MALONE — Mayor Todd LePine said he’s heard little from residents about the impending Village Board decision concerning dissolution.
“Nobody’s approached me at all,” he said. “It’s been pretty quiet; surprisingly so.”
A village-appointed committee recommended last month that if voters want to their village government to dissolve, the best way is to combine village and town workforces and create a limited-jurisdiction police district.
The Village Board must decide before Sept. 6 if it will put the measure before voters this fall to allow enough time for the referendum to be placed on the Nov. 6 ballot.
Some say sticking to an aggressive timeline to take advantage of high voter turnout during a presidential-election year may not generate the attention the issue deserves and does not give residents enough time to digest the impact of dissolution.
They suggest the village hold a special election after the first of the year instead.
In the meantime, an obstacle to the plan — which has been accepted but not adopted by the Village Board — might be that the State Legislature would have to approve creation of a special police district for a newly configured town.
The state hasn’t done that for more than 80 years.
Details about that and other recommendations will be available at a public hearing set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 21, in the Village Offices at 16 Elm St.
Only about 30 people showed up for the committee’s most-recent meeting on the dissolution plan and recommendations.
“I don’t know if that means they’ve made up their minds or what,” the mayor said.
“I hope we can get more people on the 21st because I’d like to hear from everybody. I’d like to see some new faces.”
Most of the attendees at sessions on the issue have
been village or town employees concerned about keeping their jobs and retaining existing benefits.
A few others belong to the Malone Taxpayers Coalition, which pushed the previous village administration to conduct the dissolution study to find ways to lower their taxes.
A survey the coalition conducted in late 2010, before any facts were gathered, showed that, of the 233 people who answered, 56 percent of those respondents living in the village favored dissolution and 50 percent of respondents living in the town favored it.
“The people who started this and said they want it had a hidden agenda of what they wanted to see done, and maybe that’s not in the best interest of the majority,” LePine said.
“I think it needs to go to a vote, and we’ll put it to rest once and for all.”
The committee found that if the village dissolved and the town created the police district, village taxes would go from $23.50 per $1,000 of assessed-property value to about $19 per $1,000 the first year for an average savings of $330 on a $75,000 property, depending on continued receipt of an annual state-incentive payment.
Town parcels would go from about $8 per $1,000 to $7.40 per $1,000 and save about $55 a year on a home assessed at $75,000, depending on the continued incentive money.
“My own personal opinion, I think it’s probably necessary to put it up to a vote,” LePine said. “But people should know right up front that there are no guarantees that there can be a police district.
“There is nothing in writing from the state and no town-wide police force in writing from the town,” he said. “There are a lot of ifs, possibles and maybes in this and nothing guaranteeing that that any of this will happen.”
View the dissolution report at www.cgr.org/malone
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