From the Morning Memo:

Representatives of local governments in Albany weren’t pleased when it was suggested by Gov. Andrew Cuomo late last month they have been late to tackle to the issue of property taxes and sharing services.

At the same time, they challenged the governor’s assertion — repeated at the Business Council’s annual gathering last month — that the thousands of local governments and taxing districts are to blame for New York’s high property taxes.

“The remarks really took us aback to hear that because that’s not the case at all,” said Stephen Acquario, the executive director of the New York State Association of Counties. “These governments have been working together for hundreds of years.”

Cuomo in his remarks praised the latest push to share services as a means of reducing taxes on the local level through having county and municipal governments develop shared services agreement that in the process save money. Efforts to reduce the scope of local government have been made by Cuomo since his time as attorney general.

“We made them meet, we made them come up with a plan for shared services. We did it on a relatively quick time basis. But they have come back with ideas for savings,” he said.

Cuomo added, “They weren’t anxious to do it. Why? Because every local government has its own political reality.”

The idea that finding ways of reducing taxes as a relatively new one bothered some local government officials.

“They understand what it means to homeowner or a small business when a tax has to go up,” Acquario said.

New York Conference of Mayors Executive Director Peter Baynes in an interview said the savings in shared service agreements are dependent on the size of the municipality in the first place.

“It’s all a sense of scale, how big the local governments are,” he said.

As for the proliferation of local governments, Baynes said it was inaccurate to blame the sheer numbers on property taxes.

“It is at best blind to reality,” he said. “At worst, it’s intentionally misstating the facts.”

A tax cap backed by Cuomo in 2011 has been place for school districts and local governments since 2012. During that time, the cap has allowed for relatively flat growth in levies, with supporters saying it’s working to control the nation’s highest taxes.

Baynes said the cities and villages, however, continue to face challenges.

“The picture remains very, very difficult,” he said. “The state has decided over the last nine, 10 years, is to walk away from cities and villages.”