Local governments should take note of a state grant fund that could bring in millions of dollars.
The state is offering a $40 million grant fund for local governments that have shown recurring savings for taxpayers from streamlined operations and innovative cost-cutting projects.
The governor and state Legislature established the fund in the 2011-12 state budget. The money is available through the Local Government Performance and Efficiency Program.
The grant fund provides incentives for local government to reduce the burden on taxpayers.
Projects eligible for awards must have begun on or after Jan. 1, 2010. Winning applicants will receive as much as $25 per resident, up to a maximum of $5 million.
The $40 million fund is available to counties, cities, towns and villages, which may apply individually or jointly. The amount of an award will be based on the municipality's population and the percentage of fiscal effect on the applicant's total government expenditures.
Many officials are praising the program. In a news release, Stephen J. Acquario, executive director of the New York State Association of Counties, said, "These 'excellence in government' grants will recognize local governments which have stood up for their taxpayers and found smart, more efficient ways to keep costs under control."
The program should serve as a reminder to localities of how important it is for them to cut costs and save taxpayers money by consolidating operations, sharing services with neighboring municipalities and running more efficiently.
We encourage our localities to review their cost-saving projects and consider applying for this grant. The application deadline is July 25. More information is available at www.dos.ny.gov/funding.