Guest column: Listen to municipalities on efficiencies

first_imgThis is not a hollow cry from municipalities for more money that we don’t have anything important to spend on. The governor has once again proposed $715 million in unrestricted aid to municipalities this year, less than the annual increase in aid to education, which we recognize our school districts sorely need. To put this another way: If it’s unacceptable that the state receives roughly 80 cents in federal aid for every tax dollar it sends to Washington, why is it acceptable that local governments receive only 21 cents in aid for every dollar taxpayers send to the state coffers?Our members have sought efficiencies. Many have achieved significant cost savings.But without the state’s partnership and financial assistance, local officials are going to be forced to begin making the tough decisions on what essential services must be cut.A one-size-fits-all mandated sharing program won’t solve this problem. Peter Baynes is the executive director of the New York Conference of Mayors. Gerry Geist is the executive director of the Association of Towns of the State of New York.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen? First and foremost, any assertion that municipal officials are averse to seeking out new efficiencies or are unwilling to implement them and save taxpayers money is inaccurate.The fact is municipalities across the state, including here in the Capital Region, have for years aimed to operate more efficiently on behalf of the constituents they serve by seeking out partners in neighboring jurisdictions. This is not a new phenomenon and certainly not an idea that only just now is being implemented.\Gov. Andrew Cuomo seeks to mandate shared services as a condition of receiving local government performance aid, but we’ve been doing this for generations. For example, consider coordination among the towns of Scotia and Glenville, parts of Saratoga County, and the city of Schenectady to share use of the city’s wastewater treatment facility.Or look to the new solar arrays in Rotterdam that the county wants to help local governments take advantage of to cut down on electricity costs.Or look at SMART Waters, the infrastructure agreement in place between Fulton County and the city of Gloversville. The goal of municipal governments is to serve the local taxpayers who live within their borders.These shared services are one important piece of that service as we seek to rein in taxpayer costs.The broader issue is not that local governments aren’t able or willing to work together. It’s that we must be respected and heard at the state level. Before our state leaders simply demand that shared services must be achieved to qualify for state aid, they must hear the voices of those who are on the front lines of serving nearly 20 million New Yorkers, from the North Fork to North Tonawanda. “We’re looking for a partnership,” Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy, NYCOM’s first vice president, told the Daily Gazette Feb. 12. “A partnership that produces results for everyone.”Mayor McCarthy is absolutely correct. Municipalities are willing to talk with any state leader who will listen about our consistent efforts to achieve efficiencies. We want to make it clear that local governments should be recognized for what they’ve been able to achieve — not punished because they didn’t achieve efficiencies on someone else’s timeline.The author of the Feb. 18 op-ed correctly noted that “maintaining essential and popularly demanded services always requires more resources than we reflexively think it should.” That is why in addition to a partnership on how to best move forward with shared services initiatives, we are asking state leaders to take a hard look at the flat aid they’ve been providing us for nearly a decade. center_img Categories: Editorial, OpinionWe read with great interest the Feb. 18 op-ed titled “Government Consolidation is Essential” by John Figliozzi and feel that, on behalf of our member municipalities across the state, we must set the record straight on shared services at the local level.last_img read more

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£150m industrial fund for BAA Lynton

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Planning

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

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The Ark: Way ahead or white elephant?

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BKPM boss fears decline in Chinese investment over coronavirus outbreak

first_imgThe Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) expects to see a decline in Chinese investment following the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.BKPM head Bahlil Lahadalia said on Monday that although the agency had yet to see any decline in investment realization from China and other countries, he projected a decline in foreign direct investment if the outbreak continued until March.“This virus has caused a systemic, massive and structural impact [on the global economy]. So, if the outbreak continues until March, I think there will be an impact on our investment [realization],” he told media in Jakarta. Read also: Coronavirus may shave 0.6 percentage points of GDP growth: Sri MulyaniHe also admitted to harboring concerns that direct investment from China would decline due to the virus outbreak. However, he said the agency could not predict how much the decline would impact investment realization figures.“We will review the impact on our investment realization next month,” he said.Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Panjaitan told the media last Thursday that several of the country’s downstream projects worth a total of US$500 million were facing delays due to the coronavirus outbreak.Some of the projects include smelter developments by nickel miners such as PT Virtue Dragon Nickel Industry, Tsingshan Group and publicly listed PT Vale Indonesia.“Most of these projects involve Chinese workers who can’t enter Indonesia as the government is still barring flights to and from China from entering Indonesia,” he explained, adding that the government continued to monitor the situation.Foreign direct investment from China, the second-largest foreign investor in Indonesia, grew almost two fold last year to $4.7 billion from $2.4 billion in 2018, according to BKPM data.Topics :last_img read more

