Onondaga County leaders sign off on shared services plan

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Onondaga County leaders have signed off on a new shared services plan. The agreement involves the county, city of Syracuse, 15 villages and 19 towns.

Many of those areas were represented at the table Wednesday morning for one final vote. The agreement was passed, and includes dozens of cost-cutting measures; however, it will be up to each individual municipality to follow through.

“The reason it's not binding is because it doesn't usurp the power of the county legislature, the town and village boards or the city council,” Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney said. "So the things we've agreed on as the leaders of those municipalities we now take to our legislative boards to create inter-municipal agreements and contracts and make it all legal. But I think we will have almost 100 percent of what we agreed to today."

Some of the changes that were agreed upon include:

The county, city and Syracuse School District want to combine their Medicare coverage plans to move under one provider. Towns and villages will also be able to join on.  The estimated savings of that move alone is between $2 and $4 million.

Onondaga County and Salina have proposed the construction of a single highway facility that they would share, rather than each building their own. The estimated savings there is $2.4 million over the next 20 years.

OCM BOCES and its member districts have proposed building a transportation hub to bus students -- who are not in public schools.

The plan also calls for the creation of the Greater Syracuse Shared Services Council, a nine person board that would seek out money saving opportunities.

One idea that did not make the final cut was the town of Manlius' proposal of consolidating all local courts. That was removed following the first public meeting.

So what's in it for for taxpayers?

"What is significant is the potential that it holds for the community," Mahoney said. "And separate from that, there's $5 million in savings and then a $5 million match from the state."

The county would receive that match only if everything in the plan is implemented. That grant money could come as soon as the beginning of 2019. A formal presentation will be held on the shared services agreement in the coming month.

For more information, visit www.ongov.net/sharedservicesplan

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