The Citizen’s Empowerment Act has been enacted. New York State which has over 10,500 local taxing districts today set the new law in motion. This law which was brought to the table by then Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, today came to fruition. Two Fire Districts are now one.Lonelyville Fire District today merged into the Fair Harbor Fire District. At approximately 2:20 pm today following a public hearing the motion was called and all were in favor. The residents of Lonelyville were then all welcomed into the Fair Harbor Fire District by Commissioner Brett Roberts.The consolidation process which was brought forward by Commissioner Forest Clock of The Lonelyville Fire District was complete. In the words of Mr. Clock “It made sense”.
At a time when the people of New York are faced with high property taxes an increased cost of living and reduction of services, there are things being done to help turn the ship around. Granted this is not a small boat used on weekend jaunts to gather a few fish or take the family out for a spin. For at the current rate that small boat may soon not leave the dock. The ship we have to turn around is massive. We have to first slow it down, get it under control and then and only then can we take evasive action to avoid the inevitable collision that is bound to take place. Today, that ship began to take it’s first evasive maneuver.
Governor Cuomo currently has a few other bills on the table seeking approval. The 2% tax cap has currently passed the senate waiting on the assembly and a bill on ethics reform is pending.
The Citizens Empowerment Act Bill is currently back on the floor of the assembly after being passed by the senate for “TWEAKING”. Tweaking you ask, well let me take a few lines to explain. The CEA which was put into law in 2009 enabled today’s two fire districts to consolidate. However many special districts are taking opposition to the bill, so after many attempts to try and circumvent the bill through exclusions or carve outs a bill has been put up by Senator Jack Martins and Assembly Woman Michelle Schimel to cut the amount of time required to gather petition signatures from open ended to 60 days. Some resident tax fighting groups such as RESD (Residents for Efficient Special Districts)have regarded this as a backdoor attempt to render the bill useless or in any case make it a much weakened version. The problem arises when you have to petition signatures in a larger district, for the time required for explanation, verification and documentation can quickly absorb the said 60 day time period.
Let’s remember the name of the bill “The Citizen Empowerment Act”. It was created to shift power back into the hands of the people. As Mr. Cuomo said “To give the people power over their local government”.
At today’s public hearing the consolidation was met with approval. It made sense, there will now be one board of commissioners, one secretary, one treasurer, one bank, two less meetings per month,in other words no duplication of services. Services will remain the same, though with a more unified approach.
Streamlining has begun, and for the sake of New York let’s hope that we will get this ship turned around, after all it makes common sense.