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News stories tagged with "government"

Essex County Democrat opens doors in Albany

Back in January, the Essex County board of supervisors chose a Democrat to lead the group for the first time in three decades. Randy Douglas, from the town of Jay, inherited some big problems - from the closure of the Crown Point bridge to threats to close Moriah shock prison and de-fund the Olympic Regional Development Authority. But Republicans and Democrats alike say the fact that Douglas is a Democrat has opened doors in Albany. Jon Alexander has our story.  Go to full article
Port Henry village seen from Lake Champlain. Source: port-henry.ny.us
Port Henry village seen from Lake Champlain. Source: port-henry.ny.us

Shutting down local governments complicated by bureaucracy, emotion

Next Tuesday, when most voters in the North Country are choosing new local government leaders, the residents of Port Henry will decided whether their village should exist at all. Other villages, from Lake George to Potsdam to Saranac Lake are considering similar measures. It is part of a statewide push to cut costs and reduce bureaucracy. But as Brian Mann reports, the decision also brings a sense of loss and even grief.  Go to full article

Local governments weigh the pros and cons of going out of business

Next week, voters in Port Henry in the Champlain Valley will decide whether to dissolve their village. If the ballot measure passes, local services would be provided in the future by the town of Moriah.

Today and tomorrow we'll be looking at local governments across the North Country that are thinking about merging or going out of business. The idea is being considered from Lake George to Potsdam to Saranac Lake. It's an effort to save money at a time when property taxes are a hotbutton issue and state aid from Albany is shrinking.

This morning, Brian Mann talks with Charles Zettek, with the Center for Governmental Research, a think-tank that helps local governments that are thinking about dissolving. Zettek served as a consultant to the village of Port Henry.  Go to full article

Paterson's cuts could redefine local government, jobs in North Country

As we've heard, New York state faces massive budget deficits that are expected to continue for years. Many of the spending cuts now being debated in Albany would have a direct impact on local governments here in the North Country. In many cases, county employees deliver the health and social service programs funded by New York state. Stephen Acquario is executive director of the New York State Association of Counties. He says people who rely on local governments - for everything from jobs to health care -could see painful reductions in the next year.  Go to full article
Mark Barie (Source:  SUNY Plattsburgh)
Mark Barie (Source: SUNY Plattsburgh)

At North Country tea parties, sounding the alarm over big government

Through the summer, the conservative "tea party" movement gained momentum across the country. Activist groups protested against what they view as a bloated Federal government. They also sparked controversy with fierce rhetoric opposing the policies of President Barack Obama. Here in the North Country, Plattsburgh businessman Mark Barie has helped to organize a group called "UNYTEA". It stands for The Upstate New York Tea Party. He spoke about the project with Brian Mann.  Go to full article

Constitutional convention gains support

Events over the past couple of years in Albany, including the resignation of a governor and a month long coup in the state Senate, have given weight to a growing movement to hold a constitutional convention. Supporters hope to remedy some of state government's ills. Karen DeWitt spoke to one legislator who has been spearheading the effort.  Go to full article

"Coup" consequences and 2010 elections loom as senators return to Albany

State Senators meet in Albany to vote on mayoral control of NYC schools, but the bigger story is the political climate in the capitol. It is the Senate's first day together since a failed Republican "coup" and a stalemate over majority power that brought all other business to a dead stop for five weeks. Two New York City Democrats switched sides June 8 to join Republicans in a coalition that gave the GOP the majority. The two eventually switched back, restoring a slim Democratic majority, and gaining leadership posts for themselves in the bargain.

Albany Times-Union state editor Casey Seiler talked with All Before Five host Jonathan Brown about the coup, the upstate-downstate effects of the new Democratic majority and today's special session.  Go to full article

Governor plans 1,300 job cuts in state prison system

Governor Paterson want to cut more than 1,300 jobs from the state prison system over the next year. That includes corrections officers and civilian workers. The massive downsizing plan would mothball inmate work camps and prison farms across the North Country, including Camp Gabriels north of Saranac Lake, Mount McGregor in Saratoga County, and part of Clinton Correctional in Dannemora. The Governor also wants to use parole and alternative-sentencing programs to shrink the number of inmates behind bars. Brian Mann reports has details.  Go to full article

Wall Street crisis looms over North Country governments, economy

The economic meltdown in New York City could have devastating repercussions here in the North Country. Across northern New York, local governments, including counties and school districts, are often the biggest employers. They provide crucial services from food stamps to education to health care. But much of the money that pays for those programs comes from taxes collected on Wall Street. Officials in Albany say the state revenue available to help local governments is drying up fast. Brian Mann spoke about the crisis yesterday with Stephen Acquario, head of the New York State Association of Counties.  Go to full article

Spitzer, Little seek local gov cost cuts

Last week, Governor Eliot Spitzer unveiled a new statewide task force designed to cut the cost of local government in New York. The state has more than 4,200 local government entities. Here in the North Country, some towns and villages serve only a few hundred people. In a statement, Spitzer said some government entities might be outdated. The Commission on Local Government Efficiency and Competitiveness will include two elected officials from the North Country. Mayor Jamie Rogers, from the village of Lake Placid, and state Senator Betty Little, with both take part. Sen. Little has already made local government efficiency an priority in the state Senate. She spoke about the issue with Brian Mann.  Go to full article

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