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News stories tagged with "local-government"

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
We're all in the same boat ? the roads aren't getting any better and nothing is getting any younger.

Highway funds in doubt

With winter fast approaching and the construction season coming to an end, highway superintendents in the North Country are wondering how they will fund critical bridge and road projects next year.

The New York State County Highway Superintendents Association issued a statement this week saying many local governments don't have enough funds to pay for crucial bridge and road projects.

As Chris Morris reports, some of the most highly traveled roads in the Adirondacks are sliding into disrepair.  Go to full article
Randy Douglas heads the Essex County board of supervisors
Randy Douglas heads the Essex County board of supervisors

Essex County faces tough budget choices

Essex County now faces a budget deficit next year that could top 9 million dollars. That's ten percent of the county's budget that still needs to be paid for.

The soaring costs are being blamed on scheduled pay increases for county workers, rising utility coasts, and the cost of operating the Horace Nye nursing home in Elizabethtown.

The latest blow came this week, when the Board of Supervisors announced that health insurance costs could rise by as much as 46%.

Brian Mann spoke about the budget crunch with Randy Douglas. He's town supervisor in Jay and serves as county chair.  Go to full article
Would a new village on the shore of Lake George make local taxes more fair?
Would a new village on the shore of Lake George make local taxes more fair?

Voters in Lake George area decide today whether to create new village

Voters in the Lake George area go to the polls today to decide whether they want to create a new village. The new community, called East Lake George, would be carved out of the towns of Fort Ann and Queensbury.

Supporters of the move say it would help to ease the high property tax burden on their mostly waterfront homes. The change drew fire from the Glens Falls Post-Star newspaper, which published an editorial yesterday urging voters to reject the plan.

Anthony Hall is publisher of the Lake George Mirror newspaper and he's been covering this story. He talked about today's vote with Brian Mann.

NOTE: The polls are open today at the North Queensbury Fire Station from noon until 9 pm.  Go to full article
Adirondack Local Government Review Board director Fred Monroe (Source:  LinkedIn)
Adirondack Local Government Review Board director Fred Monroe (Source: LinkedIn)

State-funded local government group emerges as powerful voice in Adirondack Park

This week we've been looking in-depth at the big conservation land deals that have been reshaping the Adirondack Park.

One of the most prominent groups opposing those deals is the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board. Over the last year, the taxpayer-funded organization has made headlines, accusing environmental groups and state officials of improper and illegal activities. The Review Board has also led the fight for a moratorium on new land purchases.

As Brian Mann reports, critics and supporters alike agree that the group has emerged as one of the most influential voices on issues in the Park.  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

NY Senate passes shared service bill

It could soon be easier for New York's thousands of individual local governments to share equipment and services. Martha Foley has more.  Go to full article

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