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Shared services panel opt not to create 2019 plan

Will continue from 2018 plan

Fulton County Adminisrative Officer Jon Stead, left, and Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Wilson, right, lead the Fulton County Shared Services Panel meeting Monday at the County Office Building. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — The Fulton County Shared Services Panel decided Monday not to produce a new plan for 2019, opting instead to continue work on one started in 2018.

County Administrative Officer Jon Stead and Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Wilson led the group’s meeting with other municipal leaders at the County Office Building.

Stead said the consensus is the panel has enough on its plate looking at LED lighting projects, and secondarily reviewing possible shared tax collection software.

“I suggested we not do a full 2019 plan,” Stead said.

New York state in 2017 mandated that counties form shared services panels to discuss ways to save money, and submit a plan to the state showing how money could be saved by intermunicipal sharing of services. The Fulton County Shared Services Panel decided in August 2017 to give itself an extra year to find taxpayer savings and file its shared services plan with New York state in 2018.

That panel last September unanimously approved the county’s 2018 Shared Services Plan, which it forwarded to the state. The two main elements agreed to by the panel — consisting of officials from throughout Fulton County — were an LED lighting replacement project and a future tax collection software sharing initiative.

The panel on Monday briefly discussed the possibility of putting emergency medical services in a formal plan, as Fulton County is currently reviewing the status of its viable ambulance services. But Stead said that EMS, which county government may someday look at taking over, might not lend itself to this panel government format.

“I just don’t think this is a Shared Services Panel topic,” Stead said.

He said county government itself hopes to “make progress” on an EMS plan in the future. He noted the county now has a full-time EMS coordinator. He said the panel simply might not be the correct conduit.

“A lot of confidential negotiations have to go on,” Stead said.

Several Fulton County towns and villages are working with the New York Power Authority on a potential design for their individual LED street lighting projects.

“It will be interesting to see if our LED project stays on schedule,” Stead said.

The county official also indicated there doesn’t seem an “overwhelming” desire currently by municipal tax collectors to get into a tax collection software sharing project.

But the panel supported a proposal by Stead to have County Treasurer Terry Blodgett at least set up a seminar with tax collectors to “explain what the software looks like.”

“I’ll try to get this off the ground in the next month,” Stead said.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

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