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Canaries hotel locked down over coronavirus as Spain reports first mainland cases

first_imgTopics : The four-star H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel in Tenerife went into lockdown after an Italian doctor on holiday on the island tested positive for the virus on Monday. His wife tested positive on Tuesday, the regional government said.The doctor and his wife had been moved to a hospital isolation ward, and other hotel guests and staff would be tested for the virus, a process that will take some days, health authorities said.Guests will remain there until the results of a second test on the doctor are determined and, depending on that outcome, “appropriate health measures will be taken”, a Spanish government spokeswoman said.The hotel has hundreds of rooms, several restaurants and swimming pools, and is located 50 meters from the beach. More than 700 guests spanning 25 nationalities, as well as staff members, are stuck in the hotel, Canaries regional government leader Angel Victor Torres said.On its Facebook page, the hotel said it planned a carnival party on Thursday evening. Its management declined to comment on Tuesday.Christopher Betts, an English guest from Leicestershire, said over the phone from his room that there were police cars stationed at all entrances.”We’re told we’re in quarantine… The hotel seems to be acting normally, except that we cannot go out,” he said, adding that guests had been allowed to have breakfast in the restaurant.Medical staff took the guests’ temperature with digital thermometers and provided them with masks but did not perform any other tests, Betts said.Tens of thousands are expected this week in the Canary Islands for carnival festivities.However, Spain’s health minister Salvador Illa played down the severity of the outbreak, emphasizing that all cases have been imported from abroad and there has not yet been any domestic transmission of the infection.The ministry advises against travelling to newly designated at-risk zones, including China, northern Italy and Iran but has held off on more drastic measures such as a travel ban.Before Monday, Spain had identified two coronavirus cases – a German tourist in La Gomera, another Canary Island, and a British man in Mallorca. center_img A large Canary Islands hotel was locked down for coronavirus tests on Tuesday after a guest and his wife were found to be infected, as Spain also reported its first two cases of the disease on the mainland.Catalan regional health authorities said a 36-year old Italian woman, resident in Barcelona, had tested positive after a recent trip to the north of Italy. Twenty-five people who came into contact with her will be quarantined at home for two weeks.Shortly afterward, authorities in Valencia advised that a man had been diagnosed with the virus in the city of Villareal.last_img read more

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PREMIUMResidents in shock, fear as 5-year-old girl found murdered

first_imgLog in with your social account Google Topics : It started off as a regular Thursday afternoon for Neni, a 48-year-old resident of Central Jakarta, as she waited for customers to visit her warung (small food shop).The tranquil afternoon atmosphere, however, quickly turned fearful after a neighbor asked her for help to find her 5-year-old daughter. The mother said the girl had not arrived home from playing outside with other children in the neighborhood.Neni and some neighbors began to look for the daughter.“We also tried to find her in neighboring community units [RT],” Neni told The Jakarta Post on Monday. “We searched for the girl overnight but she was nowhere to be found.”“But on Friday morning, we were all shocked when the police raided a house next to her [the mother’s] house and then we learned that the daughter was found dead inside a closet in that [raided] house,” she … Facebook Forgot Password ? #MurderCase murder Juvenile #Jakarta Central-Jakarta #CentralJakarta LOG INDon’t have an account? Register here Linkedinlast_img read more

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Mainland China sees imported virus cases exceed new local infections for 1st time

first_imgTopics : The number of new coronavirus cases imported into mainland China from overseas surpassed the number of locally transmitted new infections for the first time on Friday, data released by the National Health Commission showed on Saturday.Mainland China had 11 new confirmed cases on Friday, up from eight cases a day earlier, but only four of those – all in the virus epicenter of Hubei province – were locally transmitted.The other seven – including four in the financial hub of Shanghai, one in the capital Beijing and two in the northwestern province of Gansu – were all detected in travellers coming into China from overseas, specifically Italy, the United States and Saudi Arabia, according to local authorities. The numbers underscore how China, where the outbreak began in December, appears to now face a greater threat of new infections from outside its borders as it continues to slow the spread of the virus domestically.A total of 95 cases have now come into mainland China from overseas, the commission said.Hubei has now seen new infections fall for nine straight days. All four of the new cases on Friday, down from five a day earlier, were in provincial capital Wuhan.The death toll from the outbreak in mainland China had reached 3,189 as of the end of Friday, up by 13 from the previous day. All of the latest deaths were in Hubei and 10 of them were in Wuhan.To date, the flu-like virus has infected 80,824 people in mainland China, the commission said. Globally, more than 138,000 people have been infected and over 5,000 have died, according to a Reuters tally of government announcements.last_img read more

