Questions & Answers
Community engagement from the citizens of the Village of Lake George is a vital part of the process of developing an Interim Dissolution Study. As the process progresses, this page you will feature questions submitted by Lake George community members, as well as Frequently Asked Questions regarding village dissolution.
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Questions Submitted by the Village of Lake George Community
Only registered voters in the Village can vote in the referendum.
Should the residents of the Village vote to dissolve the Village, there will no longer be a Village government. As such, all services and governance will be provided by the Town.
If the Village does not vote to dissolve, governance and service delivery remain the same as it is today.
Per the NYS law, the CETC is provided to the Town in perpetuity. We are preliminarily calculating it as approximately $500,000 pending the final municipal budgets in the year prior to dissolution.
State law mandates that at least 70% be used to lower the Town tax levy (remember that is for all property owners including those in the former Village as the Village government would have been dissolved).
The discussion at the Public Meeting regarding the $350,000 was a minimum utilization of the CETC to lower taxes. We have not progressed far enough yet in the plan development to determine or even speculate on how the funds may be used. The Town could choose to use all of it to lower the property tax levy, or use the $150,000 for other purposes. That is an annual decision by the Town Board as they develop their fiscal budgets.
Please note that the remaining 30% can be used for Town budgeted items. The debt service that remains in the legacy “district” (this is not a real district, only a line item on the tax bill to pay for legacy debts/costs) or the sewer district are not Town budgeted items and the funds cannot be used to pay down that debt. Town-wide funds cannot be used to reduce costs in special districts.
Unfortunately these questions are value and/or judgement questions – both of which are not ours to make. Our role is to provide unbiased information on the process and the potential outcome from which you can determine the reasons for or against dissolution.
Question A –
As far as historical reasons for the creation of villages, there are many including but not limited to:
- Along trade routes for economic development
- To provide for water and/or sewer infrastructure
- Public protection (former forts or strategic locations
- Ports of entry
- Land Use control
- Political considerations
Question B –
As far as whether or not these reasons still apply to the Village of Lake George, we have not researched the historical reasoning for the creation of the Village Lake George and as such are not in a position to make a judgement.
Questions C and D –
The Interim Study of Dissolution will outline potential changes resulting from a dissolution of the Village of Lake George government. Each community is different, and each voter needs to decide for themselves whether or not the reasons for or against dissolution outweigh each other.
Please contact the village clerk to obtain a copy of the village budget(s).
The Village is creating an Interim Dissolution Study that will provide information for residents to review prior to the referendum. You are correct, a Final Dissolution Plan is not created until after the vote.
Thank you for your inquiry, however, your question is too broad for us to provide an answer to. Please refer to the Draft Interim Report for our findings when it is complete. In short, a village dissolution means that the governance and service delivery will be provided by the Town, and the government of the Village of Lake George will cease to exist.
The Interim Report will provide a service delivery model and the fiscal impact to property owners and should be available for review towards the end of August.
Please refer to the FAQ section of the project website for additional answers to frequent questions as there may be information pertaining to additional specific questions contained therein.
Dissolution does not affect school or county taxes.
Changes in development are not part of the scope of this Interim Report and suggest that you speak with the Village and Town Planning Department about upcoming developments.
Dissolution of villages is now governed by the New NY Local Government Re-organization Act and Citizen Empowerment Act adopted in 2010, (specifically General Municipal Law Article 17-a). Outstanding debts and liabilities are addressed in Section §790 of the statute and its states, “The outstanding debts, liabilities and obligations of the dissolved local government entity shall be assumed by the Town in which the dissolved Village was situated and shall be a charge upon the taxable property within the Village entity (entity dissolved) collected in the same manner as town taxes. The town board shall have all powers with respect to such debts and obligations as the board of trustees would have had if the village had not been dissolved, including the power to issue town bonds to redeem bond anticipation notes issued by the village.” This is essentially the same as the language that was historically found in Village Law Section 19 which was superseded by Article 17-a of GML.
In response to your question regarding the debt for the Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) post dissolution, any debt remaining at the time of dissolution will become a charge upon the users in the sewer districts benefiting from the WWTP ( as is currently allocated). This debt will be amortized over time pursuant to the terms of final agreement. We are currently working to calculate the impacts of this bonding as well as all existing bonding, other liabilities and potential offsetting assets; all of which will be included in the fiscal impact section of the Interim Study of Dissolution. Similarly, debt service payments for other special district functions including water and fire will continue to be a charge to the system users. All long term debt and long term liabilities will be funded through an annual legacy taxing district tax levy upon the properties in the Village based on taxable assessed valuation.
The CETC, estimated at approximately $496K, becomes a revenue to the Town of Lake George post dissolution and will be applied to the town-wide Town budget. Town revenues may not be used to support special districts.
You are correct that it is not for us to give reasons for or against dissolution – as our charge is to provide unbiased information from which residents can choose their path forward.
Per your comments, as this is a dissolution vote under Article 17-A, it is not for us to determine whether or not a consolidation effort would have been a better option. The petition was for dissolution, so until that process comes to an end, consolidation cannot be taken up.
Under a dissolution all assets that are not sold prior to dissolution become the property of the town as a whole, all debts incurred by the Village are to be paid by the former village residents via a legacy district; the CETC goes to all taxpayers in the Town including those in the former village; and there is no ability for parking fees to be directed solely to the hamlet of Lake George.
