TICONDEROGA - New York State has too many governments that cost too much money and create too much confusion.
That's the assessment of Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo, who has proposed new state regulations to give communities across the state the power to reform local governments.
There are 10,521 overlapping government units, providing duplicate services creating needless, wasteful bureaucracies, Cuomo said.
In Essex County alone there are 132 governments - from towns to villages to school and fire districts to water and sewer districts and more.
All these levels of government are necessary because of laws scattered throughout the Town Law, Village Law, General Municipal Law, Municipal Home Rule Law and Election Law, Cuomo said.
He has proposed a single law applicable to all local government entities, which eliminates inconsistencies and anachronisms.
"I applaud Cuomo for making this an issue," Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava said. "I'm absolutely 100 percent in favor of this. Anything you can do to simplify government is a good thing."
Moriah now has eight special districts in the town, not counting the village of Port Henry and Moriah Central School District. It's in the process of forming a new water district.
It used to have more, but a decade ago it consolidated its four sewer districts into one.
"It was a time consuming and complicated process," Scozzafava said of merging districts. "It made perfect sense to do it, but the state regulations were very difficult to work around."
Scozzafava said many state laws regarding special districts and municipalities actually cost taxpayers money.
As an example, he pointed to town snowplows, which have to stop at the village of Port Henry line despite the fact village residents pay town highway taxes.
"It's illegal for a town plow to clear a village street," he said.
Ticonderoga Supervisor Bob Dedrick said he also favors simplifying local government, although he wants to see more details before supporting the Cuomo proposal.