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County, schools start reviewing services

SCHUYLER COUNTY—Representatives from the the county government, municipalities, and school districts in Schuyler held their first joint meeting to review the organization and delivery of services, Tuesday, Jan. 8.
The officials were joined by Cornell University representatives who facilitated the session. Representatives from Watkins Glen, Odessa-Montour, and Bradford school districts were joined by members of the Schuyler County Council of Governments. Following the meeting, all parties reached a consensus to review services.
According to a joint statement from the meeting, the group will “continue its efforts to research options associated with alternative forms of administration and governance. It was also agreed that the process should be data driven to best determine objective and realistic options for leaders and the community to consider as we face our future. It is our hope that through collaboration and a unified vision for a strong and vibrant community these efforts will produce change that is both sustainable and replicable throughout the state.”
The statement points out local government and educational institutions are facing increasingly difficult financial challenges as growth in expenses continues to outpace revenue streams. The involved parties have decided they want to explore “different models of governance.”
Discussions are in the early stages between local government and educational leadership concerning bringing local leaders and community together to explore opportunities within Schuyler County to improve the delivery of public and educational services at reduced costs. The group states, “the concept of regional governance is a key area that we desire to explore and is a position also supported by the Council of Governments.” The statement adds, “as fiscal pressures increase we are finding that municipalities are much more inclined to consider that which previously would have seemed impossible, i.e. increased shared services, consolidations and mergers.”
“It’s a good thing we’re talking,” said Watkins Glen Superintendent Tom Phillips after the meeting.
He said they are “engaging the other stake holders.” Phillips explained their goal is to look at different models, such as shared services, consolidations and reorganization.
“The ultimate goal is to engage the community,” said Phillips.





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