On April 17th, Assemblywoman Sandy Galef launched the Shared Services Task Force of the 90th Assembly District. The group is made up of residents from municipalities throughout Galef’s district who are interested in learning from one another about grassroots efforts they can take to streamline and possibly consolidate functions, departments, and purchasing in government entities and school districts.
Galef’s task force is one effort of many which she has taken towards finding ways for local governments and school districts to cut costs without impacting service delivery. “I am grateful that federal stimulus money has helped us close one of the worst budget deficits our state has faced in its history,” remarked Galef. “Nevertheless, I realize that more must be done towards cutting back on the cost of doing business at the state and local levels so we can reduce taxes for our residents. The economic downturn is a perfect opportunity to ask the tough questions and start turning around some of our bloated and outdated practices in government.”
Members of the task force represent a wide variety of groups such as local taxpayer watchdog groups, statewide property tax reform groups, and a newly forming Ossining/Briarcliff shared services study group. Other members are school board trustees, municipal trustees, a representative from the office of NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, and people from private industry. All are interested in finding ways for governments or school districts to reduce wasteful practices and systems that have been part of the culture of local governments in New York since the 19th century.
“The vast majority of people in my district are not happy about the taxes they pay,” said Galef, “and think that there are wasteful practices in government that should be modified. This group gives individuals the opportunity to learn and work together to reform government at the grassroots level, which has the potential to really impact the bottom line.”
Galef’s group will explore various aspects of government spending, with guests invited to address specific areas of interest the group has identified. The hope is that these guests can illuminate the task force members about the pros and cons of service consolidation and obstacles to achieving more sharing.
Attention will be focused primarily on local and county governments and the municipal services they provide, although topics will undoubtedly overlap into school district territory as well. Some areas of concern raised at the first meeting that require further study were police forces, highway superintendents, purchasing, negotiations, tax assessments and collection and capital expenditures.
The assemblywoman welcomes any interested individuals to join the task force. For more information or to join the group, contact Galef’s Chief of Staff Dana Levenberg at (914) 941-1111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.