Sunday, February 15, 2009

SHOULD WESTCHESTER, ROCKLAND AND PUTNAM COUNTIES BE MERGED IF IT WILL SAVE TAXPAYERS DOLLARS? ANOTHER OPTION TO BE STUDIED...


In recent months Westchester County residents have started to debate the value of having a county government. Connecticut, Rhode Island and much of Massachusetts have no county government and property taxes in those states are less than ours. A group: www.rethinkingwestchestergov.com has started a web site to encourage people to reflect on the value of eliminating county government and transferring the responsibilities to local and/or state governments (which is what happened in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts). The goal: reducing our property taxes and maintaining high quality services. Getting more value for our precious tax dollars.
There is another option that we should be thinking about: instead of eliminating county government we could and should explore the value of merging existing county governments. Westchester, Rockland and Putnam Counties could be combined into one super regional entity. If these county governments would be merged we might be able to save many millions of dollars. Less administration, fewer commissioners, fewer lawmakers & savings of millions in salaries for executive and legislative branches of government, reduced expenses, etc...
Last week the Regional Plan Association and Tri-State Transportation campaign held a forum to discuss a proposal that the MTA take over the county's Bee line bus system. Our current bus system is subsidized by Westchester residents but crosses county lines. It would make sense for the bus system to be regional (paid for by more than one county). Westchester County residents support the Westchester Medical Center (the county also guarantees the bonds). Yet, the medical center serves more than one county. A regional government that would replace the county would spread the costs to those who use it. A larger regional governing body, to replace our current three county governments, could easily handle solid waste, health, public safety, recreation and social services.
Last year, when I helped form Rethinking Westchester, my goal was to encourage debate and discussion. The next step: We need a professional study to determine if abolishing county government will save taxpayers significant dollars. The study should also provide residents with a roadmap--how this will be done. How many millions will be saved. In addition, a professional study should explore the benefits of combining neighboring county governments. All options to save money should be explored.
In the coming weeks I will be suggesting other possible areas to study --we need to explore big ideas that could save money.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

good thought - but why stop there?
why not rethink greenburgh which is rather dysfunctional too.

example - the town board spends no time on village matters but their salaries are paid for by villagers.

action plan said...

call for a debate with spano on the largesse
but paul -clean up your own burgh by getting rid of nonsense like xposure, giveaways to vsd, nutrition programs that feed other towns, useless parkland

Anonymous said...

I passed by crane pond today and noticed the barricades that were put up to stop people from skating on thin ice are all sunk to the bottom of the pond. It is my understanding the parks department maintains this. Why is it that the superintendant gets a town vehicle to travel back and forth to work putting well over 60,000 miles on a town vehicle in 2 years yet never noticed barricades sinking. The barricades are an eyesaw just like the pig pen that was left at web field for no reason for months.

Maybe cut these unneeded things in our own town first Paul and you won't have to look to other areas outside of our town to cut.

Anonymous said...

Paul Feiner we need to think of term limits so that we can encourage new, creative thinking regardomg the issues of Greenburgh. You Paul have been in office far too long and it's time to leave the supermaarkets alone, bring dignity and answers to questions asked at board meeings.

Anonymous said...

For the amount of taxes we pay here in Elmsford, the Town might as well take over this Village and consolidate it with the Town.

Anonymous said...

Take over all the village's
Make 1 Greenburgh Police Dept, 1 Fire Dept, 1 Parks dept, 1 highway Dept, 1 sanitation dept, 1 Library and so on. White Plains does it, why not Greenburgh ?
Turn TDYCC over to The YMCA.
What do you think Paul and Town Board?

elmsford makes no sense said...

elmsford and its school district makes no sense in 21st century ny

consolidate both

Anonymous said...

11:58, no consolidation, Greenburgh cant run anything well. Yes to giving TDYCC to Y.

Anonymous said...

We need to re-think Greenburgh, not county affairs. You do so much work, Mr. Feiner, that is unrelated to your job responsibilities.

Anonymous said...

Paul: this is self-serving idiocy. I grew up in Massachusetts and my family still lives there. Yes, property taxes are lower in the Boston suburbs than in Westchester, but no one living in Mass. thinks they live in a tax haven (we envy New Hampshire). If you want a model for lower taxes, look to those parts of the country where MUNICIPAL/TOWN governments are minimal and counties are much stronger. Think of the savings, for example, if Westchester had one police dept. and one DPW, etc. In other words, be creative and consider cutting out your position and Greenburgh goverment and strengthening the county.

Anonymous said...

Paul, Please try to get elected to one of these regional governments where you could actually implement this kind of study.

tdycc said...

paul - the tdycc has no support outside of fairview

its divisive - let the town vote on it or get rid of it.

what other town has such a facility?

an idea said...

i have an idea
lets change the name of greenburgh to westchester county 2 and maybe it will get the attention of mr feiner

Anonymous said...

It's weird - Why does the Supervisor show more interest in County business than Greenburgh business? It seems that he's just given up on his Greenburgh job tasks that he's being paid for, and that doesn't seem ethical.

Anonymous said...

Good grief! No one is having this so called debate but you. Can't you just look after the affairs of our crumbling town?

Anonymous said...

Stop wasting time with this BS and Study the Town of Greenburgh budget very carefully because apparently you have yet to do so.

If you would cut out the waste there would be no need to change county government to save taxes.

no study needed - answer here said...

what is the need for a study
get rid of the tdycc - save 4 million dollars

Anonymous said...

I'm much more concerned about Greenburgh taxes and operations than I am about the county.

Anonymous said...

BTW, as far as Rhode Island goes, according to yesterday's WSJ, that state has the highest state sales tax in the country at 9.9% (although California might soon take the first spot). Is Paul promoting raising the state sales tax to RI levels to keep down property taxes?

Anonymous said...

My mistake, RI has the highest state income tax at 9.9%, not sales tax.

Anonymous said...

If you want to save money become involved with your present type of government.




when Gov gets bigger you less of a chance to affect change and costs.We dont need politicat bosses to consolidate thier power.