In accordance with the Shared Services Law, a draft of the Erie County Shared Services Plan was submitted to the Legislature on July 31, 2017 ahead of the August 1, 2017 deadline. You can read a copy of the letter sent to the Legislature with the Panel's submission below:
TEXT OF JULY 31ST LETTER
Dear Honorable Legislators:
As you may know, the FY 2018 New York State Budget includes a new Shared Services Initiative designed to generate property tax savings by facilitating operational collaboration between local governments. The Initiative establishes a Shared Services Panel in each county across the state, chaired by the Chief Executive Officer of the County.
The Panel, made up of every mayor and supervisor of the three (3) cities, twenty-five (25) towns and sixteen (16) villages along with Erie County, has been tasked with creating a Countywide Shared Services Tax Saving Plan (“Plan”) which must contain new recurring property tax savings to be achieved through actions such as, but not limited to, the elimination of duplicative services, shared services, the reduction of back-office administrative overhead, and the improved coordination of services.
The State has set a strict timeline for the creation and approval of the Plan by county Shared Service Panels in which a final Plan must be voted on, approved and disseminated with certification of the property tax savings set forth therein no later than September 15, 2017. However, the law also specifies that the proposed Plan must also be submitted to your Honorable Body no later than August 1, 2017.
For reference, below is Part BBB of Chapter 59 of the Laws of 2017, Section 4, b & c which states (a copy of the entire law is included as an attachment):
Section 4b. The chief executive officer of the county shall submit such property tax savings plan to the county legislative body no later than August first, two thousand seventeen. Such property tax savings plan shall be accompanied by a certification as to the accuracy of the savings contained therein.
c. The county legislative body shall review and consider the county-wide shared services plan submitted to it in accordance with paragraph b of this subdivision. A majority of the members of such body may issue an advisory report making recommendations as deemed necessary. The chief executive officer may make modifications to the plan based on such recommendations. If modifications are made by the chief executive officer, he or she shall produce an updated certification as to the accuracy of the savings contained therein.
Approval and final edits of the proposed plan’s initiatives was accomplished by the undersigned, town supervisors and city and village mayors on Friday, July 28, 2017. As such, please find a copy of the proposed Erie County Shared Savings Plan.
Panel members have worked diligently since our initial Panel meeting on May 17th to develop a number of new initiatives contained within this proposed Plan. Given the incredibly short time frame and the requirement that I certify as to the accuracy of savings estimates, the Plan is divided into two sections: (1) Initiatives that have been developed and detailed to a degree that we are comfortable believing they could be implemented in the coming year and we are comfortable certifying the accuracy of estimated savings for 2018 and 2019 as is required; and (2) Initiatives worthy of inclusion in the Shared Service Plan that by their nature would not be reasonably implemented in the coming year and/or could not be explored thoroughly enough within the deadlines set by the State to be able to certify the accuracy of any savings estimates. These are items that participating Panel members are committed to continue exploring as we go forward with efforts to implement initiatives included in this Plan.
The Erie County Shared Services Panel is pleased that its deliberations have identified more than 20 specific initiatives that, if implemented, would save local taxpayers nearly $5 million a year with another eight (8) initiatives we are committed to exploring further that could save millions more. While the anticipated savings are not of the magnitude of the many consolidations, cooperative efforts and shared services undertaken or identified previously among Erie County’s governments, this Plan contains entirely new initiatives that may realize entirely new savings above and beyond those already achieved through prior efforts.
We encourage your Honorable Body to review the proposed Erie County Shared Services Plan and if you do desire (though not required) offer any comments you may have to the undersigned by September 1, 2017, so that the Panel may comply with State Law by voting on, and approving, a final plan before September 15, 2017. In the meantime, should you have any additional questions regarding the Erie County Shared Services Panel or Plan please contact the undersigned or visit our website at www.erie.gov/sharedservices.
Mark C. Poloncarz, Esq.
Erie County Executive