Counties choose CGR for services study

Charlie Haeffner, The Odessa File

The Schuyler-Yates Steering Committee has selected CGR — the Center for Governmental Research, Inc. — to conduct a study of potential shared services in the two counties.

Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn said the interviews of five companies among 11 that submitted proposals were completed Friday. Two days of interviews were conducted in Schuyler County and one in Yates.

CGR -- a not-for-profit firm out of Rochester — has “tentatively accepted,” O’Hearn said

CGR was the first firm interviewed, and Berkshire Advisors, headquartered in Austin, Texas, was the last. In between came Bond Schoeneck & King of New York, Florida and Kansas; Management Partners of Cincinnati, Ohio and California; and VMC Independent.

“CGR is the chosen and preferred applicant,” O’Hearn said, noting that it had recently done a study for the Village of Watkins Glen into a possible consolidation of municipal police services with those of the county. It conducted a study in 2008 of Yates County and Penn Yan court and law enforcement services, looking for possible operational efficiencies.

“It works strictly with governments,” O’Hearn said, “and has an understanding of the scope of the project. Its fact-finding process is solid.”

The Steering Committee consisted of 18 people — the two county administrators, department heads and Legislature representatives. The administrators —O’Hearn and Yates County’s Sarah Purdy — will next prepare resolutions for Legislature committee consideration, with an eye toward a final vote by the Legislatures themselves. Both legislatures meet May 12. Schuyler County, as the lead agency, will execute the contract.

The study is expected to take no more than a year, and CGR “has indicated it will be less than that,” said O’Hearn. It will include focus-group meetings, a public meeting, and development of an interactive website.

The CGR proposal was for a flat $50,000, which is the amount of a state grant for the project — 90 percent funded by the state ($45,000) with a 10 percent share ($2,500 each) by Schuyler and Yates Counties. Two of the five firms, O’Hearn said, had proposals that would have cost close to $100,000 apiece.

Officials from both counties are looking for ways to share services to save tax dollars. Options for savings could range from consolidation of some programs or services to a complete merger of the counties.

Learn more

The study will be the subject of a May 7 luncheon at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, presented by the Schuyler County League of Women Voters and the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce. The cost is $20, and the deadline to RSVP is Thursday. For details, call 607-535-4300 or email SchuylerLWV@gmail.com.