Local towns, villages get county funds for sharing services

Rhinebeck, Red Hook, Tivoli and Hyde Park have just received grant monies from Dutchess County for a variety of shared-services projects.

The town and village of Rhinebeck were awarded $71,756 to share technology services. The grant will be used to acquire new computers, printers and scanners for both Town and Village Hall as well as for the Cemetery and Town Highway Department, according to a town news release. It will also allow the town to utilize software assets, upgrade infrastructure, and create a shared computer network for data sharing and entry, the release noted.

Elizabeth Spinzia, Town Councilmember and author of the grant, said in a news release, “The use of shared technology and infrastructure will not only allow our town staff to work more effectively, but it will also lead to operational efficiencies and allow for more collaborative and shared services between the town and village in the future.”

The town of Red Hook and the villages of Red Hook and Tivoli will share another grant, for $79,000, to fund a study of possible future shared highway department services, including reduction of redundant equipment and efficiencies to be gained from shared maintenance, storage, administrative costs, personnel training, and material and fuel purchases.

County Legislator Ben Traudt, who represents Red Hook, said in a county news release, “I am thrilled the highway shared services program for the Town of Red Hook and Villages of Red Hook and Tivoli received funding. This important project will benefit residents for years to come.”

All six municipalities will also share in a $257,205 grant for the purchase of Zoning, Planning and Building Department software upgrades. The grant was given to 12 municipalities in the county, and was spearheaded by Supervisor Aileen Rohr of Hyde Park.

The grant will also cover a public website for contractors and residents to apply for permits online, track their applications, and get email notifications or text messages when permits are issued or inspections are completed, according to the company.

Software Consulting Associates, a small company in Red Hook, was chosen to provide the combined municipalities with web-based software services for tracking all building, code enforcement, planning and zoning activities.

The Town of Hyde Park also split the largest award given so far, $357,000, for a joint proposal with the Town of Poughkeepsie for automated highway salt spreaders.

To date, County Executive Marc Molinaro has handed out more than $1.4 million of the allocated $2 million in funding awards from the county’s Municipal Consolidation and Shared Service Grant Program. The program is targeted at projects that consolidate services and functions among municipalities, and is designed to compensate for some of the county sales tax revenue-cutback to the municipalities.

In a news release, Molinaro said, “Congratulations to all the municipalities who have taken advantage of this unique grant program to figure out what we can do better when we work in partnership and focus on efforts to reduce the total cost of government for our taxpayers.”

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