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News stories tagged with "local-government"

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

North Country counties, school districts brace for massive cuts

Governor Paterson's decision to withhold funding for local governments and school districts is sending shock waves through the North Country. People in this part of New York rely heavily on government for social services, most provided by towns and counties but paid for with state subsidies. Locals also look to local government for the highest paying and most dependable jobs. To understand just how large the impact of state budget cuts could be, Brian Mann looks in-depth this morning at Essex County. In Elizabethtown, the county seat, state subsidies shape every aspect of life and the economy.  Go to full article

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