Thursday, October 8, 2015

Legislature Dems ask for LDC abolition study

Posted By on Thu, Oct 8, 2015 at 2:16 PM

Legislature Democrats want the county to hire an outside legal firm to examine the implications of dissolving county-affiliated local development corporations, or even whether they can be dissolved in the first place.

The county formed several LDC's over the past decade-plus to handle certain functions; one owns and runs the Civic Center Parking Garage, for example, while another overhauled the countywide emergency communications system, which the LDC now owns and operates. The entities have taken on large debts, and entered into a web of contracts with the county and vendors. And one way or another they were bound to be an issue in this year's county executive race, since two of the LDC's are at the center of an ongoing bid-rigging criminal case. 

But Republican county executive candidate Cheryl Dinolfo escalated the issue when she announced her campaign back in January. She said that, if elected, she'd abolish the LDC's, prompting Democrats to question whether that's even possible. But Dinolfo insists that it can be done, and that it's the right thing to do. If a government is going to ask taxpayers to fund a service, she says, then the government should oversee that service directly.

"I have been meeting with legal advisers and this is something that can be done and that will be cost neutral to taxpayers," Dinolfo says.

The Democrats are submitting the legislation for an outside legal firm in response to Dinolfo's position, though they say it isn't political. During a press conference this morning, Legislator Joe Morelle Jr. said that regardless of who is elected — Democrat Sandy Frankel and Green Party member Rajesh Barnabas are also running for the office — some changes to county-affiliated LDC's are likely. The idea is "to give the next county executive a head start," Morelle Jr. said. 

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