Shared services group sees some common areas to pursue
SCHUYLER COUNTY--The state requirement for all New York counties to look at government services within a county that could be shared may already be finding some common ground again in Schuyler County.
County Administrator Tim O'Hearn said, "The Schuyler County Shared Service Panel (SSP) has met five times since its inception. Included in that number were three public hearings. The SSP however has enjoyed great representation from the municipal leaders with all municipalities participating. School districts were invited but did not participate. We began by documenting all of the existing consolidations and shared services, both county and non-county involved."
O'Hearn said from there the group brainstormed possible new initiatives. Subsequent meetings were devoted to discussion and analysis of these options and this list was whittled down as a result. The county administrator said from last week's meeting there are two substantive remaining items left to discuss: centralized code enforcement and consolidated purchasing.
O'Hearn added, at this point there is still support for centralized code enforcement with a local town taking the lead in coordinating and administering this service. While there does not appear to be great savings in code enforcement over current expenditure level, the group acknowledges this is an area in which more resources need to be devoted to in this county.
The administrator said this proposal would greatly increase staffing and public accessibility while providing uniform administration and enforcement of building codes throughout the county and centralization is deemed to be the most cost effective way to do so. The county would have no involvement beyond possibly providing space to operate from should it be needed. Additionally, having the county extend its purchasing department to towns, villages and fire districts still has support.
O'Hearn will submit a report to the county legislature by Aug. 1.