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County will seek consolidation consultants

YATES COUNTY—The Yates County Legislature will be submitting requests for proposals (RFP) inviting qualified consultants to conduct a shared services study. County Administrator Sarah Purdy informed the government operations committee during their meeting Monday, Feb. 10 about the next steps the county has to take before conducting the study. She said the county will be seeking consultants to submit proposals on an assessment of options for collaboration between the two counties ranging from functional shared services to full consolidation.
Purdy said Schuyler County is waiting for Yates to sign off on the RFPs. Purdy said the only reason Schuyler is waiting on Yates is because their process works differently than Yates.
“This really moves us in a direction we need to go,” Committee Chairman Morris said. “Going through this step is going to put us in a better condition.”
Purdy said the talks about a consolidation study began in 2012 when Yates County was facing a double-digit tax levy increase for 2013. She said at this time Schuyler County was also realizing their budget issues as well. Purdy said she met with Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn about consolidating services and realized the two counties had much in common. Purdy said this is a unique opportunity to delve into how the counties do things to see if they would be able to cooperate on anything.
“We are all in this as one team,” Purdy said. “Whatever we can take a look at is worth taking a look at.”
Purdy added the twist is Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed tax cap freeze requires municipal consolidation by the second year. She said she has no reason to believe consolidation that crosses county lines would not count.
Purdy said the counties will have another joint management team meeting coming up in March. She said each county will also need four members of each legislature to form a steering committee for the study. Legislators Bill Holgate, Dan Banach, Tim Dennis, Mark Morris and James Smith all expressed interest in potentially serving on the steering committee.
The resolution to approve submitting the RFPs was acted on during a special meeting of the legislature Tuesday, Feb. 11. The result of the vote was unavailable by press time.







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