Orleans citizens should push to consolidate local governments to reduce tax burden

Posted 9 May 2023 at 7:47 am


Orleans County property taxes are burdensome. It does not have to be this way. Many counties in New York State have eliminated the town governments and consolidated the functions into their county.

There is no logic to Orleans County having ten towns and four villages governments, all with water departments, notaries, records centers, tax collectors, highway maintenance, code enforcement, courts, and various permits, licenses and certifications. With all of the duplication, it is only logical that taxes are high and going higher every year.

Many have told me there is not a single politician who will come forward and advocate consolidation to save the taxpayers money. They say every Republican and Democrat is opposed to it because in the short term it may hurt their re-election prospects when jobs are consolidated.

While both political parties may refuse to talk about consolidation, New York State has a program whereby the people can take charge of the process and force their local governments to vote on consolidation, even if the town governments are opposed to it. The step-by-step process is provided in “The Reorganization of Local Government: A Summary of the Government Reorganization Process” and “The Citizen’s Guide to Petitioning For Local Government Consolidation or Dissolution.”

In addition the New York State, Division of Local Government Service, has a grant program that can provide up to $100,000 to conduct a feasibility study of consolidation. These guides give the power to the people.

What is needed is for residents to join together, form a county-wide committee and start the process. The NY State Division of Local Government Services at (518) 473-3355 is available to explain the process

Taxes in the county can be reduced. If the politicians refuse to help, it is now up to the citizens to make it happen.

Jack Capurso

Albion High School, Class of 1960

Ashburn, Va.