Plan to swallow village


The Leader-Herald

CANAJOHARIE — As part of the Shared Services Plan, there could possibly be a dissolution of the village of Canajoharie and consolidation with the town of Canajoharie, as well as possible future plans for the former Beech-Nut plant.

The dissolution of the village is part of the Countywide Shared Services Plan to develop a property tax savings plan. The dissolution could reduce the tax burden on its residents.

“In my opinion it will not save money,” Canajoharie village Mayor Francis Avery said.

The dissolution of the village means it will cease to exist; it will be absorbed by the town of Canajoharie.

According to the shared services plan draft given by Bill Roehr, if the dissolution happens, the position of the mayor, the village trustees and board trustees will be eliminated. All responsibilities will be taken over by the town. The town supervisor, Peter Vroman, will continue as the supervisor with no additional pay. Same goes for the town board. They will take over legislative responsibilities without a pay increase.

“All responsibility will shift towards the town,” Avery said.

The village would become its own special district to be created to cover cost of services.

Any village debt would remain the village’s responsibility and stay in the boundaries.

Avery said if the new district wanted garbage pick up or roads plowed during the winter, it would be taxed accordingly.

The possible future plans for the former Beech-Nut plant would be a shared municipal building.

On the Church Street side of the building would be a joint court facility and the other side of the building will be shared municipal offices.

“Because of Beech-Nut,” Avery said referring to why the village was chosen for the dissolution rather than any of the other municipalities. “It cost millions to take down a building.”

Covering the cost of the rehabilitation of the former Beech-Nut plant would be $8 million out of a $20 million award that could be possibly won from the Municipal Consolidation and Efficiency Competition for local governments. Montgomery county is one of six counties competing for the award.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced the Municipal Consolidation and Efficiency Competition last November. The competition is made up of two phases.

Roehr, who has dedicated a lot of his time to the project, said the first phase was for counties to submit a initial proposal and the second phase was the selected six counties to submit the official proposal to be considered for the award.

There have been no decisions made yet for the dissolution of the village.

“We thought we should exam the dissolution and the implications instead of saying ‘No,’” Avery said.

The mayor said they plan to have more meetings and continue to examine the dissolution, so they can have a solid plan before putting it to a vote.

“There are lots of questions to be answered,” Avery said.

By Patricia Older

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