Understanding the State shared services plan

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Onondaga Lake Cityscape

Elected leaders from across Onondaga County will meet Thursday evening to start work on a shared services plan before opening it up to the public this summer.

The new State Budget approved in April establishes the ‘County-wide Shared Services Initiative’ for 57 counties outside of New York City.

A team from Syracuse University’s prestigious Maxwell School has just released a guide to help public officials and citizens understand and participate in the plan to explore shared services between governments.

Guide Principal Investigator Grant Reeher says, “It is meant to be a guide to help people consider the question.  It’s not an evaluation document and it doesn’t take a stand on shared services one way or another.”

It includes a historical section of examples where shared services have worked and where they’ve run into difficulties locally, across New York and even other states.

The final section is basically a summary addressing dozens of questions on shared services.

“The position though we do take is its worth taking a close look at and it’s worth thinking about.”  Reeher tells NewsChannel 9.

He adds that while it sounds like it’s a guide to the Consensus Commission’s recommendation on a new modern government, bringing together the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County, it’s not.

He says rather it explores similar concepts, but on a smaller scale.

“But it’s an important way to chip at the margins of the problem and to improve things in a meaningful and significant way, potentially.”  Reeher says.

The Panels consist of the Mayors of every city and village in each county, and the supervisors of every town, and may also include school district, BOCES and special district representatives if invited by the county leader.

The County CEO must convene at least three public meetings in advance of the delivery of Shared Services Plans to the Panels for a vote.

The Plans must be prepared by Aug. 1, 2017, and delivered to the New York Division of Budget and Department of State by Sept. 15, 2017.

Click here for the Citizens Guide on Considering Shared Services in New York State.

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