Counties in the New, April 14, 2017

Friday's news from counties across the state.
Victims of our own success
“From our perspective, each and every day that officials go to work, they're there to deliver the most efficient form of governmental services they possibly can,” said Stephen Acquario, a lawyer and director of the New York State Association Of Counties.  “It's inherent in the position itself.”
What leadership in New York State often has to deal with at the local level – which the state seems to overlook – is the very nature of how the regions they govern are organized. It all goes back to the years following the Revolutionary War where, to repay its soldiers, state governments created a grid of towns and 100 acre tracts within those towns which later, became the basis of the local tax structure: a system intended to provide local services within a particular, convenient boundary that was easily understood.
But over time, as American life became more complicated, how things were funded and how the structures of government were maintained began to outgrow the town and county system, blurring the lines between what roles individual municipalities should play and what they shouldn't. What partly caused this is New York State's tradition as a “home-rule state,” a protection under the constitution which dictates that as long as state or federal law isn't breached, village, town and city governments can govern themselves as they see fit. Oftentimes, this means the “inefficient” practice of maintaining their own town governments, their own highway departments, sometimes even their own police force. 
But to save money, like is done in many cases throughout the state, these governments often look to other towns – or other counties – to see what can be shared between them, like the trend of school districts replacing school houses in the early-20th century, for instance, or Tompkins County creating a risk pool for health insurance encapsulating the public employees of six surrounding counties with its public health consortium, a critically acclaimed healthcare structure in government circles.
“It's well-settled in the state that we are a ‘home rule' state,” Acquario said. “What's not well-settled is how it happened. From my perspective, the establishment of the towns, the cities, the counties, was largely organized as taxing jurisdictions to respond to local and community-based needs that the state of New York was not providing.”

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County health department celebrates 75 years of service

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Lorigo secures support for Meals on Wheels, HEAP

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NCCC named second best community college in New York

Poloncarz joins in preparations for Armed Forces Week

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