A new commission called 'Consensus' is taking the exploration even further with a look at the local governments across Onondaga County. Reporter Iris St. Meran takes a look at what their review found.

ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- If you ever wanted a look into how local governments operate, you now have your chance. Consensus, a commission on local government modernization, shared a baseline review about all the municipalities in Onondaga County, Tuesday.

"Identify things like, how many local governments do we have? How many service providers do we have in each functional area? What are they doing? How are they allocating resources? Where are there similarities or differences," said Center for Government Research President and CEO Dr. Joseph Stefko.

They covered a lot of ground evaluating police, fire, health and public works, among other services. Onondaga County consists of one city, 19 towns and 15 villages. Even though each operates independently they all have a connection.

"In more than 20 municipalities in Onondaga County, roughly 4 out of every 5 residents wake up in governmental jurisdiction and cross into another governmental jurisdiction to work day in and day out," said Stefko.

The baseline review revealed all local governments in the county spent nearly $141 million on public works services in 2013. There are 36 public works departments, the smallest responsible for one mile of road and the largest nearly 800 miles. There are also 14 police departments here, and fourteen of 19 towns and 7 of 15 villages rely on the sheriff's office as their primary law enforcement agency.  Also, 17 towns are served by more than one fire department.

"The baseline review is not intended to be an evaluation of what's effective or what's efficient. There are stories behind all of the numbers in the baseline review," said Stefko.

They said their goal is to have a dialog about where municipalities stand and to get ideas on where they can go and figure out how to get there.

If you want to be part of the conversation there are more events scheduled this month:

  • March 12: Southwest Community Center at 6 p.m.
  • March 24: DeWitt Community Library at 6 p.m.
  • March 31: Salina Town Hall March at 6 p.m.

For more information visit: www.cgr.org/consensuscny