Kingston, NY - County Executive Mike Hein congratulated the Town of Saugerties today for passing a Resolution of Support for an inter-municipal shared services cooperative agreement to provide winter snow removal and summer light maintenance for county-owned roads. The board voted unanimously in favor of the measure, becoming the first town in Ulster County to pass a resolution in support of the new shared services program.
“I want to commend the Saugerties leadership for their commitment to streamlining services and save taxpayers’ money,” said County Executive Hein. “We look forward to partnering with more towns as we work to redefine government and put the taxpayer’s first. The fact is the status quo is unsustainable.”
This milestone was the result of inclusive bi-weekly meetings where members of the County Executive’s Staff, County Legislature, Ulster County Association of Town Supervisors, Ulster County Highway Superintendents Association, Pattern for Progress, and the Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach (CRREO) of SUNY New Paltz met to develop a shared municipal services program and create a true win-win for county residents. This innovative program calls for the partial decentralization of highway services from the county to the towns.
County Executive Hein added, “This initiative will reduce duplication and provide better services to our collective taxpayers. When this plan is completed, no longer will residents see a municipal snowplow drive with its plow up over an unplowed road simply because it’s not their road.”
The Town of Saugerties has 118 single-lane miles of town-owned roads and 34 single-lane miles of county-owned roads. Saugerties has the most single-lane miles of county roads in Ulster County. By entering into this shared services agreement with Ulster County, the Town of Saugerties will increase its revenues during a time when expenditures have been rising and revenues are down creating a benefit for both town and county taxpayers. According to the resolution, the Supervisor now has the authority “to engage in negotiations and discussions with the county to review and execute, if necessary, a shared service cooperative arrangement.”
Supervisor Helsmoortel said, “This initiative is the future of government. We have a responsibility to the taxpayers in Saugerties and the county to do what is in their best interest. The County Executive’s process in creating this program was a collaborative effort between proven professional organizations, county and town officials. I specifically want to thank County Executive Hein and Town of Saugerties Highway Superintendent Bernie Ellsworth for their innovative approach to shared government services.”
President and CEO of Patterns for Progress Jonathan Drapkin said,“Among the ideas coming from Ulster’s 24 municipalities in our Shared Services study, decentralizing highway service delivery was a standout. This model can improve service and savings for both towns and the county. We applaud Saugerties for taking the lead, and, given New York’s current state of fiscal uncertainty, we expect more towns to adopt this winning formula soon.”
CRREO Director & Associate VP for Regional Engagement Gerald Benjamin said, “I am delighted that Saugerties has signed on to a collaborative approach to highway maintenance. This will save money for both the county and the town and improve service to our residents. I expect and hope there will be many more announcements like this. It reflects the foreword thinking that the people of Saugerties recently showed by combining police services. This demonstrates true leadership by the County Government and Town Board for all of Ulster County.
”In May of 2008, Ulster County, along with participating towns, sought and received a $261,000 NYS Department of State grant for the largest shared municipal services study in the history of Ulster County. The study looked at potential savings in a number of key areas including highway services.