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State Legislature OKs bill to help shrink local government

June 4, 2009
By JESSICA COLLIER, Enterprise Staff Writer

The law that would make it easier for local governments to consolidate, as has been discussed in many Adirondack villages and towns, is close to becoming a law.

The New York Government Reorganization and Citizen Empowerment Act passed through the state Assembly on Monday with a vote of 118 to 26, and state Senate Wednesday with a 46 to 16 vote. It now must go to Gov. David Paterson's desk to be signed.

Dan Mac Entee, spokesman for State Sen. Betty Little of Queensbury, said there was no word yet on when the bill would be sent to Paterson.

"(This bill) removes cumbersome barriers and encourages efficiency with the goal of better, less costly government," said Little in a statement. "Simply put, it's about saving taxpayer dollars."

The bill would reduce the number of signatures needed for residents to petition muncipalities to consolidate, which is the course of action Tupper Lake and Lake Placid would take to consolidate with their corresponding towns, or annex property, which is what would happen if the village of Saranac Lake were extended to include Harrietstown.

It would also do away with a requirement that the village involved initiate the merger.

"Having chaired the Senate Local Government Committee for several years, I know how needlessly confusing our municipal laws are," said Little in a statement. "This complexity helps no one and, instead, makes it difficult for local governments and the taxpayers they serve to adapt to changing times."

Little is ranking Republican on the Senate Local Government Committee and was one of the Senate sponsors of the bill. It was co-sponsored by committee Chairwoman Andrea Stewart-Cousins, D-Yonkers.

The bill was introduced by state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.


Contact Jessica Collier at 891-2600 ext. 25 or



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