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Consolidating Government: Marist Poll of New Yorkers

This morning brings us an interesting discussion of government consolidation from Marist, who post the results of their poll:

4/12: “Striking a Balance” | Home of the Marist Poll: Pebbles and Pundits.

What this poll seems to do a good job of is testing for semantic variation: how people react to different phrases that mean the same things:

  • 68% of New Yorkers have a positive impression of the term shared services.  60% have a similar reaction to government consolidation, and 58% say the same about merged services.  52% of New Yorkers have a positive impression of regionalism.  However, dissolving local government is perceived positively by 31%.
  • There is no consensus about the definition of consolidation.  Half of residents describe consolidation asshared services while 44% define it as merged government.
  • Pluralities of New Yorkers expect government consolidation to decrease costs (48%) and increase efficiency (45%).

It seems as though the tightening of belts has New Yorkers thinking about the issue of the huge number of governments in New York State. But the last time a consolidation measure came up for a vote in our area, it was overturned: Macedon Township and the Village of Macedon opted not to combine.

Its hard to give up on local government, too: here in East Rochester, I can meet the mayor at the local carnival and there isn’t even a line. Do I really want to give that kind of access up for cost savings? The answers are less distinct than people who live in larger communities might imagine.

By Tommy Belknap

Owner, developer, editor of DragonFlyEye.Net, Tom Belknap is also a freelance journalist for The 585 lifestyle magazine. He lives in the Rochester area with his wife and son.