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Municipalities Sharing Services - Good for Taxpayers, Good for Officials

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James R. Loeb
Summer 2015

Most local governments today are under financial constraints, which in turn creates a financial burden to its taxpayers.  For this reason, municipal officials must constantly seek out ways to improve their budget.  The tax cap makes it imperative that local governments take advantage of the powers granted to it and seek to supply services by using the most efficient, inexpensive means available.  Sharing a sewer, or a water line, might just be a good start.

Whether by virtue of a grant of powers in the Town Law, Village Law, General City Law or the General Municipal Law, all municipalities in the State of New York have the authority to enter into shared services agreements.  In fact, with the enactment of Article 17-A of the General Municipal Law, Towns, Villages and Counties can consolidate special districts within their own borders and even across inter-municipal boundaries.

The concept of shared services, and in many instances consolidation, permits the participating municipalities to supply essential utility services to their residents often at a reduced costs.  There are opportunities to save on the expense of administration and to pursue the possibilities of savings based on the economy of scale of the consolidation entity.

Drake Loeb PLLC and our municipal law team are uniquely qualified to work with municipalities in exploring how shared services can work for them.  I have been an advocate of shared services between municipalities for so long now that a number of the agreements I worked on forty years ago have come up for renewal.  If you are not a local official, you might just want to talk to your local government and urge them to consider a shared services project or even a consolidation of service providers to reduce your taxes.  This is a concept that really works