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Garnar Presents Shared Services Proposal to County Legislature

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Property tax is the largest tax burden to the New York tax payer, with the typical tax payer paying 2.5 times more in property taxes than income taxes. As part of a state-wide initiative, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo asked all County Executives to draft a shared service plan to find regular savings for property tax payers, in April.

Thursday, Broome County Executive Jason Garnar submitted his Shared Services plan to the County Legislature, identifying three key proposals that total savings of $20 million.

Garnar, along with other county officials, described the bulk of the savings from shared services would come from an investment into new emergency communication towers, which have the potential of saving Broome municipalities $18 million.

"The tower project will be an expense," said Jason Garnar, because the County must first purchase the new equipment. Helping to prevent communication loss between first-responders, as well saving on construction cost.  

The second proposal would include roughly 6,400 County and SUNY employees partnering together in a health consortium, saving $1 million in the first year. "With the rising cost of health care, it's the county's priority to manage that cost, allowing to aggregate purchasing power to reduce spending of prescription prices," said Risk Manager Thomas Dellapenna.

The third shared services proposal partners Broome Department of Social Services and the Binghamton School District. Garnar said Binghamton City schools needed to hire caseworkers, "We realized [Broome] could hire them and get 2/3 of the cost matched by the government."

A plan, similar to the one already in place that allows Districts to hire resource officers through Broome's DA office, saving $250,000 a year.

Eleven more proposals were included in the 2017 Shared Services plan, but Garnar says the $20 million in savings will not immediately show up on your property taxes,"is it going to immediately cut your taxes? No, but over the years it will make it easier to reduce the tax prudent," said Jason Garnar.

Over the next few weeks, the Broome County Legislature will discuss and make suggestions on Garnar's Shared Services plan before submitting the proposal to NY Finances.

A completed vote is needed by September 15. If the proposal is not approved, NY State law requires the county to repeat the shared service proposal again in 2018.