The County Administrator, Carissa Knapp, convened the County-Wide Shared Services Initiative (CWSSI) panel to meet in 2021. In common with past panels, all panel members appreciate working together to share services and cut local costs, but many are frustrated by the State mandate to participate in the CWSSI process when few projects qualify for CWSSI State matching funds.
The panel struggled throughout 2021 to find times and places that a quorum of Allegany County’s 40 members were collectively available to meet. The first scheduled public meeting occurred on April 29 (held through Zoom, quorum achieved) and the process and history of CWSSI (2017 to current) was discussed. An additional meeting was attempted on September 29 (held through Zoom, no quorum in attendance).
The final public meeting was set for November 4 (held through a hybrid of in-person attendance and Zoom, quorum achieved) and the panel determined by majority vote that it was not in the best interest of the taxpayers to revise and update a previously approved CWSSI plan or to develop a new CWSSI plan for Allegany County in 2021. Panel members cited various reasons for their vote, including: that shared services are already in place among our municipalities; the continuing impact of COVID-19; the creation of additional unfunded State mandates that add to taxpayer costs; and the State’s reduction of CWSSI matching funds and the lack of a guarantee of CWSSI reimbursement.
The panel will re-convene again in the spring of 2022. As many of our local governments experienced a change in leadership with recent elections, the expectation will be to focus the panel’s time on building new relationships with one another and sharing information that will help each community grow towards the goal of improved services and cost-savings to local tax-payers.
The table that follows this letter outlines the panel’s vote. There are a total of 40 panel members comprised of Town Supervisors, Village Mayors, and the County Administrator. Only panel members present for the vote were asked to provide a reason for their vote. Members that did not participate in the vote are shown on the table, but listed as absent from the meeting. Questions related to shared services in Allegany County may be directed to the County Administrator’s Office.