New Tax Plan Seeks To Consolidate Suffolk County Programs, Services

HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Tax relief is the goal, but how will it work?

Villages, cities, towns, and counties across the state are now facing some tough decisions.

They’re being challenged to come up with a plan to consolidate programs and share services with each other.

As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, the Spector family of Huntington have some passionate opinions about government waste and high taxes.

They live in a town comprised of four villages, 17 hamlets, and eight school districts with road crews and pothole repair, garbage collection, parks maintenance, fire, and rescue services all separate for each municipality.

“You don’t want to get in a situation where you have a guy in one town, one in another, and they are both doing the exact same job in the exact same place,” taxpayer Dave Spector tells CBS2.

Governor Andrew Cuomo wants mandated local government sharing resources to ease tax burdens that he claims could increase under new federal tax proposals.

Counties like Suffolk have until August 1st to create a plan that could reduce property taxes by consolidating government programs, pooling purchases, or sharing equipment.

“In order to save Suffolk County taxpayers and residents money, how we are going to work together in a way that makes our government and services we deliver more efficient,” County Executive Steve Bellone said.

The county’s ideas include sharing recycling services, marine equipment, street sweepers, road resurfacing crews, senior and youth health care, and emergency management.

Suffolk hopes its towns, like Huntington, will eventually buy and sell, shop, andchat on a new web — a virtual municipal services store.

Projections suggest that could save taxpayers $37 million in two years.

Suffolk Shared Services Coordinator and former town supervisor Jon Kaiman says if the town can’t afford to provide services they currently do, then local unions will even lose out.

“I do believe you need to find a way to cut costs, but you don’t want to lose the identity of each community,” Suffolk taxpayer Karen Jans said.

“Each town should have their own sovereignty to decide,” taxpayer Elizabeth Shiran said. “I don’t like that, there is too much big government mandating too many things.”

Change could be on the way. The county must submit its shared services plan to the legislature by Tuesday, with a final vote among all Suffolk’s ten towns and 33 villages set for mid-September.

Within two years, every county in New York must submit its own shared services proposal, CBS2 reported.

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