Dissolving is a good idea, according to one group out of Ontario County.
The Ontario County Values, Inc. an independent and not-for-profit corporation was recently formed to study and compare the costs of local government services in Ontario County.
The latest study — aptly named “The Value of Villages” shows the likely average savings that would accrue to each village property taxpayer if each of the eight villages were dissolved.
The villages named in the report included: Bloomfield, Rushville, Manchester, Shortsville, Clifton Springs, Naples, Phelps, and Victor.
The study estimates that the savings from village dissolution would likely be sufficient to reduce the amount of the former village tax burden in each community significantly.
However, the report fails to take into account the cost of special service districts — like water and sewer.
OCVI co-founder Bill Compton called the dissolution decision a ‘personal one’ noting that “Most residents know what they like about their village.” He added though that “Many don’t know how much it costs them or how much they could save by dissolving it.”
Co-founder of the organization, Francis Coleman asked “Villages can provide more local control, including zoning, but it is worth the cost?” For most municipalities in the area — that’s the issue being wrestled with by leaders.
Coleman added that “New York State’s high state and local taxes have made it a discouraging environment for the private sector.” “Other states are competing with us for investment and talent. Too often, the goose that used to lay its golden egg here is now nesting elsewhere.”
Compton concluded that the major question remains around what the best structure is moving forward.
“Is there a better way to organize local government services?” Compton asked. Doing so, while encouraging economic growth — and not shrinking local services is an “important part” of the equation, Compton concluded.
The group says the purpose of the study is to show where things stand now, and given residents an idea about the benchmarking process that should take place when weighing the future of any hyper-local government entity.
Dissolution has become a hot button issue in the region, as local leaders have elected to dissolve in hopes of fostering savings. Seneca Falls, Lyons and Macedon have all dissolved in recent years. Most-recently, the Village of Macedon concluded a tumultuous and controversial dissolution, which divided the community for several years leading up to its execution.