In the draft Utica Master Plan's "Housing and Neighborhood Development" section, "Goal 10" is to "Provide the highest level of public safety for the residents of Utica." . . . . But to fulfill an underlying "objective" of "Efficiently deliver public safety resources to the neighborhoods of Utica," the Master Plan proposes to:
"Perform a shared services consolidation study to understand how emergency services, particularly fire and EMS, could be shared with neighboring communities." (p.35)How does sharing services with neighboring communities efficiently deliver public safety resources to the neighborhoods of Utica? Why is delivery of services to neighboring communities even part of the UTICA Master Plan?
The "Infrastructure and Waterfront Development" section sounds a similar theme:
"GOAL 5: Adopt shared services consolidation agreements for road and sewer maintenance with neighboring communities . . ."
"Perform a shared services consolidation study to understand how road and sewer maintenance services could be shared with neighboring communities . . ." . . .
"Bring City of Utica and neighboring municipalities together to discuss collaboration and cooperation to determine the best ways to serve the area." (Page 88).Whose Master Plan is this, anyway? Utica's? or the "Mohawk Valley's"?
Long-time readers of this Blog understand the relationship between the cost of services and population density: that municipal services are delivered efficiently only when the population is concentrated into a compact area . . . and that the per capita cost of services should increase the further people are spaced from each other and the further they are from the population center.
A consolidation will save suburban jurisdictions money because they will be come part of a larger organization. But what about Utica residents?
If Utica services are spread into outlying areas, overall costs for the services will increase at a greater rate than the added number of new customers would justify because the new customers will be located further away and spaced further apart (i.e., they are more costly to serve). Utica residents, thus, could expect their taxes and various user fees to increase to subsidize services to suburban locations. This subsidy will make it easier for people and businesses to leave the City of Utica for suburban locations. That would reduce population density within Utica and increase costs to Utica residents for OTHER services that are not "shared." Utica will continue to become smaller and poorer.
These "shared services" ideas make sense for persons in the suburbs, but they are nonsense for Uticans. Utica residents will wind up giving and giving to help neighboring communities (like they already have been with water and sewer charges), but get zilch in return.
Who came up with these ideas? What is their agenda?