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Tupper Lake receives consolidation grants for water/sewer

TUPPER LAKE — The town was awarded two $20,000 Citizens Reorganiz-ation Empowerment Grants from the Department of State’s Local Government Efficiency Program.

The town will use the grants to assist in funding separate studies for consolidation of sewer and water districts and review of its impact, Town Supervisor Patricia Littlefield said.

“The town of Tupper Lake is very pleased to have been awarded these two grants to study consolidation of our 23 sewer and 27 water districts,” Littlefield said. “This study will hopefully assist us with combining several or more districts which will relieve some dedicated time in tracking and accounting for the large number of districts we now have. We look forward to working with the Department of State on this project and on future endeavors to benefit local government and the taxpayer of Tupper Lake as a whole.”

The CREG grants will allow the town to develop a consolidation report that includes a district user cost analysis, an assets and real property assessment, a district financial summary, an analysis of district fund balances and outstanding debts and legal issues and impediments to consolidation.

Littlefield said the town is entrusting the studies to the Development Authority of the North Country, as the organization is experienced in the area, and it will be the town’s first professional consolidation studies.

The town contracted with DANC in July 2016 for two $40,000 studies, each divided into $35,000 for DANC fees and $5,000 in legal fees, with expectations to receive some reimbursement from the empowerment grant.

The studies, which the town expects to take a year, will be used to determine potential financial savings, management improvements and service delivery changes resulting from consolidation.

“The public will be made aware and kept abreast of all aspects of the project as we move forward,” Littlefield said.

The department awarded a total of $245,000 to seven towns and municipalities to implement consolidation, streamline government operations and reduce resident taxes.

“The Department of State is committed to assisting municipalities across the State in their efforts to consolidate, share services and reduce duplicative local government services to achieve cost-savings for their taxpayers,” said New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado, in a statement. “These villages and towns are taking steps toward simpler, more cost-efficient government, while continuing to provide valuable services.”

CREG is a component of the Local Government Efficiency Program, which provides local governments with funding, and technical support for municipal reorganizations and is managed by the New York Department of State’s Division of Local Government Services. 

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