About the study
In New York State there is intense interest, by the state and local communities, in examining how to make local government more efficient, while maintaining high quality services for residents. In recent years, NY has offered grants on a competitive basis to local governments considering shared municipal service or consolidation projects.
The City and Town of Batavia, located in Genesee County in western NY, successfully applied for a state grant to study consolidation, acknowledging that the existing governmental structure generates considerable overlap and duplication in the delivery of municipal services. In 2008, the municipalities appointed a City/Town Consolidation Study Committee and engaged the Center for Governmental Research (CGR) to conduct the study.
After initial work on the project, CGR recommended the Committee move from a "study" to developing a "plan" for consolidation. The Committee supported CGR's recommendation, and the City Council and Town endorsed their decision.
The study team developed a report of model options for the combined community and released it on June 1, 2009. The Committee held community forums for the public to provide input, and based on that input developed a plan and presented it on July 29, 2009 to the City Council and Town Board. The plan calls for creation of a joint charter commission and a potential vote in November 2011 that could ultimately lead to consolidating the City and Town. For more on the plan see A Plan for Consolidating the City & Town of Batavia in One Government.
If voters ultimately approve consolidating, Batavia will likely be the first city/town pair in NY to do so, and will also become a model for many communities nationwide. Charles Zettek Jr., CGR project director, told elected leaders, "There is no question that if the City and Town of Batavia become a single new government, this will put Batavia in the national spotlight. Everyone recognizes that fragmented local governments in New York and across the Northeast and Midwest are inefficient. Communities across the country will look to Batavia as being the best example of how to consolidate a city and town to create an efficient government designed for the 21st century."