"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have"
Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Rightsizing NY Forum

This should be on the "must attend" list for local elected officials.

It is long past due to consolidate and right size government at all levels, and this is just not talking shared services that are thrown around, it should be consolidation and elimination of duplication. Locally there are a number of areas, for instance:
  • Real Property services like assessing, which is performed by the towns, county and city separately, 
  • Human Resource functions performed by the college, county and city separately, 
  • Highway functions   
  • Purchasing 
  • Insurance
  • Buildings and Grounds departments
  • Law enforcement
  • Planning
The local entities - schools and government just received a brief reprieve from crisis cuts, which should allow them to make planned cuts.

What are your thoughts for consolidation?


9 comments:

Dan Francis said...

I have been a huge fan of consolidating government - for example having a Jeff Metro government ...

I pitched this to the old Bd. of Supervisors and they laughed at me ...

I compared us to Los Angeles County LA County

... FIVE SUPERVISORS
... $22 billion budget

Then look at us...

School districts could be consolidated in a Jeff Metro District and savings would be huge and nothing else would change - except fewer SUPERINTENDENTS...

We must get smaller, smarter and less-expensive yet remain effective and efficient...

Why don't we? People are afraid of change around here ... the way we are now is JOB protection for many and that is not right.

Anonymous said...

Democrat, Aubertine Voter, and overall I'm usually disgusted with your blog when your Republican partisanship blinds you to reality.

However, you're dead on. I loved Darrel's plan to put authorities and agencies that do the same tasks together. However, we need consolidation at the local level more than anything. nnyfollies, who you rip so readily, has great piece on this that you should link to. We need consolidation.

It's not about taxes. I think most people understand the need for taxes. Take my money, fine, but DONT WASTE IT!

I think individual governments do a good job with our money. They tend not to overspend on necessary services when you look at it in a vacuum, but when you consider the overlap in government, it becomes wasteful.

With multiple administrators and big benefits, why do we have 10 school districts per county with $1 million worth of administrators? We can still have seperate sports programs and art programs and high schools, but save millions by having one, two or three administrators.

Highway departments? Why does each town have a Highway Department and each village a DPW when the county has a Highway Department. They all have the same equipment and crews working together on different projects. Why not create one larger county highway department with zones? Forget sharing, it's all one department's equip this way.

Real property is the one that irritates me the most. The assessors keep saying, Oh, we need that town by town touch, or else people will pay too much. That town by town touch is what allows one guy in one town to be assessed so much higher than comparable property owned by someone connected. That lower level approach is what causes us to pay for assessors at every level with no oversight and if not actual corruption, the vivid depiction of it.

Hire assessors from each region of the county, but have their work accountable to the county and we'll have fewer assessors with less administrative costs.

Anonymous said...

Democrat, Aubertine Voter, and overall I'm usually disgusted with your blog when your Republican partisanship blinds you to reality.

However, you're dead on. I loved Darrel's plan to put authorities and agencies that do the same tasks together. However, we need consolidation at the local level more than anything. nnyfollies, who you rip so readily, has great piece on this that you should link to. We need consolidation.

It's not about taxes. I think most people understand the need for taxes. Take my money, fine, but DONT WASTE IT!

I think individual governments do a good job with our money. They tend not to overspend on necessary services when you look at it in a vacuum, but when you consider the overlap in government, it becomes wasteful.

With multiple administrators and big benefits, why do we have 10 school districts per county with $1 million worth of administrators? We can still have seperate sports programs and art programs and high schools, but save millions by having one, two or three administrators.

Highway departments? Why does each town have a Highway Department and each village a DPW when the county has a Highway Department. They all have the same equipment and crews working together on different projects. Why not create one larger county highway department with zones? Forget sharing, it's all one department's equip this way.

Real property is the one that irritates me the most. The assessors keep saying, Oh, we need that town by town touch, or else people will pay too much. That town by town touch is what allows one guy in one town to be assessed so much higher than comparable property owned by someone connected. That lower level approach is what causes us to pay for assessors at every level with no oversight and if not actual corruption, the vivid depiction of it.

