They say a penny saved is a penny earned. But for a short time, every penny through consolidation can be worth two for local governments in Oneida County.

Cities, towns, and villages in the County are being offered a new incentive for consolidation projects: The county will match each dollar saved in the first year, allowing municipalities to double the savings.

County Executive Anthony Picente discussed the initiative during his State of the County Address earlier this year and formally issued the challenge to local leaders on Wednesday:

“Long-term, real consolidation has always been a goal of my administration,” Picente said. “We know it works. It creates effective and efficient services at a cheaper cost, saving the taxpayers real dollars. So I am challenging local municipalities to take a hard look at what they do and how they do it, and make fiscally-sound choices for their taxpayers. County government stands ready to help them accomplish these goals.”

The announcement from the county executive's office doesn't mention any particular consolidation projects or departments, but there have been efforts in recent years to examine possible mergers of things like smaller municipal police departments, trash collection services, and other services provided by/funded by local government.

 The Oneida County Planning Department will administer the application and incentive program, working with municipalities throughout the process to identify projects, costs, savings, timeframes, benefits and barriers to and from consolidation, officials said.

The application is a single-page and simply asks for an outline of the consolidation objectives, the timeframe needed to achieve it, potential savings to taxpayers, possible barriers, and the benefit to the community.

The county executive's office says the dollar-for-dollar matching incentive will only be paid upon completion of the consolidation project.

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