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Local government leaders come up with 22 ideas to share services, save $4.5 million

Counties were told this year to come up with shared services ideas to contain property taxes. The order came from the state, part of the 2018 state budget. Ultimately, a panel of officials from across Erie County -- mayors, town supervisors and the county executive -- worked to come up with a list of at least 22 ways to work together to save taxpayers up to $4.5 million next year.

Erie County already pays many towns to plow county roads. The new plan includes a similar arrangement for roadside grass cutting at a savings of $24,000 to the county.

Read the plan: Erie County Shared Services Plan

The county is responsible for producing the report, but some of the ideas suggested by the local officials have no county involvement.

Other proposals include having the Town of Orchard Park provide dog control services with the towns of Aurora and Colden for a savings of $44,000 and having Erie County provide all property tax collection and billing services for many other local governments at a savings of $1.2 million.

"There are little things that could make a big difference in the long run," said County Executive Mark Poloncarz.

The County Legislature will have the opportunity to provide input into the plan, but once the plan is adopted by Sept. 15, it will be up to local governments to move forward to make these consolidation agreements reality, Poloncarz said.

"If they don't, it was kind of a waste of time," he said.  "But I think a lot of these things will get implemented."

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