The Recorder

Second shared services plan hearing quiet

By MORGAN FRISCH

Recorder News Staff

FONDA — One person attended the second public hearing regarding the state mandated County-Wide Shared Service Plan on Wednesday.

The meeting took place at 2:30 p.m. in the legislative chambers of the Montgomery County Office Building. Following suit with Tuesday’s public hearing, which took place in the Social Services Satellite Office conference room at the Riverfront Center in Amsterdam, Montgomery County Senior Planner William Roehr was available for questions. Montgomery County Communications Specialist Andrew Santillo, Director of Labor Management Karl Gustafson and the Clerk of the Legislature Cheryl Reese were also present.

Norman Bollen, chairman of the Fort Plain Museum Board of Directors and founder of Mohawk Country, was in the audience.

“I just heard a lot of things about this and wanted to keep up to date,” he said.

Roehr gave an overview of the County-Wide Shared Service Plan, and how it relates to the Municipal Consolidation and Efficiency Plan (MCEP), through which the county was one of six finalists to compete for a $20 million state prize. The county submitted its more than 500-page application on June 28

“We used everything that we had developed, we were very lucky, under the Municipal Consolidation and Efficiency competition,” Roehr said. “We used that as the basis for this and then added in a few other things that we are going to be doing as well.”

Several of the county-wide initiatives in the shared service plan include court consolidation, county department consolidation, electronic records management, assessment and a consolidated repair facility. Roehr also mentioned incorporating a “DSS to work initiative,” after the success the Job Readiness Pilot Program had earlier this year.

Bollen said he’s curious of how Monday’s public hearing will go. The third public hearing is scheduled for Sept. 11 at 6 p.m. in the Canajoharie Village Hall.

Montgomery County Executive Matthew Ossenfort said previously he expects a bigger turnout for that public hearing because there is discussion of the potential dissolution of the Village of Canajoharie into the town and law enforcement consolidation.

Shared services plans that create actual savings may be eligible for a one-time match of the net savings through the shared services plan. There needs to be a public presentation of the plan by Oct. 15. The public hearings will satisfy the county’s requirement as far as the shared services panel goes. The panel consists of the mayor of each city or village and the supervisor of each town in the county, according to the state.

“I was talking to Matt Ossenfort last night and he’s very much focused on Montgomery County really being ahead on this,” Roehr said. “For the lack of a better term, being the poster child for efficiency, for sharing of services, for consolidation and not for consolidation for consolidation sake, but to ensure that we can collectively as a host of governments provide the services that are now being provided and keep those services reasonably affordable.”