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News stories tagged with "local-government"

Tara Liloia in front of Isle La Motte town offices. Photos: Sarah Harris
Tara Liloia in front of Isle La Motte town offices. Photos: Sarah Harris

Town meeting day: VT voters decide issues big and small

Vermont's Champlain Islands are smack in the middle of Lake Champlain's northern end. Isle La Motte is the westernmost of those islands. It's isolated and rural. Living there, you might travel to New York State to see a doctor, or go to the grocery store.

But, Isle La Motte joins other towns across Vermont in town meeting day, when citizens come together to have their say on issues big and small. Sarah Harris spent town meeting day on the island and has our story.  Go to full article
City Hall in Burlington. Photo:
City Hall in Burlington. Photo:

In Burlington, electing a new mayor

Town meeting day in Vermont is one of the few examples of direct democracy in our country. It's a state holiday, and townspeople turn out to elect municipal leaders and approve local budgets.

This year local issues at town meeting reflect national debates. In Franklin, Vermont, voters will determine whether prayer should be allowed at town meeting. And 52 towns will vote on whether to pass a constitutional amendment overturning the Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United.

In Burlington, the state's largest city, Vermonters are headed to the polls to elect a new mayor. Sarah Harris has more.  Go to full article
One IDA project, a business park adjacent to I-81 in Watertown
One IDA project, a business park adjacent to I-81 in Watertown

Reformers question IDAs' jobs creation record

Ask just about any politician these days, and he'll likely tell you that a big part of his job is to create jobs. So how does the government do that? Here in New York, Industrial Development Agencies are one of main job creation mechanisms for local communities.

The Innovation Trail's Marie Cusick explains how these obscure economic development tools work, and just how much it can cost taxpayers when they don't work.  Go to full article
Generally speaking, it was an honest mistake.

53 New York towns wrongly exceed tax cap

More than fifty towns around New York inappropriately exceeded the state's property tax cap. That's according to the office of state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.  Go to full article
Behind every mandate is a special interest, and Ö itís very hard to know which mandate we can go after and eliminate.

Skepticism as governor says it's time for mandate relief

During his state of the state speech, Governor Andrew Cuomo said it's time the state provided mandate relief to local governments.

This is welcomed news to many in the north country. But some are concerned it could be only a token gesture.

Julie Grant reports.  Go to full article

Gov open to "talk" about tax cap

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has put passage of a strict cap on local taxes at the top of his administration's agenda. His plan would limit school and local government property taxes to increases of 2 percent per year.

There's pushback, as schools and municipalities consider the consequences -- especially if the cap is not accompanied by a loosening of state mandates, as promised. Martha Foley has more.  Go to full article
We don't want to do anything that's going to affect the current level of service we provide

Saranac Lake emergency crews worry about staff cuts

Officials with the Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department say their response times to emergencies could be hampered if the village of Saranac Lake cuts two firetruck and ambulance driver positions and eliminates the village's emergency dispatch center. Village officials say they're looking at all options for dealing with a pair of fire driver vacancies, and haven't made any decisions. Chris Knight reports.  Go to full article
State Sen. Betty Little.
State Sen. Betty Little.

Little, counties look for mandate reform

It appears that state Sen. Betty Little will play a bigger role in this year's debates in Albany. On Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Little, a Republican, will join his newly created commission tasked with examining unfunded and underfunded mandates imposed by the state.

In a statement, Little said unfunded mandates approved by the state legislature "push the financial burden down to the lowest rung of the ladder."

She joins a group of industry, labor and government officials. The panel was established to identify solutions to ways to reduce local taxes by cutting the costs of state programs they're charged with providing.

Many local government leaders have said that cutting mandates, especially on health care programs, is their top priority in the next session.

A 2% limit on property tax increases was another of Gov. Cuomo's key campaign issues. That could hamstring local governments struggling to balance their own budgets. Local officials said they were happy to hear the property tax cap coupled with mandate reform, but that the devil would be in the details. Emma Jacobs has more for the Innovation Trail.  Go to full article

What's ahead for the new mix in Albany

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is wasting no time. From a wage freeze for public employees, to mandate relief and a property tax cap, he's moved on many of key campaign themes in just his first week in office.

He's also got a new/old legislature to work with. A Republican majority in the state Senate, but a familiar and powerful face at the head of the Assembly: Speaker Sheldon Silver. Susan Arbetter, host of WCNY's capitol Pressroom, is one of the Albany-based journalists who's watching all this closely. Martha Foley talked with her about the changing dynamic.  Go to full article
Newcomb's public school wouldn't survive without state property tax payments, which total roughly $2.5 million per year (Photo:  Brian Mann)
Newcomb's public school wouldn't survive without state property tax payments, which total roughly $2.5 million per year (Photo: Brian Mann)

State property tax payments in Adirondacks face more scrutiny, debate

Over the last couple of weeks, counties across the North Country have been hiking their property taxes, often by double-digit amounts. But a big chunk of those property taxes won't come from local residents. In many communities and in many school districts the state of New York is the biggest property owner and pays the lion's share of taxes.

As we heard yesterday, one state agency has already suspended its property tax payments, costing counties and schools millions of dollars. In this second part our two-part series, Brian Mann reports that local leaders across the region fear that their state property tax payments could also be cut.  Go to full article

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