So much for any tax savings!

In Columns by Hal Peterson0 Comments

The Fiscal Year 2018 State Budget includes a mandate known as the Countywide Shared Services Initiative (CWSSI) plan. As explained by the governor in May, it requires the leaders of sixty-two cities, fifty-seven counties, 932 towns, 545 villages, 632 school districts and about 70 independent school districts to identify shared opportunities that will yield taxpayer savings. More than a gentle push to drive down operating costs to be finalized by September 15th. Plans that create actual and demonstrable property tax savings may be eligible for a one time matching grants.

The policy rationale is easy to understand. Local property taxes, in our state counties remain among the highest in the nation totaling some $4,330, more than twice the national median. In 2003, the total property tax levies for counties, towns, villages, cities, school districts and fire districts was $24.6 billion. By 2015, total property tax levies rose to $42.8 billion — or 74 percent. New York ranks fourth overall among all states in median local property taxes paid. Westchester County has the highest property taxes in the nation, closely followed by Nassau, Rockland, Putnam and Suffolk.

The results are in. Using information available on the web site of the Rockefeller Institute of Government, 389 proposals materialized that could result in $208,089,084 million saved in 2018. Nassau County gained top ranking with the following 41 proposals submitted saving $130,507,124 million.

Nassau County, Average annual projected taxpayer savings $317.56. 

Development of a shared Automated Roadway Pavement Management System $1,271,904.
Nassau County to Provide Road Paving Services on Town of Oyster Bay Roads $403,862.
Consolidate Wastewater Treatment Services Between Long Beach and Nassau County $128,000,000.
Long Beach to Plow County Owned Roads Within the City of Long Beach $18,952.
IMA with Nassau County to Purchase Property from the County; on-going Maintenance of the Property handled by the Village $51,929.
Cooperative Agreement with Nassau County for Villages to Provide Street Sweeping Services on All County Roads within the Villages $46,463.
Cooperative Agreement between Nassau County and the Village of Malvern for the Village to Provide Snow Plowing Services on All County Roads within the Village $17,038.
Transfer the Maintenance of Long Beach Road from Austin Blvd to the Long Island Rail Road Plaza from Nassau County to the Village of Island Park $13,324.
Transfer the Maintenance of Warwick Road from Long Beach Road to Harbor Isle Bridge from Nassau County to the Village of Island Park $13,324.
Transfer the Maintenance of Island Parkway from Long Beach Road to Harbor Isle Bridge from Nassau County to the Village of Island Park $13,324.
NCPD to Purchase Diesel Fuel from TOB for District Vehicles $475.
Bayville to Take Over Snow Removal of Bayville & Ludlam Avenues from Nassau County $15,000.
Bayville to Take Over Snow Removal of West Harbor Drive from Town of Oyster Bay $5,000.
Transfer Police Services of the Village of Bayville from the NCPD to the Village of Centre Island PD $500,000.
Old Brookville to Purchase Road Salt from Town of Oyster Bay $57,249.
Old Brookville to Purchase Road Salt / Sand Mix from Town of Oyster Bay 6,566.
School District to Purchase Regular Gas from Town of Oyster Bay for District Vehicles $1,566.
School District to Purchase Salt / Sand Mix from Town of Oyster Bay $114.
Oyster Bay Cove Police Department to Purchase Regular Gas from Town of Oyster Bay $6,580.
Inc. Village of Mill Neck to Purchase Regular Gas from Town of Oyster Bay $1,774.
Inc. Village of Mill Neck to Purchase Diesel Fuel from Town of Oyster Bay $5,657.
Inc. Village of Mill Neck to Purchase Road Salt from Town of Oyster Bay $18,860.
Inc. village of Mill Neck to Purchase Road Salt / Sand Mix from Town of Oyster Bay $25 .
Brookville to Purchase Road Salt / Sand Mix from Town of Oyster Bay $10,724.
Village of North Hills Interested in Participating in Shared Tree Work, Paving & Repair, Pavement Marking & Signs Services with the Town of North Hempstead $14,000.
Village of Lake Success interested in participating in Shared Storm Cleaning Services with the Town of North Hempstead $13,226.
Village of Kensington Interested in participating in Shared Storm Cleaning Services with the Town of North Hempstead $6,028.
Village of Great Neck Estates Interested in participating in Shared Storm Cleaning Services with the Town of North Hempstead $1,500.
Village of Great Neck Interested in participating in Shared Storm Cleaning Services with the Town of North Hempstead $3,723.
Village of Roslyn Estates Interested in participating in Shared Swift Reach 911 Services with the Town of North Hempstead $1,200.
Village of Roslyn Estates Interested in participating in Shared Gas Purchasing Services with the Town of North Hempstead $950.
Village of East Williston Wants to Expand the Current Fuel Purchase Program with the Town of North Hempstead to include the Entire Fire Department Fleet of Vehicles $2,010.
Inc. Village of Great Neck Plaza and Inc. Village of Great Neck Estates to Work Cooperatively on the Design and Implementation of Salt Storage Shed to Serve the Winter Deicing needs of Both Villages $11,500.
Villages to Work Cooperatively on Implementing a Shared Garbage Services Program $24,479.
Housing a Public Works Facility in One Central Location for All the Villages; Once Central Location to drop off E-Waste; Combine Road Improvement Projects to Cut Costs on Engineering and Construction Services; Combine Tree Removal Contract, Bid Out Services for Grant Writing in Order to Obtain Funding for the Above Listed Projects N/A.
The County to Repave Middle Neck Road within the Village of Flower Hill $493,200.
Share Professional Arborist Services Among the Villages $2,700.
Flower Hill and Plandome Manor to Share Costs Associated with the Construction of a Pedestrian Path $3,100.
Share Costs Associated with Blueprint Copying / Scanning Services Among the Villages $1,000.
Increasing Proposed Personnel Sharing among Nassau County, the Village of Plandome, the Village of Plandome Manor, the Village of Plandome Heights, Village of Flower Hill and Baxter Estates. Savings N/A.

Running a fact check reveals that 40 of the above ventures totaled only $2,507,124 many of which are less than inspiring given the challenge evident. The 41st venture “consolidating waste-water treatment services between Long Beach and Nassau” with savings of $128 million can be attributed to Long Beach  City Manager Jack Schnirman who did the math. By diverting the waste water through a pipeline to Cedar Creek, at a cost of cost of $50 million, we will save $178 million in maintenance and upkeep costs. An oversimplification of the facts of life by any standard of cost based analysis. You be the judge.

All is not lost. The Rockefeller report mentioned, states “the first round of the CWSSI program has yielded taxpayer saving, efficiencies and better communication among local governments across the state.” In July, Governor Cuomo announced seven towns received $50,000 grants to implement plans for their dissolution. The Town of Corning received a $50,000 grant to help consolidate fire and water services. Tax savings are not mentioned.

Nassau County gained no awards. The information they submitted a/c the Rockefeller report was not well organized or presented in an easy-to- understand or synthesized fashion.

P.S. Using www.rockinst.org allows access to all 389 projects shown in ten categories. I encourage the use of their report by all administrators charged with the fiduciary responsibility of managing other people’s money.

 

 

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