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Yates and Schuyler Counties Consolidation

Written By: Asha McKenzie
Yates and Schuyler Counties Consoldation


WATKINS GLEN (WENY) -- The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce and the League of Women Voters of Schuyler County met with local leaders and businesses about the proposal.
     Similar population, similar demographic, and both in fiscal distress.
     County officials discussed the goals of the Yates and Schuyler study with business owners and county workers at a forum in Watkins Glen.
     "I guess the ultimate result for my business is to lower taxes," said Ted Marks, owner of Atwater Vineyards. "That's what I hope all this will do. And a much more efficient running government."
     Business owners say times are changing and it's important to prepare for the future.
     Others say they believe the merger makes sense.
     "As a social service agency we do work with a lot of the county government units," said Jeannette Frank, Executive Director at The ARC Schuyler. "So, we just want to make sure that the plans include, people with developmental disabilities."
     Dennis Fagan, Schuyler County Legislative Chairman says unfunded mandates in Albany drove them to this decision.
     "Well we're on a unsustainable path, as it pertains to providing services and maintaining reasonable tax rates to our tax payers," said Fagan.
     Both counties are looking for ways to improve their services and most importantly save money.
     But there are some concerns.
     "There's going to be a lot of regulatory hurdles to overcome , issues with labor unions, issues with sales tax revenue disbursement," said Fagan.
     The Center For Governmental Research us conducting the study, which is paid for with a 100-thousand dollar state grant, with a ten percent local share.
     Officials say lowering taxes is the driving force behind this discussion.
     "Any benefit, or any actions will result in a benefit in terms of delivery of services, cost deficiencies and effectiveness," said Tim O'Hearn, Schuyler County Administrator. "We won't do it unless that's an end result."