In connection with a series of stories The Journal News ran Sunday about the complex structure and high cost of local government, The Journal News is polling readers on what they might be willing to sacrifice to potentially improve efficiency and save tax dollars. The Lower Hudson Valley has 698 taxing entities, including three counties, six cities, 30 towns, 47 villages, 56 school districts and 556 special districts (fire, water, sewer, etc.).
This is an excerpt from our lead story:
Politicians often talk about the region’s status as among the highest taxed in the country and promise to rein in bills through hard choices and squeezing every budget dollar. But only a few communities are looking at how the structure of government itself drives up costs in New York.
The state has one of the most complex, layered systems of local government in the nation, and that builds in duplication of services and jobs that must be paid for through tax dollars. Consolidation done right can save individual taxpayers hundreds and thousands of dollars a year — and entire towns millions over time — but it remains a hard sell in the high-tax Lower Hudson Valley.
With ever-mounting pressure on budgets, municipalities periodically reach the point of studying consolidation or dissolution, as the Town of Rye is now, but the emotional, legal and political obstacles generally stop them from taking the next step. The studies languish on the shelf, and the burden on homeowners keeps ratcheting up.
The topics covered also include the history of home rule in the region, police consolidation, shared services versus consolidation in the school system and other topices.
You can answer our poll questions here: