Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Independence Day Photos and Coverage... City Council Meeting... News from the Governor's Office... Some Interesting and Pertinent Links... More

[Photo of Turtle from Forsyth Nature Center --- Forsythe Park (at the Independence Day Celebration 2009 Kingston Waterfront) / For More Photos from the Day... Please See Below!)


Don't forget the City Council Meeting starts at 7:30 PM tonight at City Hall! (They might not know it, but they need us! :)


Direct (copied and pasted ) from my E-Mail [condensed and revised very little for inclusion here] to you:


Governor David A. Paterson today announced the award of more than $1 million in Local Government Efficiency (LGE) program grants for the Hudson Valley area. The Governor made the announcement in Kingston at the Ulster County Highway Bridge Department, one of the LGE grant recipients, and was joined by Secretary of State Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez, Ulster County Executive Mike Hein, Ulster County Comptroller Elliot Auerbach and Kingston Mayor James Sottile. The LGE awards support projects that consolidate local government services to eliminate waste, make operations more effective and reduce costs. The Hudson Valley region was awarded 11 grants that total $1.35 million and are expected to save area taxpayers more than $6 million.

Ulster County, in partnership with seven additional municipalities, will receive $500,000 to help streamline highway maintenance services and is estimated to save taxpayers more than $4.7 million. The grant will help to reduce the duplication of highway maintenance activities, decreasing the need for equipment replacement, increasing energy efficiency and streamlining highway service delivery. With the funds, the County will have assistance as it develops the deployment of 241 highway vehicles that will be unrestricted by the jurisdictional boundaries.

'At a time of fiscal crisis, it is essential that we continue working to make New York more affordable for businesses and families. We need to reduce the property tax burden, and one way to do that is to modernize the delivery of local government services,' Governor Paterson said. 'The Local Government Efficiency Grant Program helps municipalities to invest in their future savings, consolidating services to reduce waste and improve operations. These shared-service programs are an effective cost-saving measure that helps us build sustainable, high-quality services that will benefit communities across the State.'

Secretary of State Cortés-Vázquez said: 'In this difficult time for all Americans, reducing expenses is as important on the State and local municipal level as it is for every household. Now, more than ever, New Yorkers must work together and support one another as we build a better, stronger future. Whether through the sharing of services or through consolidation, local municipalities continue to spend effectively to help control the rising cost of property taxes. These Local Government Efficiency grants will help New York’s local governments continue to find ways to become even more efficient and to effect the changes to help lower costs and lessen rising property taxes.'

Assemblyman Kevin Cahill said: 'The State can play a key role in providing real and long lasting property tax relief by assisting our schools and local governments with the resources, expertise and guidance they need to find ways to economize in the way we deliver services to the people of New York State. We will make significant progress towards addressing the property tax crisis by continuing to emphasize consolidations, shared services and innovative cost saving solutions like the ones announced today.'

Ulster County Executive Mike Hein said: 'Shared municipal services are important to taxpayers throughout New York State for one primary reason; it saves them money. This grant protects Ulster County taxpayers in this time of great need, ensures greater accountability and helps all local municipalities embrace the reality that we all serve the same taxpayer.'

More than $10 million will be distributed to 63 grant recipients across the State. New York’s taxpayers are projected to save $105 million. The LGE Program, which began in 2005, has already awarded $29 million in grants, producing an estimated savings of more than $250 million.

The announcement of the LGE grants is latest in a series of measures the Governor has taken to lower the cost of government, a priority of his Administration. Last month, he announced the creation of the Office of Taxpayer Accountability to manage efforts that reduce waste and fraud in State government. The Governor also signed the New York Government Reorganization and Citizen Empowerment Act to establish procedures for the consolidation and dissolution of special districts. Through these commitments, the Governor has applied administrative and legislative tools that will help to decrease spending, achieve reform and reduce property taxes.

'Our property taxes have skyrocketed to levels that discourage residents and businesses. True economic recovery will address the fiscal challenges we now face, but must also establish new standards that ensure we manage our spending at all levels of government, so as not to burden the people who work to make New York the Empire State,' Governor Paterson added.

Hudson Valley Local Government Efficiency Grant Recipients:

$481,012 for Ulster County in partnership with the Towns of Kingston, Esopus, Marbletown, New Paltz, Shandaken, and Shawangunk and the Village of Ellenville. The funds will be used to develop a more efficient process to for the deployment of their highway department apparatus. This project will reduce municipal costs by using Global Positioning Satellite systems (GPS) to determine vehicle location, speed and heading, allowing deployment of the closest vehicle for a situation.

$600,000 for the Village of Millbrook to fund shared water and sewer facilities and services, allowing the Village of Millbrook and the Town of Washington to develop a single water and sewer system. The grant will support the engineering and remediation activities needed for the joint water and sewer system.

$49,500 for the Town of New Paltz to fund a Municipal Shared Services and Consolidation Study. The Town and Village of New Paltz will assess potential municipal shared service and consolidation opportunities to improve governmental efficiency and lower taxes. This project will consider all potential governance models and incorporate recommendations that will produce better government for the benefit of all current and future citizens.

$47,990 for the Taconic Hills Central School District to fund a Multi-Municipal Park Maintenance Collaboration. The Taconic Hills Central School District and the neighboring Towns of Ancram, Copake and Hillsdale will begin implementation of a joint school district and municipal grounds maintenance program. $27,000 for the Nyack Union Free School District (UFSD) for the Rockland School Districts Pupil Transportation Consolidation Project. A coalition of Rockland County School Districts, including Nanuet UFSD, Nyack UFSD, Pearl River UFSD, and the South Orangetown CSD, will conduct a feasibility study to consolidate their pupil transportation services. $26,000 for the City of Middletown to fund the Orange Municipalities Health Benefits Consolidation Project. The Orange County municipalities of Middletown, Otisville and Wawayanda will identify options for the consolidation of municipal employee and retiree health benefits plans. The participating municipalities project that the study will result in significant reductions in health care benefits costs as well as enhanced access to quality health care services.

$26,000 for the Village of Ossining to fund a Shared and Consolidated Public Works and Highway Study. The Town of Ossining, the Village of Ossining and the Village of Briarcliff Manor will develop potential options to reduce public works and highway department costs, including full consolidation of departments. $25,000 for New Rochelle to fund the Technology Efficiency Project. The City of New Rochelle and School District of New Rochelle will develop the Technology Efficiency Project to identify cost efficiencies and service improvements through joint implementation of technology services. The feasibility study will assess the technology needs citywide and district wide, capital and operational outlays for technology services, procurement policies and practices and outline various models for the improved provision of technology services.

$25,000 for the Town of Chester to fund a Police Consolidation Study. The Town and Village of Chester will analyze police operations and potential areas for consolidation and shared services. The study will examine ways that more efficiently provide police services and increase the quality of service delivery while saving tax dollars. $24,750 for Greene County to fund Mountaintop Ambulance Shared Services Feasibility Study. Greene County with the towns of Ashland, Jewett, Lexington, Prattsville and Windham, will examine alternatives for improving ambulance service on the Mountaintop. Among other aspects, the study will look at cost reduction and service improvement.

$22,500 for the Town of Wappinger to fund a Shared Town/Village Highway Garage Feasibility Study. The Town of Wappinger and the Village of Wappinger Falls will develop plans and a feasibility study for shared highway services. The project will improve productivity and safety and may result in a full functional consolidation.

From: James Hanson (chamber@ny.gov)/ The Office of Governor David A. Paterson

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Some interesting links I came upon either yesterday or today:

Cash for Clunkers FAQ CARS Questions and Answers: http://www.cashforclunkersfacts.com/bill-faq

Can Expanding Food Stamps Jolt The Economy NPR:

Can We Cure the Ailing U.S. Health Care System:

CDC National Center for Environmental Health:

CDC Newsroom Press Release July 7, 2009:

Celebrating Title IX at 35 Enhancing Enforcement In a New Administration:

Chris Brown Gets Off Easy... Even Paris Hilton Got More Jail Time:

FDA Warns Not to Consume Two Liquid “Energy” Products:

NOW Activists Elect New President Terry O'Neill to Succeed Kim Gandy


And if you haven't checked this out (The turtle got me...) --- please do!

Forsyth Nature Center:


Truth, Peace, Love and Humane Justice,


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