by Empire Center for Public Policy
Empire Center for New York State Policy
February 19, 2014
New York State is home to more than 1,600 general-purpose local governments. A challenging fiscal environment and notoriously high property taxes have raised structural and service issues to new levels as communities explore the potential efficiencies to be gained through shared services, dissolution and consolidation. Nearly all shared service and consolidation efforts begin with the notion that streamlining local governments and service delivery frameworks can help address fiscal stress. Shared service arrangements, in which governments partner to deliver services while remaining separate entities, are common. Larger-scale restructuring options include dissolution and consolidation. The current economic and fiscal environment has placed a premium on efficiency and cost-effectiveness. This paper reviews the basic options available to New York’s local governments, documents the implementation path for each, and offers “best practice” recommendations for managing change effectively.