ALBANY, NY (WKBW/RELEASE) -- Governor David Paterson sent a bill to the Legislature Friday that he claims will save taxpayer dollars through State agency merges, consolidations and spending reductions.
The Governor sent his savings proposals to the Legislature as part of the Public Protection, General Government and Transportation, Economic Development and Environmental Conservation agreed upon budget bills.
"New York is facing an inevitable fiscal reckoning. The mistakes of the past, squandering surpluses, papering over deficits, relying on irresponsible fiscal gimmicks to finance unsustainable spending increases have led us to a financial breaking point," Governor Paterson said. "We must change the way we do business and reduce the cost of government."
The mergers and consolidations included in the 2010-11 budget bills will produce annual savings of approximately $7 million. This is an important step toward reorganizing and reforming State government in a smart and targeted way to deliver essential services at a lower cost to taxpayers.
New Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
The Office of Homeland Security, the State Emergency Management Office, the State 911 Board, the Office of Cyber Security and Critical Infrastructure Coordination, and the Office of Fire Prevention and Control will merge into a new agency, the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. Consolidating these agencies and functions will allow the State to operate a single, multi-purpose agency focused on first responders and responsible for intelligence gathering and analysis, information sharing, disaster preparedness and relief, fire safety, and emergency response. This merger will deliver efficiency savings of $1.5 million annually. In addition, the new agency will award grants from the cellular surcharge to county consortiums to assist in the development of regional interoperable communication networks for use by both State and local first responder agencies.
Modernization of the Crime Victims Board
The Crime Victims Board will be eliminated and changes made to streamline the claims review process. This will allow the newly created Office of Victims Services to process claims more efficiently, thereby compensating victims for their losses more quickly. Overall, this action will produce efficiency savings of $300,000.
SERB will be abolished and PERB will absorb its remaining responsibilities for full annual savings of $1.3 million. The Federal government has already assumed most of SERB's prior responsibilities.
Division of Probation and Correctional Alternatives into the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS)
The important mission of this agency will be preserved, coordinated and enhanced as a specialized office within DCJS. DCJS already provides administrative support to this agency, and a full merger offers a more efficient and cost-effective environment for the delivery of programs and services. Overall, this action will save $100,000 and improve efficiencies.
Single Leadership for NYHOMES and the Division of Housing and Community Renewal
The two entities will remain separate but are now consolidated under a single management structure that is expected to achieve synergies in areas such as administration, asset management and grant making, producing annual savings of $3.5 million.
Office of Welfare Inspector General (OWIG) and Office of Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG) shared services
These two agencies will share administrative services to achieve administrative efficiency and strengthen collaborative efforts to detect and control public benefits fraud.