Study on village dissolution raises concerns

LAKE GEORGE - Who takes over the village assets and debts if the village dissolves will dramatically effect taxes, and the issue has already sparked controversy.

After years of rumors and months of study, Fairweather Consulting presented its findings and recommendations Thursday to the Lake George Village Dissolution Committee. A process riddled with potential pitfalls, committee members waded through the intricacies of a complex hypothetical conglomeration of resources which would eliminate the village.

Under immediate control of Fairweather and local consulting powerhouse Elan Planning and Design, the year-long study apparently is pursuing a positivist, 'can-do' approach. But, if village dissolution and consolidation with the town is to ever come-to- pass concessions will be required, from both sides, officials say.

Lake George Village Mayor Bob Blais has argued that the redundancy in services is an unnecessary drain on the local tax-base, especially village property owners, and that village dissolution and an accompanying consolidation would be to the benefit of residents within both municipalities.

"This undertaking needs to be a win-win for everyone," said Dissolution Committee Member John Carr. "Everything boils down to who is using it and who is paying for it."

The primary sticking point, is, of course, the proverbial 'brass tacks.'

Lake George village owns assets exceeding $10.9 million in value, including the water treatment plant and rights to collect the massive parking ticket revenue. Conversely, the $2 million dollar general fund debt service and 25 year mortgage on the new firehouse is an ever-present reality as well.

It is the ownership of these two monetary entities that defines the current debate.

New York State Law states that upon dissolution, the assets of the former village become property of the town, Weidemann said. Furthermore, without a contract with the town stating otherwise, village debt would fall to the former village residents and property owners only, according to New York Town Law.

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