The next paper in this series will focus on this topic exclusively, including an examination of local governments already sharing services.Restructuring Options Restructuring options available to New York’s municipalities vary by type of local government. Government Reorganization and Citizen Empowerment Act: A Summary of the Process for Consolidation and Dissolution is an indispensable guide for any resident or municipal official seeking additional information.
Local Government Consolidation in New York The restructuring issue is hardly new to New York State.Though a recession-weakened economy, high relative property taxes and challenged revenue streams have raised the issue’s prominence, the state is actually home to one of the nation’s first significant consolidations.As village residents are simultaneously residents and taxpayers to their surrounding town, village dissolution results in the town government assuming service responsibility. Ten of those have occurred in the past five years alone, a 30 percent approval rate on the 33 dissolution referenda held since 2008.Among them was Seneca Falls, the largest village dissolution in state history, which dissolved into the surrounding Town of Seneca Falls in 2012. Under a board-initiated dissolution, the village board passes a resolution endorsing a dissolution plan specifying elements including fiscal estimates of the dissolution and formal processes for transferring or eliminating village employees, disposing of village assets, and handling existing liabilities and indebtedness.Regardless of the process used, only village voters cast ballots in a village dissolution referendum.
Notwithstanding that eliminating a village often creates fiscal implications for the surrounding town, town-outside-village voters do not cast votes on the decision.In villages of less than 500 voters, signatures of 20 percent of voters are required.Distinct from the board-initiated process, the voter-initiated procedure requires an initial public referendum prior to development of a dissolution plan.Moreover, the approval and implementation is generally easier for shared services than for full consolidations.Existing resources include the Office of the State Comptroller’s Shared Services in Local Government, which offer practical suggestions and case studies on intermunicipal cooperation.The plan, typically developed through detailed study and analysis, is subject to public referendum of village voters.