Bigger is not better'
As taxpayers across the state cry out for relief via government consolidation, small village governments such as Liverpool's are being characterized as antiquated and unnecessary.
Nothing could be further from the truth, according to Liverpool Mayor Gary White.
"Actually now they're calling it government 'modernization' instead of consolidation," White said at a special 8 a.m. Dec. 31 work session for the village board of trustees at Ophelia's Place. "They have all these catch phrases."
At a recent forum hosted by the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce, White listened to a discussion of government modernization.
"There were a couple speakers who had no use whatsoever for village and town governments," White said. "I was just amazed that they had no grasp of the value of smaller governments."
At the village level, basic services such as police, public works and codes enforcement can be "tailored to the specific needs of its residents," White said.
For instance, Village Codes Enforcement Officer Bill Reagan said his office recently helped install some 700 smoke alarms in the village "which otherwise wouldn't be there."
Village Police Chief Bill Becker proudly pointed to the quick response times of his officers to 911 calls from within the village, and DPW Supervisor Bill Asmus praised his crews for their snow-removal work.
The mayor pointed out that state and federal bureaucracies remain notoriously dysfunctional.
"People who think bigger is better don't have the data," White said. "Smaller governments are far more accountable, far more efficient and far more cost-effective than bigger government entities."
And most town and village governments are already sharing many services and doing everything they can to stretch tax dollars.
The village presently shares services with the town of Salina (i.e. purchase and storage of road salt, property-tax assessment, animal control and emergency sewer repair), Onondaga County Water Environment Protection (sewer maintenance), County Parks & Recreation (fuel storage), and the Liverpool Central School District (vehicle maintenance).