continued The two biggest winners were Nassau County with a $5 million grant for reducing personnel within its police department and consolidation of precincts, and the City of Rochester with about $1.9 million for “neighborhood and business development consolidation.” The projects presented by the 13 applicants were expected to amount to $38.2 million in combined annual savings.
The award will be paid out over three years. Clarkson said the money may be used to address some of the town’s capital needs or may be used to provide some temporary tax relief as the town’s new contract with its EMS providers kicks in.
“We have a contract that could result in $200,000 in savings, but we won’t see that money for the first year,” said Clarkson. “We could use some of the grant money to see the savings up front that you are expected to see in future years, and then tax less to provide that service using those funds.”
Clarkson said the grant could also help the town in other ways.
The supervisor said he would like to look at the efficiencies achieved by other municipalities that won grants to see if they could be implemented in Bethlehem.
“Several counties also won big awards for privatizing their nursing homes, which is something I think our county should focus on,” he said.
In related news, Bethlehem fared well on the recent State Comptroller’s Fiscal Stress test, with the town’s finances ranked among the best in the county. Clarkson said the good score was because the town was operating on a surplus with fairly low debt. The town has also built up its reserves and implemented a new multi-year budget projection system.
“In very many ways, we’re receiving indications elsewhere that the steps we’re taking are correct,” Clarkson said. “We’re on the right course, it seems.”