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Article Summary

State Commission on the Capital Region. May 1996. "Growing Together Within the Capital Region," Draft Report. Albany, N.Y.: Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government.

This report, which runs about 150 pages including appendices, outlines ways in which the six-county Capital Region of New York State (so named because its main city is Albany, the state capital) can work as a region to strengthen its economy, become more competitive, attract visitors, and generally function more efficiently. The four priority areas highlighted in the report are:

  • economic development
  • regional planning
  • solid waste management
  • roadmap for cost reduction

In the area of solid waste management, the report advocates the development of "cooperative regional approaches to solid waste management, working in partnership with businesses and nonprofit organizations and enlisting the support of citizens." The authors recommend the creation of a nonprofit regional consortium to serve as the umbrella agency for improved waste management coordination efforts.

The "roadmap for cost reduction" refers to an effort to examine government functions and expenditures to find ways to reduce the local property tax, which is currently 73% higher than the national average. The report suggests beginning this comprehensive process by looking at two counties.

The capital region has 131 general-purpose governments (counties, cities, towns, and villages) and 60 school districts. Intergovernmental cooperation is already occurring in some areas, such as highway systems, where some equipment and services are shared, but other opportunities exist. The report proposes creating a regional clearinghouse for information on equipment and storage facilities owned by each local government. It also recommends creating a regional consortium of local governments to pool resources, share equipment and expertise, jointly administer common services, and achieve economies of scale where possible. Training programs and information and records management are mentioned as two areas where local governments could collaborate.

This report focuses on ways local governments can work together to solve common problems, by sharing information and identifying areas where cooperation would be beneficial. The authors view intermunicipal cooperation as the key to improving efficiency.