Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hope for Change . . .

Two small statements in two separate editorials in today's OD provide two tiny instances of hope that local leaders are finally waking up to the importance of Utica to the viability of the surrounding area, and that the structure of local government no longer makes sense. A third article provides the evidence that reorganization is needed.

In Guest view: Oneida County Democrats won’t be silent minority County Legislator Frank Tallarino of Rome said:
Consolidation is the most attractive and the best way to save money. But you are preaching to the choir. County government welcomes consolidation; the towns and villages have difficulty relinquishing the power and jobs they have held for decades.

Along with the suburban expansion that has crippled the cities — particularly Utica — there is the financial burden of maintaining town and village governments. Every town has expanded toward its villages or city and the number of government entities exist are an outrage.

In Our view: Redistricting Oneida County worth study, in reference to a parochial mindset the OD editors state :
The Charter Reform Commission’s proposal to extend county districts in the city of Utica into neighboring municipalities could be a key step in reshaping this attitude. Clearly the city of Utica shares commonality with many of the towns it borders, and broadening those districts only makes sense. Contrary to what some might believe, the health and stability of the city of Utica have a direct effect on its suburbs. When the city suffers, it hurts us all.
These views should provide the lens through which county policies must be reexamined . . . not with an eye toward further expanding county government to assume traditional city/town/village services (such as 911, sewage, water, and garbage services) , but rather, to discern where the county government has enabled parochial interests to continue to exist by providing such services in place of (and which would be better managed by) an enlarged local government. . . with an eye to eventually withdrawing from them.

In Sewer fees sore point for suburbs we see more "enablement" of parochial interests at the direction of the county. The county intends to collect a fee that will be used to partially defray local sewer repair costs, but hasn't figured out yet just what it will spend the money on. What seems to be happening is more redistribution of costs from one community to another -- with the County acting as arbiter and Utica, because it is the population center, being the ultimate piggybank (loser) as usual.

The County also hasn't figured out what it will do if local communities do not implement the fee, preferring to "cross that bridge" when it gets to it.

All this should have been thought about before the Consent Order was signed -- as pointed out in this blog. Figuring things out along the way, however, is the typical approach around here and ultimately creates more problems down the road, such as those described in today's article.

And why not do it this way? What ever the county legislators decide, half of them are unaffected because their constituents aren't in the sewer district. . . . "Let the other guys decide when they have to do something" seems to be the thought process . . . but by then, the options have become limited.

We (Utica, NH, Whitestown, Marcy, Deerfield, NYMills, Whitesboro, Yorkville, Oriskany, NH Village, Clayville) all share a sewer system largely controlled by outsiders. This makes no sense! We also share a water system. There should be 1 municipality controlling this, allowing everyone in the district to share the costs, the control, and the benefits:
The Municipality of Greater Utica.


Anonymous said...

As I have said for years, it's time to eliminate the bureaucracy of the County Executive's office. We no longer need it. It's a good start. Now, make each county legislator more visible and accountable to his/her constituents.

Greens and Beans said...

Government consolidation is a good notion contingent upon having competent leadership. One could only imagine how much deeper this region would find itself if the consolidated government were controlled by any one of the above mentioned local government administrations. The present system of multiple governments and school districts has become too cumbersome for the taxpayers to support. This area is suffering from the political patronage quid pro quo system that, exemplified by a dwindling job market and a hemorrhaging population loss, ensures the return of incompetent and often lazy incumbent elected officials.

To address some of the massive problems that face this area, the new consolidated governing entity will need to abolish all of the public authorities. These authorities are largely not directly answerable to the public. This is why we often find these authorities haphazardly spending tax dollars at will. For this area to survive the many municipal tribulations it finds itself dealing with, this newly consolidated governing entity begs to be operated by a professional government management team that can provide the competence in terms of the precise managerial expertise needed to combat the specialized areas of concern that have been mandated to provide acute attention to their resolution. It will almost assuredly be opposed by those politicians and political hacks who will continue to gain by the status quo of this failing system, but I firmly believe that a professional government management team may be the only salvation for this area’s survival.

Anonymous said...

I didn't hear a peep about Picents cutting his executive office budget. Why not? Picente wants the taxpayers to sacrifice. It's about time he started to do the same. I'd like to know what it's costing the taxpayers of this county to provide Picents his perks in the county building.