Chautauqua County highlights approximately $500,000 in proposed savings from shared services over the coming year and hopes the state will match those savings.
During a presentation at SUNY Fredonia incubator in Dunkirk, Rebecca Wurster of the County Planning Department discussed the Chautauqua County 2021 Shared Services Plan that is being submitted to the state. There are nine projects highlighted in the plan that have already been approved locally.
CITY ASSESSOR SHARED SERVICES
The municipalities of Dunkirk, Villenova, Pomfret and Hanover will share a municipal assessor. This allows the position to be full-time and to have an open office five days a week. This plan is expected to save the four cities combined $15,186 per year.
JOINT FULL PLAN UPDATE
The Town of Pomfret and the Village of Fredonia both plan to update their comprehensive plans in 2022. Each town completed its current plan approximately 10 years ago.
See SHARED, Page A3
Last time, each municipality paid the same planning firm to develop its plan. The Town of Pomfret paid $44,500 to complete its plan 10 years ago, and the Village of Fredonia paid $41,900. The combined cost of the new project is $60,000, which should save the two municipalities $26,400.
SHARED CODE ENFORCEMENT AGENT
Upon the retirement of the Village Mayville Code Enforcement Officer, the Town of Chautauqua offered to share code enforcement personnel with the Village. The city already employed a full-time code enforcement officer and a part-time code enforcement officer for fire inspections and replacement duties. Mayville’s part-time code enforcement officer worked only four three-hour days a week. The result of the merger will provide Mayville with a weekday code enforcement office, and the city will have two full-time code officers. It should also generate $9,000 in savings in 2022 and $10,000 in savings a year later.
DREDGING OF DEWITTVILLE AND BEMUS RISKS
Due to flooding in Dewittville and Bemus creeks, concerns about property damage and public safety at the confluence of Chautauqua Lake must be addressed. Dredging an area of accumulated gravel from both creeks should improve both and reduce flooding. The cost of each project is approximately $60,900. Of this amount, Chautauqua County and the Alliance are contributing approximately $15,000 for engineering and technical services. The Chautauqua County Department of Public Facilities will share an excavator with an estimated value of $15,000.
The Town of Chautauqua will provide its front-end loader for an estimated in-kind value of $8,000, and the Town of Ellery will share its highway trucks for an estimated value of $8,000. The $7,500 lab fee and $7,400 rental cost for an 8-ton tracked dump truck will be direct costs and will be shared between the Town of Chautauqua and the County of Chautauqua.
Each project will generate $38,000 annually in savings for the next five years.
Neither the City of Dunkirk nor the Village of Fredonia owns and operates many special water maintenance equipment which is used to repair and improve drinking water mains, industry and fire protection . Because these items are essential but not used all the time, each municipality must now rent the equipment at great expense individually. By jointly owning and operating these specialized items, savings will be approximately $100,000 annually for each municipality. Here are the items they intend to purchase and share: 1) Electronic leak detection equipment at a cost of $150,000; 2) HydraStopline isolation equipment at a cost of $250,000 including supplies for all lines from 4” to 12”; 3) Specialized line cutting equipment for large lines at a cost of $100,000. The total initial cost will be $500,000, but with projected savings of $100,000 for each community each year by sharing these special items internally.
SINGLE CITY JUSTICE SHARED SERVICES
The towns of French Creek and Mina currently share a judge to preside over both courts. The towns of Clymer and Sherman have engaged in a study with French Creek and Mina to expand the role of single town justice to cover all four towns. The process included approval by the state senate and assembly, as well as the governor. Approval was received and the position of a Single City Judge to cover the four cities was put on the ballot in November 2021 and a Single Judge was elected.
Additionally, the four cities will enter into a shared services agreement as Mina has enough space for a courtroom that can handle the four cities. The towns of Clymer, French Creek and Sherman will help defray the operating costs of the facility at $50 per month each. Although the towns will each employ the judge and clerk, additional savings for all four towns include sharing court security which is outsourced to the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Department, and reduced personal expenses for the mandatory training of four separate people. judges.
This shared justice should save $12,390 per year.
SECURITY/ZONING INSPECTION SERVICES
The Town of Harmony currently employs a part-time Security and Zoning Officer for 5 hours per week. The city must increase current office hours and safety inspection hours to 15 hours per week. The Town of Busti has a full-time and part-time zoning and fire department, which it shares with the Village of Lakewood. Busti, through its existing department’s shared services, can offer extended hours in its city as well as its current location for issuance of building permits.
Busti will also provide essential overtime for security/building inspections. Busti will bill the City of Harmony $11,000 for this service, eliminating the need for the City of Harmony Department.
This should generate $19,000 in savings per year.
SHARED VAC TRUCK EQUIPMENT
The city of Dunkirk currently has a 23-year-old vacuum truck in its fleet which is shared as needed with the department, the village of Fredonia and the city of Dunkirk. The VacTruck has exceeded its useful life and needs to be replaced.
When the city shares this truck during non-emergency times for other municipalities to use for preventative maintenance of storm and sanitary systems, it also includes a driver and operator. By the fact that the city of Dunkirk shares this specialized equipment, there is a cost avoidance for each of the three other municipalities for the purchase of this equipment. The state contract purchase price is approximately $500,000 and is expected to be purchased in 2022. This purchase will be a one-time savings by avoiding the need to purchase duplicate hardware.
This should create $150,000 in savings per year.
In 2022, these shared services are expected to save $507,976. In 2023 and 2024, shared services are expected to generate savings of $482,576. Each plan has already been approved. Wurster said the county will submit this report to the State Department, which will review the county’s shared services initiatives.
The hope is that the state will match a portion of each savings initiative. This money will go directly to the municipalities concerned. “Suppose you have a project in which you work with two different municipalities. In total, these savings amount to $100,000, regardless of the project. The state will provide a one-time match of 95% of these savings, so municipalities could be eligible for $95,000,” Würster said.
Wurster added that the state will assess each project individually and release its matching funds over the next two years, depending on when the savings occur.