FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Justin Meyers
SUPERVISOR JON KAIMAN INVITED GUEST AT MEETING OF THE NEW YORK STATE COMMISSION ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT EFFICIENCY AND COMPETITIVENESS
(Uniondale, NY July 25) – North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman was the only Town Supervisor in New York state to be invited to testify, on July 25th at a meeting of the New York State Commission on Local Government Efficiency and Competitiveness held at Hofstra University in Uniondale, New York. In his remarks, Supervisor Kaiman, strongly endorsed the purpose of the Commission to advance partnerships among state and local governments to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of local governments.
“North Hempstead could serve as the poster child for validating this Commission’s mission,” Kaiman said. “Our Town has over 100 municipal governments within its borders, including 31 villages, 14 school districts, and approximately 60 special districts, associations and authorities. In some ways we benefit from this specialization, in some ways we are hurt by it, and always we pay for it.”
The Supervisor told the Members of the Commission that he had made resolving the problems inherent in such specialization “the number one priority of my administration.” He reminded the Commissioners that he had established a separate Office of Intermunicipal Coordination in the Town of North Hempstead charged with developing functioning agreements with the villages and districts to reduce the incidence of duplication of services and such duplication’s burden on the local taxpayer.
“The Town has been aggressively and selectively partnering with villages and special districts in the field of emergency management, local services, and most recently by calling a sewer summit,” Kaiman said.
“Over the past two years, the Town has been gearing up to allow it to better analyze special district budgeting and operating procedures, Kaiman added. “We are now in a position to have special district commissioners come to the Town to hear analysis and recommendations from our professional staff, as opposed to merely accepting the documentation provided by the particular district. Indeed, our experimental stage is now over, and we are entering into a new phase in our relationship with special districts. The Town will be starting its budget process earlier than usual so that we can spend the month of August meeting with special district commissioners in order to offer a comprehensive critique of each of their budgets.”
Kaiman pointed out that in Fiscal Year 2006, Town revenue from intermunicipal agreements accounted for $400-thousand, while saving villages and special districts more than $1-million in taxpayer money.
The Commission on Local Government Efficiency and Competitiveness was established by Governor Spitzer as part of an effort to streamline government—and therefore its cost—at every level. New York’s local tax burden is the highest in the United States, which negatively impacts the quality of life in its communities. One factor contributing to the high cost of government is the multiplicity of local governments that has evolved over the centuries, numbering more than 4,200 in New York State.
Supervisor Kaiman concluded his remarks by repeating comments he had made in his annual State of the Town Address earlier this year: “I believe we need to grow the dialogue between municipal entities. We need to find efficiencies, share services, share information, and learn from one another. We need to work with one another as if we were one government. We need to be transparent in our budgeting and decision-making so that people have confidence in the way we spend money and make decisions. We need to be accessible and responsive and document what we do and when we do it. And, we need to put in place a mechanism and process to achieve these goals.”