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Mardi Gras a ‘perfect storm’ for virus spread in New Orleans

first_imgLouisiana reported its first case of coronavirus on March 9, about two weeks after Mardi Gras culminated with its final street parades on February 25.The southern US state now has 2,305 confirmed cases and 83 deaths. New Orleans alone accounts for 997 of the cases and 46 of the deaths. ‘Hand grenade’ Arnold said New Orleans residents have largely been abiding by the stay-at-home orders.”It’s pretty empty,” he said.Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has issued stark warnings about the ability of the state’s hospitals to deal with the expected numbers of coronavirus patients.He said the trajectory of the growth in cases is similar to that of Italy and Spain, the worst-hit countries in Europe, and demand for hospital beds and ventilators could outstrip capacity by early April.Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the shutdown in New Orleans probably should have come earlier.”It is likely that should’ve been done a little bit sooner,” Fauci told CNN. “I’m not blaming anyone on that.”It putters along and you think you’re OK,” he said. “Then it starts to go up a little and ‘Bingo,’ it goes up in an exponential way.”That’s what’s happening in New Orleans now.”Among those who have contracted coronavirus in Louisiana is Sean Payton, coach of the 2010 Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints.Payton, who has since recovered, took to local radio to urge New Orleans residents to practice “social distancing.”””Just picture everyone’s got a hand grenade on them,” he said. “How about that? So stay away from everybody.”Payton was also confident New Orleans would recover.”This city’s tough and resilient,” he said. “We’ve been through so much.” New Orleans, the Louisiana city known as the “Big Easy” famed for its jazz and nightlife, has become an epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic gripping the United States.Bourbon Street, the normally bustling heart of the French Quarter, is eerily quiet, its music silenced and its bars and restaurants shuttered.Health experts and state officials believe it is the month-long street party in February known as Mardi Gras which contributed to the severity of the outbreak in the city of some 400,000 people on the Mississippi River. Topics :center_img “Mardi Gras was the perfect storm for the spread of this virus,” said Rebekah Gee, Louisiana’s former health secretary.”Not only did we have people in floats, people in parties, but people from all over the world came here,” Gee told the MSNBC network.”Unfortunately, people were throwing beads, sharing drinks,” she said of the tradition of revelers on floats tossing necklaces of plastic beads to crowds packing the streets.”And they weren’t only throwing beads, they were likely throwing COVID-19,” Gee said. ‘Disaster that defines our generation’ “This is going to be the disaster that defines our generation,” said Collin Arnold, director of the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness for New Orleans, which was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.Arnold agreed that Mardi Gras was probably responsible for the fact that the number of virus cases in Louisiana is rising at a rate higher than anywhere else in the country.”We had over a million and a half people in the city, including international visitors, all attending parades daily,” he told CNN.State authorities ordered the closure of bars and restaurants several days after the first cases appeared but the damage had already been done.On March 15, a Saturday night, after the order was given, it took police coming out in force to get reluctant crowds off the streets.Video footage taken that evening shows a convoy of police cars driving slowly down Bourbon Street with their blue rooftop lights flashing and their sirens blaring.”By order of the governor and the mayor, large groups of people are prohibited from congregating together,” a police officer said over a loudspeaker.”Your actions are jeopardizing public health,” the officer said. “We are directing you to clear the streets and go back to home or back to your hotel.”Thank you for your cooperation.”last_img read more

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Wearing masks prevalent in Western world after learning from Asia

first_imgWearing face masks to fight the coronavirus outbreak has become increasingly prevalent in the United States and Europe after they saw relatively slow rises in infection numbers in Japan and South Korea, where people routinely put on masks in winter to prevent diseases, health experts say.US President Donald Trump said Friday that Americans are advised to wear cloth masks or face coverings in public as a voluntary measure to help blunt the spread of the virus, although he said he will not do so himself.The number of confirmed cases in the United States stood at 74 on March 1 before exploding to over 180,000 at the end of last month, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. That compares with eight-time and three-time increases in Japan and South Korea, respectively. In Europe, the number of infections grew over 1,000 times in Spain during the same period and 60 times in Italy.A handful of countries in the region have made wearing masks mandatory such as the Czech Republic and Slovakia, while Austria made it mandatory when inside a supermarket from April onward. Germany has also been advising people to actively use them.The sharply rising infections in Western countries are believed to be a result of their greeting practices not common in Japan or South Korea such as kissing and hugging. The World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were initially skeptical about the effectiveness of using masks other than types used for medical purposes.But experts soon voiced the necessity of face masks as reports of asymptomatic cases surged in many countries.The CDC recommended the use of masks following studies showing that the virus becomes infectious 48 hours before the patient shows symptoms, and that up to 25 percent of coronavirus cases could be asymptomatic.Meanwhile, Trump expressed his intention to not wear a mask, saying the guidance is “not mandatory” and that “(the CDC) suggests you can wear them, or don’t have to wear them.”At the same time, however, the spread of the virus across more than 180 countries and regions has also led to a global mask shortage. Some of them have imposed a purchase ban for personal usage to prioritize health care practitioners while others have limited exports of masks to meet domestic demand first.Topics :last_img read more

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