County courts consolidation study, Seneca Falls dissolution payment among incentive grants announced
Friday, October 21, 2011 - 6:26 am

Among those receiving a share of $4.74 million in New York State Local Government Efficiency Grants announced Thursday are St. Lawrence County's Consolidated Justice Courts Study and the Town and Village of Seneca Falls Efficiency Implementation.

Under General Efficiency Planning Awards, the county's court study will receive $27,000.

The Village of Seneca Falls voted for dissolution last year, and recently officials from the village visited Potsdam to explain their experience as a vote on dissolution of Potsdam itself approaches.

One of the incentives offered to government entities that do dissolve is Efficiency Implementation Awards.

Seneca Falls will now receive $406,500 for their effort.

Among the questions raised as the Potsdam vote nears is whether or not communities such as Potsdam should realistically expect payments from the Citizen Empowerment Tax Credit program, a newer version of the incentive program, since the state’s budget is in difficulty.

Assemblywoman Addie Russell said those payments should not be seen as a certainty. The notion that the payments will be made every year could be a mistake, Russell said, doubting that the money would be received “in perpetuity.”

Sen. Joseph Griffo said he would fight for such payments if the plan appeared to be in jeopardy.

Seneca Falls Town Supervisor Peter Same said, "Receiving this grant award will help relieve a lot of the added financial burden that this process requires...There is a lot to accomplish in the remaining four months and these grant dollars will greatly help relieve the majority of our additional expenses."

The Citizen Empowerment Tax Credit is envisioned as an annual aid to local governments, equal to 15 percent of the combined amount of real property taxes levied by all of the municipalities involved in a consolidation or dissolution, not to exceed $1,000,000. At least 70 percent of this tax credit must be used for property tax relief.