Suffolk County Executive Bellone Announces Approval Of Shared Services Plan To Save Taxpayer Dollars

SuffolkShare Projected to Save Nearly $37 Million Over Two Years Among Local Governments; Innovative Measures Include Creating Virtual Municipal Service Store and New Procurement Consortiums.

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Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.

Photo by: Suffolk County

Suffolk County, NY - September 12, 2017 - Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today announced that the Shared Services Panel has unanimously approved SuffolkShare, a plan that is estimated to save approximately $37 million over two years among local governments.  The Shared Services Plan was developed as part of the Countywide Shared Services Initiative and delivers savings through enhanced collaboration, coordination and efficiency.
“SuffolkShare is more than just a savings plan – it is a roadmap for how local governments can band together and operate in the most cost effective manner,” said Suffolk County Executive Bellone.  “This day would not be possible without all of our Town Supervisors, Village Mayors, County Legislators and other local officials who put their faith in this process.  Their ideas, own experiences, and expertise were essential in formulating a plan that will make a difference for our residents.  Finally, I thank Governor Cuomo for giving us the chance to bring everyone together and get the job done.”
Jon Kaiman, Suffolk Deputy County Executive and Director of the Suffolk Shared Service Initiative, said:  "Local government may have its challenges, but our residents should know that we are blessed to have people who truly care about their communities as village mayors and town supervisors coming together to find common ground to save taxpayer dollars and provide quality services by working together.  I am proud to be part of it on behalf of County Executive Steve Bellone."
The vote was held this afternoon and unanimously passed 34-0 by members of the Shared Services Panel, including 19 Village Mayors, 10 Town Supervisors, four school districts and the County Executive.
The comprehensive ten-point Shared Services Plan provides a modern inter-municipal framework among participating municipalities to enhance service offerings.  This will improve the ability for local governments to work together to implement and augment their programs and initiatives.  
Suffolk County officials estimate that municipal partners will achieve nearly $27 million in savings through new procurement consortiums alone.  These cooperatives will create more bargaining power for local governments when entering into annual agreements for purchasing goods, equipment, and/or services.
  1. Virtual Municipal Service Store: A web portal will be created to serve as a virtual menu of municipal services and assets that will be available to participating municipalities – offered from other municipalities.
  2. Inter-Municipal Services: An assortment of services and assets will be offered from participating municipalities such as tree removal, pump-out boat services, graffiti removal, truck washing, sign shopservices, language translation, recycling, fueling stations, mapping, surveying, website development, GIS services, professional training, MWBE certification, purchasing, and more.
  3. Inter-Municipal Agreement: An all-encompassing Inter-Municipal Agreement (IMA) will be established that authorizes municipal participation in this program and access to the Virtual Municipal Service Store.
  4. Certification AuditProcess: A certification function comprised of an auditing process will identify and quantify savings achieved by the use of the shared services program.
  5. Data Analysis: The plan will establish a Data Analysis feature similar to a Customer Management System (CMS) that will measure use, performance, and savings.
  6. MuniChat: A virtual inter-municipal chat room will be created for municipal representatives to engage one another individually or collectively to acquire information, share information, brainstorm ideas on how best to deliver services.
  7. Shared Services Newsletter: A virtual newsletter that will feature successful shared service ideas while providing insight into how to utilize the web portal, virtual municipal store, and all of the features of SuffolkSHARE.  This will ensure best practices are identified and allow municipalities to determine if certain initiatives could benefit their constituents.
  8. Intra-County Projects Program: An Intra-County Projects Program will provide Suffolk County and its local governments the chance towork together to better coordinate services while reducing duplication. Some examples include services for youth, senior citizens, recycling, emergency management, water authorities, grant writing and grant administration, as well as the creation of a new Call Center that would generate data analysis.  In addition, the Program will establish a new Suffolk County Procurement Consortium that will offer municipalities the opportunity to save money through more options at a competitive cost.
  9. Inter-County Project Program: A new Inter-County Project Program will enable Suffolk County to identify opportunities with other counties across New York State to achieve potential cost-savings when possible. This includes Adolescent Offender Services, such as identifying jail facilities where 16- and -17 year-olds can be separated from adult offenders consistent with Governor Cuomo’s Raise the Age law.
  10. Office of Inter-municipal Coordination: Through a new Office of Inter-municipal Coordination (OIC), there will be an assignment of personnel to handle inter-municipal activity and communications – achieved through the reassignment of current positions – who will administer SuffolkShare while coordinating monthly subcommittee meetings similar to those initiated as part of the Shared Service Working Group.  This will include areas relative to legal services, auditing and control, technology and data analysis, and program offers and development.
The Countywide Shared Services Initiative that was included in the 2017-2018 New York State Budget requires county, town and village officials to vote on a plan that would achieve enhanced inter-municipal collaboration and save taxpayer dollars. New York State law required Suffolk County to submit a localized savings plan to the Suffolk County Legislature by August 1, 2017.  Once recommendations are received and modifications are made to the plan, the Suffolk Shared Services Panel must vote on the plan no later than September15.  The Shared Services Panel is comprised of the Suffolk County Executive, Town Supervisors, Village Mayors, and representatives appointed by selected school boards that wish to participate. 
The initiative included three public hearings that were held in the Towns of Brookhaven, Islip and Riverhead.  These required hearings were held in addition to four voluntary community meetings earlier this summer to solicit best practices and maximize public input.  The community meetings were held in the Towns of East Hampton, Southampton, Babylon and Huntington.
For more information, residents and municipal employees are encouraged to log onto the New York State Department of State’s Shared Services Initiative website here.