Should the village of Schuylerville be dissolved and merged with the town of Saratoga?
“I feel we should do shared services and nothing else,” said Schuylerville Mayor John Sherman.
But a total of 383 village residents — more than half of the village’s registered voters — think otherwise. The Village Board of Trustees has received and accepted a petition from the residents asking the village to explore dissolving to save taxpayer money.
“What we want is the study,” said Wendy Lukas, co-chairwoman of the Residents of Schuylerville-Victory Plan (RSVP).
She said the dissolution process includes a required study of the impacts of dissolving the village of 1,200 residents.
Once the study is done and a local committee reviews the findings, a vote of village residents would be held on the issue. The earliest such a referendum could occur would be March, 2011.
Lukas and other members of her organization think the mandatory study would show that taxpayers would save money by consolidating services and ending duplication of services.
Sherman maintains village residents would lose current services such as garbage pickup and street and sidewalk improvements and repairs. Lukas said this is not the case. She said the town would just take over these services.
In the adjacent, and smaller, village of Victory, the new mayor, James Sullivan, campaigned earlier this year on the pledge of studying the possible dissolution of that village and becoming part of the town of Saratoga.
Both villages are within the boundaries of the town of Saratoga.
Brenda Buchanan, deputy Victory village clerk, said Friday no dissolution petition has been presented to the Victory village trustees, nor has the issue been discussed at village board meetings.
Sullivan, who at age 26 became one of the youngest mayor’s in Victory’s history, was out of town Friday and not available for comment.
Sherman said the Schuylerville village board is required to conduct a dissolution study after accepting the petition at the board’s May 18 meeting.
“We have to go ahead with it,” Sherman said. He said the board must establish a committee and hire a firm to do a study.
The town has applied for a state grant of $50,000 to pay for the study but has not heard yet whether the grant has been approved.
Sherman said the dissolution committee would include two residents of the town of Saratoga and five village residents.
“It’s going to cost taxpayers,” Sherman said about the dissolution process. “It’s a long process and an expensive process.”
Both he and Lukas said a referendum on the issue could not be held until the March 2011 village elections.
Lukas said the Schuylerville village board was actually presented the petition on March 16 but did not accept it until May.
She said other villages in the region have taken advantage of high efficiency grants from the state Department of State to study dissolution to save taxpayer money and avoid duplication.
“Duplication is wasteful,” Lukas said.
Sherman said he and other members of the village board think Schuylerville would lose its identity as “the most historic village in the state” if it dissolved and became part of the town of Saratoga.
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