvements resulting from project implementation. The submission deadline for the Local Government Efficiency Grant is 4 p.m. March 13.
Applications are available on the DOS website at https://www.dos.ny.gov/funding. Prospective applicants can also obtain applications by calling 473-3355 or (800) 367-8488.