Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano met Thursday in Bethpage with dozens of city, town, village and school district leaders to begin implementing a new state law requiring municipalities to develop plans to reduce property taxing by consolidating programs or sharing equipment and services.
The bill, signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo this month, requires county and local officials to devise a plan to eliminate duplicative services, coordinate purchases such as emergency equipment and reduce back office administrative costs.
Mangano would or will host three public hearings on the plan next month and submit a proposal to the county legislature by July 21. Nassau would finalize the countywide plan by Sept. 15 and make a final public presentation by Oct. 15.
If governments can prove their plan created savings and reduced costs, they would receive a one-time matching funds from the state.
“Our intent is to save taxpayer dollars through efficiencies or consolidations that make sense and produce a savings,” Mangano told a crowd of more than 100 elected officials.
For example, Mangano said one village has expressed interest in taking over a county roadway in its jurisdiction while another is considering using Nassau’s police services.
Mark Pattison, deputy secretary of state, said “this is a real opportunity for folks to get together and think about the way we do business.”
Reaction to the idea was mixed, with some elected officials, including Rockville Centre Mayor Francis Murray, complaining about the compressed time frame to conceive and execute the plan. “Having a plan in place is one thing,” said Murray, a Republican. “Implementing each thing is another.”
School officials also grumbled that they already share services with neighboring districts, but will be unable to reap financial benefits from the state because their plans have been implemented.
Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy, a Democrat, said he was considering a plan to use the county’s school crossing guards. “It’s a potential opportunity to save money,” he said.
Long Beach City Manager Jack Schnirman said there are opportunities to partner with the county or other area governments on sewage, transportation and snow removal costs.
“Long Beach saved millions by reorganizing city government and consolidating services,” said Schnirman, a Democrat running for county comptroller. “We look forward to working with other municipalities to do even more.”