Utica, NY (WIBX) - Governor Andrew Cuomo's Mandate Relief Council and Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, are making their way across the state holding a series of public hearings. Duffy is leading the public hearing at Mohawk Valley Community College today, in an effort to promote the governor's budget and pension reform proposals, that promises to bring mandate relief to local governments, as well as, schools and tax payers. Duffy said, "The state relies on its local governments and it s school districts to deliver vital services to its residents and has often prescribed exactly how these services should be provided, and when mandated costs rise local government have limited flexibility to control them."

He says if adopted, the mandate relief package will save New York, $1.2 billion over five years, after the state take-over of the growth in local Medicaid costs, including related administrative duties. Also, Duffy says the new Tier 6 Pension Reform plan, will save taxpayers and local governments--outside of NYC--$83 billion in 30 years. The NYC area stands to save $30 billion over the next 30 years. "And, what the governor's proposed are very common sense steps that...he did it in a way that I believe can get agreement on both sides of the ilses and both houses, but you can't delay this," he said.

Some of the education reform plans for Early Intervention and Preschool Special Education programs, includes a series of changes that the Council says will save the state nearly $250 million over five years. Cuomo's budget is due on April 1st. In the meantime, the officials are planning to hold meetings and hearings across the state to gather support and public input on how best to manage the state. You can learn more about the governor's proposal by visiting, www.nygetinvolved.com. The Council is also accepting public comments that can be submitted to: mandate.council@exec.ny.gov. Also, to learn more about the Mandate Relief Council go to: www.governor.ny.gov/mandatereliefcouncil.

The Panel consisted of the following officials:

  • Oneida County Executive, Anthony J. Picente, Jr.
  • Mayor, City of Utica, Robert Palmieri
  • Supervisor, Town of Minden, Montgomery County Board of Supervisors
  • Mayor, City of Amsterdam, Ann M. Thane
  • Mayor, City of Gloversville, Dayton King
  • Treasurer, Otsego County, Dan Crowell
  • Dir. of Planning, Schoharie County Planning & Dev. Agency, Alicia A. Terry
  • Chairman, Gov. Affairs, MV Chamber of Commerce, John F. Kenealy
  • Dist. Superintendent, Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES, Mark Vivacqua