The Waste Water Treatment Plant debt will be the responsibility of the Village and will be funded through the new Hamlet Sewer District and will be shared with the Caldwell Sewer District. Debt not associated with a special district is the responsibility of the Village and net of any assets applied to reduce the cost, is a charge upon the properties in the former Village. The CETC will go to the Town and minimally 70% must be used as an offset to the Town-wide property tax levy.
Thank you for your input. Please note that per the US Census, the population of a town includes the population of each of the incorporated villages within it.
Voting “no” to dissolution does not preclude the processes of consolidation of the Village and Town nor does it preclude the process of creating a coterminous Village – Town.
In a coterminous Town-Village the Town and Village share the same boundaries. The Town and the Village function together as a single local government or as two separate local governments. As a single unit of government, the governing body of one unit of the coterminous government serves as the governing body of the other unit. This process results in one of the forms of government being the primary form of government – either Town of Village – effectively eliminating the other as far as administration is concerned.
- Fire District that is a separate government entity with its own elected board, set its own budget and has the authority to levy taxes and incur debt; or
- Fire Protection District established by a Town and is an entity of the Town for purposes to raising revenues from the users in the protection district for the provision of fire services in the fire protection district; or
- Joint Fire District that can include the Town with other Towns and/or Villages.
Please click HERE to view a chart showing Village Liabilities and Indebtedness.
Each contract between the Town and Village has to be reviewed to determine the opportunity and/or availability of assets for disposition.
The following tables from the Interim Dissolution Study highlight the potential effect on town taxpayers:
Yes, please contact the Village Clerk to obtain an absentee ballot.
Please contact the Village Clerk’s Office.
The interim report is based on the 2021-22 Village Budget and the 2022 Town Budget. The Village Board Resolution came after the release of the draft Interim Study of Dissolution and the potential effect on a 2022-23 budget was not calculated into the report.
The proposal to use the $3M to reduce Village property taxes next year was introduced after the study process was conducted. To evaluate the impact of dissolution after a tax reduction is a different fiscal analysis once it was understood how the Village will use the $3M.to reduce the property tax rate. However, we do know that the impact of dissolution post the Village property tax reduction would be much less than in the study as savings has already been gained in a scenario where the Village taxes were already reduced by 35%. As the study pointed out, the majority of the savings is a result of the use of assets to offset long term liabilities.
In addition, as CETC is based on the budget in the tax year prior to the year of dissolution, any efforts to lower the Village Budget will result in a lower CETC as well.
All residents that are legally registered to vote at a residence in the Village of Lake George are eligible to vote.
All registered voters in the village are eligible to vote in the referendum per NYS General Municipal Law.
Based upon the assumptions and information provided to us, please see Table 3 from the plan pasted below. As the plan is not binding, we cannot guarantee post-dissolution results.
Click HERE to view Table 3: Estimated Post-Dissolution Village Property Owner Tax Impact
Per the Interim Dissolution Study, upon dissolution the Town will create taxing districts for the Hamlet of Lake George for fire, water and sewer services. Using today’s cost, the special district taxes have been included in the analysis of the post-dissolution tax structure.
The sale of assets has not been negotiated and/or discussed at this point of the process.
Click HERE to view the Village Property Taxpayer Table from the Interim Dissolution Study.
Frequently Asked Questions
General Municipal Law Article 17-A provides a unified process for the dissolution of local government entities. The process is applicable to towns, villages, fire protection districts, and special improvement districts created pursuant to Articles 11, 12, 12-a, or 13 of Town Law, and other districts created by law. Under Article 17-A of General Municipal Law, there are two different methods for local governments to consider: Board-Initiated or Citizen-Initiated.
The formal process established in Article 17-A for a citizen-initiated dissolution only charges the Village with the responsibility of developing a Dissolution Plan after the vote on dissolution and only if the referendum passes. However, the Village Board of Trustees has chosen to undertake this Interim Dissolution Study prior to the referendum to assist the citizens of the Village of Lake George in making an informed decision when voting in the referendum.
This interim study is being developed to answer as many questions as possible and to provide unbiased assessments regarding potential post-dissolution conditions and key issues that voters may choose to consider while making their decision and casting their vote.
This is a Citizen-Initiated process. On May 18, 2022 the electorate of the Village of Lake George submitted a completed Petition for Dissolution in accordance with the Article 17-A of General Municipal Law. The petition, which contained 99 valid signatures, was certified on May 26, 2022.
In accordance with New York General Municipal Law (GML) Article 17-A §774, the Board of Trustees of the Village of Lake George is only required to develop a Dissolution Plan after the vote on dissolution and only if the referendum passes. However, the Village Board of Trustees has chosen to undertake this Interim Dissolution Study prior to the referendum to assist the citizens of the Village of Lake George in making an informed decision when voting in the referendum.
General Municipal Law (GML) Article 17-A lays out the legal process for a Citizen-Initiated dissolution. In accordance with Article 17-A, the electorate of the Village of Lake George will cast votes in a referendum to determine whether or not the Village is to be dissolved. To learn about the full process of a Citizen-Initiated Dissolution, click HERE.
No. The Town of Lake George will have no vote in the Village’s dissolution process. This is considered a local government decision. Only the residents of the Village of Lake George are permitted to participate in the referendum.
Check this website periodically for updates. Information will also be available on the Village’s website.
Yes. Please use THIS LINK and then select “Villages Dissolved Since 1900” to access the New York State Department of State’s list of dissolved villages.
Submit a Question
Stay informed and active in the process by using the form below to submit your questions.
A reply to your question will be posted below within 5 business days (without your name).
Updated July 22, 2022