Six months after consultants found advantages—but not necessarily savings—in shuttering the Village of Cobleskill, the village has decided to look seriously at the possibility.
In a 3-2 vote Tuesday, Mayor Mike Sellers and trustees agreed to put together a committee to study dissolution.
Under state law, what’s likely to be a year-long look at the possibility is required before deciding whether to even put the question to voters—who would have the final say.
The study, explained Trustee Mark Galasso, who put it on the table, would come up with “solutions” for dealing with everything from no more village court to how to best provide services like sewer and water.
Trustee Linda Holmes pointed out consultants CGR’s study showed no savings in dissolving the village.
She also said that when she went door-to-door collecting signatures for her petition to run as trustee, she heard overwhelming support for the “heritage” of the village.
“Not for the tax bill I got,” answered Mr. Galasso, who said, as he has in the past, that his goal is a single county government.
If the village is going to look at dissolution, said Trustee Sandy MacKay, it also needs to look at becoming a city, an option he supports.
“People have talked about this for 20 years,” said Mayor Sellers. “Let’s put it on the ballot and let the people decide. Who are we to say what the voters think all the time?”
In a trend for the meeting, Mr. Galasso, Trustee Bob LaPietra, and Mayor Sellers voted to create the committee; Mr. MacKay and Ms. Holmes voted against it.
No size for the committee or members were set.
Also Tuesday, in the same 3-2 vote, the village agreed to replace attorney Meredith Savitt with Edward Wildove in a money-saving move.
After interviewing Mr. Wildove, Mayor Sellers had asked Mr. Galasso and Ms. Holmes to do the same.
If they agreed with his assessment that Mr. Wildove would be right for the job, Mayor Sellers said, he’d appointment him.
As to the question of whether there are any potential conflicts of interests with clients Mr. Wildove is already representing, Mr. Galasso said there’s only one potential case—involving Mr. LaPietra against the village in a zoning case Mr. LaPietra said is “done”—and Mr. Wildove has agreed to back out of it.
Mr. Galasso and Ms. Holmes said Mr. Wildove has represented a number of other municipalities through the years, including Middleburgh and Richmondville.
In answer to a question from the audience, Ms. Holmes said they hadn’t talked to any of the other municipalities, but would like to.
They never got the chance, however.
Mr. Galasso, Mr. LaPietra and Mayor Sellers voted in favor of hiring Mr. Wildove; Mr. MacKay and Ms. Holmes voted against it.
Trustees said Mr. Wildove will take the job for $12,000 a year—half of what Ms. Savitt has been getting.