Simon Corson ’16 is collaborating with the City and the Town of Geneva on a project the two municipalities have embarked on to evaluate shared services and find ways to drive down costs and improve efficiency.
The project serves as a community-based research project for Corson, who recently presented his findings at a joint meeting between the City and the Town of Geneva on Wednesday, Nov. 19 in Albright Auditorium. Present at the meeting were the City Council and the Town Board, along with key staff from both political entities.
Geneva City Manager Matt Horn says the meeting provides an update on the currently shared waste water program, a discussion around the cooperative efforts and a discussion on shared services. Corson, who collected data and researched steps other communities have taken to combine municipal services, prepared an extensive report of his work and presented his findings during the meeting.
“I hope that the City and Town can make progress together to provide better services for their businesses and residents,” says Corson, an urban studies major. “I believe Geneva is a place with great potential that is heading in a positive direction and I hope to be a valuable part of moving the Town and the City of Geneva forward.”
New York State has provided funding to encourage regional municipalities to cooperate on service provision and recent legislation requires communities to seek out opportunities to drive value through shared services. The City of Geneva and the Town of Geneva which surrounds it are taking the opportunity to develop concepts for shared service provision, and to allow the respective boards to debate and refine their collaboration.
Throughout the semester, Corson worked closely with Geneva City Manager Matt Horn and Professor of Economics Alan Frishman to collect data on current service plans. Frishman is advising Corson on the project.
Horn says the project consists of a series of interviews with key decision makers from various agencies to identify the formal and informal agreements currently in place between the City and Town. Corson examined what the current arrangements cost the community on an annual basis, what additional collaborative opportunities are available, and what savings might be realized through future collaborations.
“I am always appreciative of the opportunity to work with students on ‘real world’ issues,” Horn says. “I threw this out as an opportunity to challenge a student and develop a good framework for City-Town conversations moving forward.”
Corson hopes to use the community-based research project as a learning opportunity that both supplements his urban studies knowledge with “real world experience” and benefits community members and local businesses by giving them a “fresh perspective.”
Although Corson’s goal is to ultimately contribute to the Geneva community, he explains that the project also is providing him with firsthand insight on his career aspirations.
“I have a strong interest in working to resolve urban issues as a social activist,” he says. “In the future, I would like to have a job where I am able to make a difference for the community I am a part of.”