Consolidation report expected June 5


By Jim Poole

A study that examines a range of options for Cobleskill’s town and village governments will become public in the next few weeks.
The Center for Governmental Research has been working since August on the study, which will detail everything from increased shared services to combining the town and village into one municipality.
“We have studied the full range of options, up to and including consolidation, and the underlying issues,” CGR’s Scott Sittig said.
Officials originally scheduled the meeting for last Thursday but postponed it to give the public more time to learn about it.
The rescheduled public session will be held June 5 at 7pm at the Cobleskill Fire House.
Public participation with the study is key, said John O’Donnell, a member of a local committee that’s been working with CGR.
“The public has to be intimately involved,” he said. “They have to see what CGR’s done, what’s smart for the long-term.”
CGR has been studying town and village financial data for months, in addition to interviewing local leaders and business people.
“They’re looking at the entire cost of government for the village and town,” said Mr. O’Donnell.
From that data and more, CGR put together “a set of options” that town and village leaders––and the public––will look at, Mr. Sittig said.
He didn’t detail those options, instead choosing to wait for the upcoming meeting.
At least one of those options will be increasing shared services, which the town and village do to some extent now. A pending agreement to bring village water and sewer service to part of the town is one example.
Most committee members believe CGR’s options hold much more potential.
“There are a lot of great possibilities here,” said Mayor Sellers, who’s on the committee and has seen CGR’s report.
“People want things to work better. These things are do-able, but it will take real leadership and courage to do them.”
Town Supervisor Roger Cohn was more cautious.
“What we’ll do is lay out the numbers and look at the bottom line,” he said. “I don’t know if they’ll tell us any more than we already know.”
But Mr. O’Donnell said outside consultants like CGR provide insights that local leaders might not see.
“They can look at our big picture and make suggestions that aren’t political,” Mr. O’Donnell said.
CGR will present its study at the upcoming meeting and take feedback from the public, Mr. Sittig said.
Then, after a two-week period for further comment, CGR will release its final study.
“We’re making no formal recommendations,” Mr. Sittig said. “Cobleskill can take the options and chart a course.”