NEW PALTZ — The State University of New York at New Paltz will play host to the Mid- Hudson Pattern for Progress annual conference on Wednesday, May 26. The theme for the conference is “Smart Government: Unlocking the Key to Competitiveness. The conference will focus its attention on cost-effective and innovative ways to solving problems regionally through inter-municipal collaboration and shared delivery of local government services.
Pattern president and CEO, Michael J. DiTullo, feels that the day-long program will offer regional leaders an opportunity to explore alternative ideas to ease the local tax burden.
SUNY New Paltz dean of liberal arts and sciences and conference chairman Gerald Benjamin noted that “the program will give leaders in local governments and school districts an opportunity to find ways to work together. It will promote regionalism in smart ways,” said the New Paltz professor of political science.
“One of the fundamental issues that remains in making New York more competitive,” said Benjamin, “is reducing the cost and increasing the efficiency of local government. New York retains very high property taxes and this is a very substantial concern as we seek to revitalize the economy.”
Seconding Benjamin’s thoughts, DiTullo pointed to “research that shows the best way to achieve sustained savings is through simple, innovative approaches to inter- municipal planning, local collaboration and the shared delivery of local government services. This year’s conference will explore the opportunities and challenges related to these topics, and will provide practical advice on how local governments and school districts can create substantial savings,” he added.
Former New York State Senator John Sheffer will deliver the keynote address. Sheffer is the director of the Institute for Local Governance and Regional Growth at SUNY Buffalo, an entity designed to assist area governments and promote regional opportunity throughout the Western New York area. He is considered one of New York’s preeminent authorities on local government collaboration, and he has introduced many statewide initiatives to facilitate inter municipal planning.
“Exploring the Relationships Between Government Restructuring and Economic Growth” will be the topic of another featured speaker, Frank Mauro, who is executive director of the Albany region’s Fiscal Policy Institute. Mauro was formerly deputy director of the State University of New York’s Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government where he organized and directed its Local Government Restructuring Project.
Roundtable sessions will offer case examples from local leaders and advice from experts from across New York State. Roundtable discussion topics include: School and Local Governments: Breaking Down the Barriers; Finding Help: Incentives, Funding Sources, State Initiatives, and Technical Expertise; Building Community Capacity and Competitiveness; and Challenges and Opportunities: Police, Public Works and other Shared Services.
Pattern, a regional planning and policy membership organization, gathers approximately 300 of the region’s business, academic and civic leaders to address a significant public issue at its annual spring conference.
The conference will take place from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Lecture Center at SUNY New Paltz. There is a registration fee of $45 for Pattern members and $60 for non- members. For additional information, contact Mid-Hudson Pattern at (845) 565-4900.