VILLAGE RESIDENTS VOTE TO MAINTAIN CONTROL OF REPRESENTATION, SERVICES, AND TAXES WITHIN THE VILLAGE
Residents voted against the dissolution of the Village of Highland Falls by a count of 779-450.
GOING ABOVE AND BEYOND REQUIREMENTS FOR PUBLIC INFORMATION REGARDING IMPLICATIONS OF A POTENTIAL DISSOLUTION
The dissolution process began with a citizen-initiated petition which led to a Village referendum in November of 2020. Though not required by law, Village leadership opted to commission an Interim Dissolution Study, conducted by Laberge Group’s Government Operations team, to provide Highland Falls citizens with the information they would need to make an informed, fact-based decision when voting in the public referendum on dissolution.
Laberge Group developed the Interim Dissolution Study based on information gleaned from research, documentation, and numerous meetings with board members from both the Village and Town leadership, as well as department heads and municipal employees with key information regarding municipal operations of the Village.
This information was reviewed, analyzed, and compiled into a final Study that gave voters a clear and unbiased understanding of the implications that a potential village dissolution may have had on:
(1) The provision of services.
(2) Property taxes.
(3) Representation in local government.
(4) Village identity.
Potential impacts on services that were particularly important to voters included police, emergency dispatch, and water services. Issues regarding control of land use policy and zoning laws was another issue of concern raised by Village residents, as was the impact on Village employees.
VILLAGE DISSOLUTIONS IN NEW YORK STATE
Laberge Group is among the State’s most experienced experts in village dissolution, not only developed Dissolution Studies, but also taken a hands-on role in both the development and implementation of dissolutions plans for communities throughout New York State.
The team is able to leverage insights gleaned from this hands-on experience to provide assessments of the potential “bumps, bruises, and pitfalls” associated with each specific village dissolution – and deliver practical advice on how to avoid them. This experience has also led to the Government Operations team’s focus on healing the community fissures that can be created by a spirited, and often contentious, dissolution referendum process.
multiple avenues for public participation
Public participation and dissemination of factual information were an important component of this inclusive process, particularly given the heightened emotions that typically surround village dissolutions. The input and insights of Village residents was gathered through numerous avenues and informed the development of the Interim Study.
Public participation opportunities and public information efforts included:
- Development of a public information website designed to keep the public engaged and informed in the process.
- Weekly email updates.
- Online postings regarding committee meetings.
- An active Question & Answer forum in which inquiries from the public were addressed by Laberge Group team members.
- One-on-one Office Hour sessions which provided members the opportunity to speak one-on-one with members of the Laberge Group consulting team.
The Village, Town, and Laberge Group also partnered to facilitate two public meetings to inform the public about the initiation of the Study and contents of the Draft Study.
GET IN TOUCH
Has your community been discussing Village Dissolution? If so, Laberge Group is happy to be a resource to you during any phase of the conversation.
Our Government Operations & Efficiency team is among the most experienced in the State, having collaborated on 6 of the 12 most recent village dissolutions in New York.
Please reach out with any questions you have, either by filling out this form or contacting Ben Syden at (518) 458-7112. We’ll be happy to help.