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Roundtable Addresses Local Government Consolidation

 Roundtable Addresses Local Government Consolidation

10/22/2010 

Local government officials and a political science professor will explore the controversy surrounding the drive to merge municipalities to save taxpayer money, during a Community Roundtable on Thursday, Nov. 4, at SUNY Cortland.

The panelists will include Fred Forbes, the Town of Homer supervisor; Mary McGuire, SUNY Cortland assistant professor of political science; and Connie Sowards, Village of Seneca Falls administrator.

They will discuss “Does Efficiency Trump Tradition? Consolidations of Local Governments: Misconceptions and Realities” from 8-9 a.m. in SUNY Cortland’s Park Center Hall of Fame Room. Refreshments will be served at 7:45 a.m. A question-and-answer period will follow.

Sponsored by the President’s Office and the College’s Center for Educational Exchange (CEE), the Community Roundtable is free and open to the public.

With the dissolution of municipal government made easier by new state legislation adopted on March 21, many villages and towns are struggling to decide if this might be the best option to eliminate duplication of services and lower tax rates.

The current call for consolidation of government services places a high value on efficiency, but there is disagreement over whether the presumed financial benefits will materialize.

Opponents of municipal consolidation argue that where people live becomes part of their identity. Proponents maintain that identity comes at too high a price. The roundtable will consider the issues villages and towns have faced in the decision-making, voting and transition processes.

The Community Roundtable series provides programs on diverse intellectual, regional and cultural topics of interest to College faculty and staff and community members. Each roundtable is held on the first Thursday of the month. Parking in the Park Center lot is open to the public during the roundtables.

For more information, contact the CEE at (607) 753-4214 or visit www2.cortland.edu/centers/cee/community-roundtables/.