Thursday, March 11, 2010



Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner is writing to Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and Putnam County Executive Robert Bondi and will renew a suggestion that he made about a year ago that both counties explore the possibility of consolidating the two county governments. Feiner is making his suggestion after County Executive Robert Bondi questioned whether we need county government --a point that Feiner has been making since the early 1990s.
Consolidation of two or more county governments could save taxpayer dollars. Since most people don't identify with county government --it would be easier to accomplish than consolidating other levels of government. Consolidating county governments will result in an immediate reduction of the number of elected officials, number of buildings owned by the county governments, number of commissioners, deputy commissioners and management. Consolidation of two or more county governments might be easier to accomplish than eliminating counties since county governments would continue to provide residents with county services.
Feiner is renewing his proposal a day a few days after Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino threatened to lay off 1,600 county employees. If Westchester is going to operate with many fewer employees - this is a great time to seriously consider consolidation.
Feiner is also calling for a constitutional amendment that would enable voters to vote on state, county and local budgets. Feiner is also going to push the NYS Legislature and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to expand the consolidation law that was approved last year to include county governments. Last year the state approved a law that enables voters to collect petitions and to place consolidation of local governments, police & fire districts on the ballot. County governments are exempt from the law.
Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts don't have county governments and their property taxes are less than Westchester and Putnam Counties. Massachusetts authorized county governments to disband in the mid 1990s.

Bondi highlights distrust of government
Michael Risinit • • March 11, 2010

CARMEL — Toward the end of his State of the County address Wednesday night, Putnam County Executive Robert Bondi asked residents if they thought they even needed county government.

D o the people of Putnam need a county executive? Do they need a Legislature, or is there a less expensive form of government that can do the job?" he said in front of county employees, elected officials and residents who attended the annual address at the Historic County Courthouse.
Bondi talked about people's unhappiness and disconnect "with all levels of government," regardless of how much it burdens their pocketbook. Putnam ranks second lowest in the state in terms of the county portion of a resident's tax bill — only 9.5 cents of every property-tax dollar funds county government — he said, yet residents express discontent .

"Government of the people, by the people and for people cannot continue to exist long with this level of distrust and dissatisfaction by those who are governed," he said.

School taxes are ills that need to be cured, said Legislator Sam Oliverio, D-Putnam Valley, and an assistant principal in Putnam Valley.

"One way to cure it ... is to consolidate the school districts in the county," he said.

While suggesting county government could be disbanded — only if county residents support the idea and acknowledging it could take years to implement — Bondi declined to say whether he still wanted to lead it.

His term ends Dec. 31 and he has yet to say whether he will run for a sixth. Political speculation has centered on him not running and state Sen. Vincent Leibell, R-Patterson, seeking the seat.

Asked if he wanted to be county executive next year, Bondi earlier responded, "I wouldn't be able to answer that question right now."

"We think this is the issue no matter who is here for the next State of the County address," he said.

He painted a challenging but also a somewhat positive financial picture for the county. Sales-tax revenues in 2009 declined $5.1 million compared to 2008 and property-tax revenues fell about $3.5 million as homeowners had trouble paying their taxes. But, he said, Putnam saved almost $8 million in operating expenditures in 2009 compared to the budgeted amount, "owing largely to (not filling) vacancies." Revenues for 2009 exceeded expenditures by $3.6 million.

Along with the future of county government, he wondered if the county needed 10 school districts; multiple police, fire and highway departments; and six towns and three villages. He said he will travel to each town in the coming weeks and urged county legislators to join him.

"This Legislature stands willing, ready and able to do whatever we need to do," said Chairman Vincent Tamagna, R-Philipstown.


ed krauss said...

Ifyou want to make a change for the better, opt for the type of municipal government which is most, not least, efficient.

Therefore, yo would eliminate TOWN government and choose village government which operates quantumly more efficiently.

Pick a village, any village in Greenburgh and quantify their 20 year record against that of the Feiner years.

First, they have managers who are trained managers.

Next you have mayors and trustees who are NOT carrer politicians, people who know the job they are vested with is to do the best for their village, NOT for getting reeleted.

Greenburgh politicians are ciphers whose sole goal is reelection.

Doing away with county government is another hairbrained idea with no analysis at all.

Rob Astorino was part of the group to do away with county government and I guess he's changed his mind.

Resident said...

Many many Greenburgh residents are without electricity. It will be cold tonight. Has Paul opened up the Town Hall with its emergency generator? What was the point of the generator? Has he demanded that Coned issue updates as to how much of Greenburgh has been restored. I do not appreciate the advice to stay home when I have no power.