Hire assessors from each region of the county, but have their work accountable to the county and we'll have fewer assessors with less administrative costs.

Anonymous said...

You are assuming that 'bigger' or 'central' is better. Please make a case for this.

Is one school of 3,000 cheaper to run than 3 schools of 1,000? New buildings, more transportation, a wider area to extend administrative oversight, all conspire to elevate costs in some areas, while making small economies in others.

Want to plow snow over a single 1,000 mile system, as opposed to 10 100-mile jurisdictions? It's still gonna take X plows / 100 miles. Same capital outlay, fuel, maintenance, etc.

It take 4 people to buy for one jurisdiction, 3 people for another. Combining them will not reduce that number. Each department is currently right-sized to cover the area of responsibility that they currently have.

Once you create a larger entity (say, a Super-County) then there are layers of bureaucracy that you just hafta have to run the bigger government. Compare the size of the super-schools of today with the smaller community schools of just a few decades ago.

The thought that more central or bigger is better is a fallacy. There are undoubtedlysome economy-of-scale opportunities, but generally the costs go way up, not down.

BTW: Its not duplicity, its duplication.

Anonymous said...

Well Dan, I'm not sure it is going to matter much longer. Stocks at 7500. I don't see too much money being spent at the mall. Even the education industry will break if this keeps going. Unfortunately, a lot of good people will break long before that.

I just do not see this part of the country in particular moving towards any kind of consolidation at any level. We've allowed this layering to be build over generations, and we've convinced ourselves that it helps children. How can we ever go against children?

Git your popcorn and soda, Dan. The trainwreck is coming soon. I say about 6-8 months.

By then the teacher will be back in the Bahamas. At least the crying will be from long distance.

Anonymous said...

Well Dan, I'm not sure it is going to matter much longer. Stocks at 7500. I don't see too much money being spent at the mall. Even the education industry will break if this keeps going. Unfortunately, a lot of good people will break long before that.

I just do not see this part of the country in particular moving towards any kind of consolidation at any level. We've allowed this layering to be build over generations, and we've convinced ourselves that it helps children. How can we ever go against children?

Git your popcorn and soda, Dan. The trainwreck is coming soon. I say about 6-8 months.

By then the teacher will be back in the Bahamas. At least the crying will be from long distance.

Anonymous said...

5:49 quotes "Its not about taxes."


Um, respectfully, it IS about taxes, and the levels they have reached. Those levels have forced out people and business, and the kids you and yours propose to "love" so much. We have to limit spending so we can limit taxes. Spare me the donkey crap. This isn't about that either.

It is about SPENDING, which leads to TAXING, which results in SCREWING (kids), which results in LEAVING (everyone).

Don't play around the railroad tracks when there is a wreck about to occur.

Anonymous said...

6:41 -- To claim that consolidatuing authorities and agencies will get us out of our tax-and-spend IS duplicity -- or simple-mindedness.

While there will certainly be (small) economies by merging entities with similar functions, does anyone REALLY believe that folding the Thruway Authority into DOT will make a heck of an impact on a $125 BILLION state budget?

All the responsibilities remain, as do much of the costs and payroll. Maybe you eliminate some small administrative functions, and probably a bureaucrat or two.

But you also make North Country taxpayers responsible for a well-run and maintained superhighway that very few of us ever use. That's not a great idea.

As for senator Aubertone's other idea, merging NYSERDA and the PSC? One is federally funded, so there will be absolutely NO savings to the state budget from that move.

Senate Democrats want to step up and be responsible for running state government, they HAVE to offer real solutions, not just this kind of pablum, and they;ll have to be accountable for the tough decisions they make.

So far, they (including our local Senator) haven't shown a lot of creativity, courage or competence.

Sure time will tell, but more of us will be watching from outside NYS.

Anonymous said...

That fact that people leave has never been a problem for the government of NYS. And the real chosen folks can keep property in two places. So there's no problem continuing what we are doing.

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