FYI: State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is trying to put new legs on an old money saving plan: pushing neighboring cities and jurisdictions to merge the services they offer. The idea, called "consolidation," has been floated, and sunk, for years because it's loaded with political impossibilities--such as local politicos giving up control over job assignments and contracts. Still, in a report released yesterday at a New York City meeting of the New York State Association of Towns and Villages, Spitzer urged the state's 1,600 local government units to consider the effort, stressing that merging services doesn't have to mean total consolidation. Rather, jurisdictions could share the cost of purchasing public goods like snow plows, fuel for public vehicles and office supplies. The report clarifies the legal how-to of such efforts. [2/19/03]