Consolidation on the minds of many

By Perry Russom

September 24, 2013 Updated Sep 25, 2013 at 7:06 AM EDT

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Johnson City tried it in 2010.

The Chenango Forks and Chenango Valley school districts are looking into it now.

With so many small governments in the Southern Tier, consolidation is a common theme public entities consider to cut costs and share services.

But how well does it actually work?

"It forces people in government and the people who are served by government to really ask a fundamental question and that is, 'What do we want in terms of services from our government and how do we want to pay for those?'" said Tom Sinclair, professor at Binghamton University. "A consolidation or dissolution vote puts all of that on the table."

More than 20 people met in Vestal Tuesday night to talk about consolidation and clear up some of the misconceptions surrounding it.

"I think one of the main ones is that they think it's going to solve all of the problems of local government, and we have a very fragmented governmental system here," said Sinclair. "So if you talk about the consolidation of two school districts or two municipalities, that will have an effect on a portion of peoples' tax bills."

Sinclair said rather than consolidating, some villages and towns share services like a police force or fire department.

The talk was sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Broome & Tioga Counties.