Info session on Middleburgh dissolution Monday


By Jim Poole

Middleburgh village residents will learn more about dissolving their village--and have their say about it--on Monday.
A public hearing about dissolution will be at 7pm in the high school auditorium. Village residents only will vote on dissolution in a special election February 19.
A public hearing is essential, Mayor Matthew Avitabile said, "because I think people should get informed."
Former mayor Gary Hayes presented a petition, signed by 85 village residents, in October, to get the process moving.
Mr. Hayes believes dissolving the village into the town may be a way to save taxpayers' money, but Mayor Avitabile believes otherwise.
Village and town officials have been reviewing options over the past few weeks, Mayor Avitabile said, "and we could lose services but still have higher taxes."
Those possibilities may come to light at Monday's hearing.
Mayor Avitabile said there will be several presentations, some of them covering what may happen if residents approve dissolution in the February 19 vote.
If dissolution passes, Mayor Avitabile said, the village will lose its non-property tax revenue, such as CHIPs and FEMA money, which accounts for half of village revenue.
The town presumably could pick up services formerly run by the village--the pool and fire department, for example--but would have to raise taxes to pay for them.
The public hearing "will look at restoring those services in case there's a 'yes' vote," Mayor Avitabile said. "I don't think those services are going away.
"The town can't get additional state aid. The money has to come from somewhere."
Monday's hearing will "have all the options on the table," Mayor Avitabile added.
Officials will hear suggestions and opinions from the audience, and there will be time for questions.