Direct tax relief will occur over the next two years for many residents due to the recent submission of an Erie County-wide efficiency plan to New York State as part of the state’s Property Tax Cap Freeze Credit Program.
The efficiency plan includes shared services and cooperative agreements with 38 local governments which have in the past and will continue in the future to save taxpayers approximately $20 million per year. Once approved by the state, homeowners in the participating towns and villages will receive rebate checks because of the hard work of many. I want to thank the town supervisors, village mayors and their staff members, as well as the staff in the County’s budget office, for their help over the past few months in helping to coordinate this effort. We also had the support of the Association of Erie County Governments as everyone went the extra mile to ensure that as many of our residents as possible receive tax rebate checks starting in the fall of 2016.
The efficiency plan demonstrates my administration’s commitment to streamlining programs and sharing services to create a better government for all. Included in the plan are county based initiatives such as renegotiating labor contracts so that they include health care concessions, establishing our Medicaid Anti-Fraud Unit, reopening a public health clinic thanks to a unique public-private partnership and creating a first-of-its-kind land bank with the cities of Buffalo, Lackawanna and Tonawanda. In addition, local towns and villages have been able to save taxpayers money through the elimination of duplicate positions by approving shared services agreements, exploring their options on how to provide more efficient sanitation services and joining cooperatives that help to reduce expenses related to health care and insurance.
It should be noted that this efficiency plan only includes our efforts to save taxpayer dollars since Jan. 1, 2012, which was the effective date of the state’s Property Tax Cap. There are numerous other examples of cooperative agreements and shared services that were implemented in the past that still produce real savings for the citizens of Erie County. Working together, we have created something special that helps ensure taxpayers receive the rebates they are entitled to.
The efficiency plan represents municipal cooperation that has not been previously seen in our region. County officials rolled up their sleeves and joined with nearly every local town and village to compile a true county-wide plan that demonstrates over six dozen examples of efforts to streamline programs and share services. In short, we have crunched the numbers and made decisions that will ensure that taxpayers are truly getting the best “bang for their buck.” The magnitude of savings we have achieved proves that Erie County should be looked at as THE model of cooperation and efficiency not only here in Western New York but across the entire state.