Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Local Gov't Too Big

I almost missed this story in Sunday's Times-Union:
Government not shrinking with population
Declines in how many people live in a community haven't meant smaller government
Their main point is that "With the economy in turmoil and governments looking to trim costs, rarely do leaders' eyes turn toward their own institutions." But they should, and this article proposes shrinking city councils to reflect current circumstances. In fact, Rensselaer topped their list of over-sized governments:
No community is as well-represented as the city of Rensselaer. There is one elected council member for every 792 residents. That compares with one board member for every 11,680 residents of Colonie.
Remember how our local property taxes compared with our counterpart in Indiana (almost 4 times as much)? That high tax supports our many layers of local government, something Attorney General Cuomo is hoping to address by making it easier for citizens to force votes to consolidate local services, schools, towns or villages. Check out this T-U article from Dec. 14, which proposes merging Rensselaer into the city of Albany:
Cuomo's plan faces pride angle
Complexities color Cuomo's idea to put government merger to public vote
The 2010 census is coming up, which will probably result in redistricting anyway. This is a great opportunity to evaluate whether local government is serving our needs, and make changes accordingly.

The T-U has entered this in their Local Politics Blog, and since I haven't implemented comments here yet, I encourage you to go there and post a comment: Things change, governments not so much.