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Onondaga County shared services plan gets first public hearing this evening

The first of three public hearings on Onondaga County’s shared services proposal will be held this evening at the East Syracuse Minoa High School. It appears there could be some keepers among a list of 95 ways to share services among governments and school districts.

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney turned over a report on shared services to the county Legislature this week, as required by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s shared services initiative. The ideas range from sharing things as divers as pesticide applicators to IT services.

Legislature Chairman Ryan McMahon says lawmakers are looking it over.

"We’re at a spot where some of these ideas will save money, they may have efficiencies. We obviously will endorse any of that. But we’re concerned about some of the other concepts that made it into the report that need a little more vetting,” McMahon said.

One example is the proposal to have the county take over the city water department.

“Nobody’s ready for that yet,” McMahon said.

The chairman says it’s a good idea to get everyone sitting at a table to talk about the suggestions. But in the end he’s skeptical any major government consolidations will come from this process because it was so condensed. It started in June and has to be finished in September.

“There’s things that -- some of the the real big picture stuff -- that it’s better to go through the process and get it done it right, than screw it up and then nobody’s ready to talk about another big picture item for a while,” McMahon said.

While the plan includes some ideas proposed by local governments, many of the suggestions stem from the Consensus Commission, which has attempted to spur government consolidation in the past.

The governor’s shared services initiative requires three public hearings for each county that drafts a report. The state will match any savings that come from shared services, beginning next year.

Shared Services Plan by WRVO News on Scribd

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.