Gov. David Paterson has signed legislation that would make it easier for citizens and local officials to consolidate or dissolve local governments. Residents and local governing bodies could petition for abolishing or combining special taxing districts, towns, villages or other government entities. Our State Legislators, Senator Andrea Stewart Cousins and Assemblyman Richard Brodsky voted for the legislation. The legislation was proposed by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.
NOW THE VOTERS CAN DECIDE IF THE THREE PAID FIRE DISTRICTS IN GREENBURGH SHOULD BE CONSOLIDATED…
COST OF GREENBURGH POLICE (entire unicorporated Greenburgh) $22,568,898…COST OF 3 PAID FIRE DISTRICTS (NOT ENTIRE UNINCORPORATED GREENBURGH): $29,949,012
New York has more than 10,500 taxing districts statewide, 6,900 of which are town special districts for water, fire and other services. For example… The town of Greenburgh has three paid fire districts –each costing more than the Greenburgh police dept. In 2009 the cost of running the Greenburgh police department was $22, 568, 898. The combined costs of running the three paid fire districts (Greenville, Fairview, Hartsdale) was $29,949,012. The three paid fire districts do not serve the entire unincorporated section of town. The police dept does serve the entire unincorporated section of Greenburgh. Parts of the unincorporated section of Greenburgh (North Elmsford, Donald Park, parts of unincorporated Greenburgh, E Irvington) are served by volunteer fire departments. The police chief recently issued a report (which is on the town web site—www.greenburghny.com) reviewing the finances of the fire departments. A suggestion was made to study the impact consolidation would have on the operations of the departments. This new law will make it easier for voters to successfully push for measures that could result in taxpayer savings. Petitions for consolidation would have to be sgined by at least 10 percent of the voters or 5,000 voters-whichever is less.
SHOULD VOTERS HAVE THE ABILITY TO PETITION TO ELIMINATE/CONSOLIDATE COUNTY GOV…..ELIMINATE THE STATE SENATE?
I hope that this law will be the beginning of the effort to rethink the way government in New York State runs. We need to restructure government if we are going to be able to make living in Westchester more affordable. I hope that this new law will be followed by additional actions that could lead to the smarter government. Among the suggestions:
***the NY State Legislature should approve legislation creating a New York State Constitutional Convention to rewrite the state constitution.
***the NY State Legislature should amend the new consolidation law to provide voters with the ability to petition for the elimination/consolidation of county governments.
***The NY State Legislature should amend the new law to grant voters the right to petition for the elimination of state agencies, authorities and even one house of the NY State Legislature. Our dysfunctional State Senate could be abolished and replaced with a unicameral legislature. Nebraska currently has a single legislative body. In the federal government the House reflects the population and the Senate reflects the geographic regions. However, the State Senate legislative districts are based on the principle of one man one vote. The current bi cameral legislature makes advocates for new legislation jump through two hoops in one session for no valid reason.
Greenburgh Town Supervisor
Greenburgh: Named by MONEY MAGAZINE in 2008 as “ONE OF THE BEST PLACES TO LIVE” IN AMERICA (#80)
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