Benjamin Syden, Vice President of Laberge Group, delivered a presentation Monday during the Fonda Board of Trustees meeting outlining methods for the villages of Fonda and Fultonville to study consolidation or enhance shared services. Interim Fultonville Mayor George Donaldson and Fultonville Trustee Linda Denton also attended the meeting. Syden was invited by Fonda Mayor William Peeler to give the presentation as there has been talk within the state and Montgomery County about pursuing ideas for consolidation.
Syden offered a number of key takeaways:
- Since 2010, there has been an uptick of communities looking into shared services, functional consolidation, full consolidation or dissolution.
- Shared services is the least drastic option
- Functional consolidation would be the next step up, with two municipalities remaining separate but cooperating to provide services to all residents.
- A consolidation would occur between two equal levels of government.
- A dissolution would involve a lower level of government dissolving into a higher level, such as a village dissolving into a town.
- The state would provide a consolidated village of Fonda-Fultonville with 15 percent of its joint tax levy as a grant annually in perpetuity
- The new consolidated entity would be legally required to use 70 percent of this grant funding to lower taxes, but the remaining 30 percent could be used for any purpose.
- If 10 percent of registered voters in municipality sign a petition to hold a dissolution or consolidation referendum, the community would be forced to hold a public vote on the proposal.
- 10 percent of registered voters in each municipality would have to sign separate petitions in support of the measure for a referendum to be held, according to Syden.
- If a petition filed in each village, then each municipality would have 10 days to certify if there are enough valid signatures.
- If there were enough, a public vote in both villages would have to be held within 30 days.
- The New N.Y. Government Reorganization and Citizen Empowerment Act, which became effective in March 2010, provides citizens the ability to petition for consolidation or dissolution.
- While reviews are not required by lay, studying the issue outside of the petition process allows municipalities more time to review potential options