Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone this week announced a series of community meetings in July that will be held as part of the statewide Shared Services Initiative to solicit best practices and input from residents across the county. The series of community meetings are voluntary and are in addition to the three public hearings that the county is required to hold by August 1. The voluntary meetings — which will be held in East Hampton, Southampton, Babylon and Huntington — are part of the county’s effort to encourage feedback.
“Sharing services is about collaboration with all levels of government so that we can identify ways to achieve long-term savings, streamline bureaucracy, and reduce the tax burden for our residents,” said Mr. Bellone in a release. “I believe Suffolk County can be a statewide model on this important measure and I encourage all residents to attend a meeting in their community.”
“While Suffolk County and local municipalities have been sharing services for decades, this new initiative provides us with the opportunity to expand these efforts in a comprehensive, organized and efficient manner in order to achieve real savings on an ongoing basis,” added Suffolk County Deputy County Executive Jon Kaiman, who is heading up the effort on behalf of Mr. Bellone. “The community meetings will help us develop our plan in a manner consistent with the input and expectations of our residents and municipal leaders.”
As part of the statewide Shared Services Initiative that was signed into law earlier this year, county, town and village officials are statutorily required to vote on a plan that would propose new intermunicipal actions and save taxpayers money through efficient and coordinated shared services. The state law requires Suffolk County to submit a localized savings plan to the Suffolk County Legislature by August 1. Once recommendations are received and modifications are made to the plan, the Suffolk Shared Services Panel must vote on the plan no later than September 15.
The panel is comprised of the county executive, town supervisors and village mayors.
If the plan is approved, Suffolk County municipalities would be able to receive one-time matching funds from New York State. The certified savings from the new actions implemented on or after January 1, 2018, are eligible for the matching funds.
Locally, meetings will be held on Monday, July 10, at 11 a.m., at East Hampton Town Hall and at 6 p.m. at Southampton Town Hall.
Residents and municipal employees have been encouraged to log onto the New York Department of State’s Shared Services Initiative website at ny.gov/programs/shared-services-initiative to learn more about the program.