Village approves consolidation study

LAKE GEORGE The Village Board moved further toward creating one single local government as they voted Monday to hire a consultant to study the feasibility of consolidating the village and town. The board voted unanimously to hire Fairweather Consulting of New Paltz for up to $50,000 to study the financial consequences and service continuity issues associated with consolidating the two local governments the town and the village. The firm has bid $48,775 to conduct the study, and Village Mayor Robert Blais said the state Dept. of State has indicated that their office would likely shoulder 90 percent of the studys cost. Town and village officials have been discussing for years about how consolidation might boost efficiency in shared services, but disputes have arisen over how the merger would be best accomplished. Town Supervisor Lou Tessier said Wednesday the consolidation would occur easily if the village government merely took action to dissolve itself. In other business, the Village board decided to set a cap on money it pays the South Warren Snowmobile Club to groom and maintain snowmobile trails. Support for the group was once set at $2,500, but it was beneficial in recent years to allow the club members to fill their gasoline tanks and pass the tab to the village instead giving the group a cash payment. This past year, Blais reported, the clubs fill-ups had cost the Village $4,480 due to soaring fuel prices. The board responded to the news by voting to revert to a cash payment of $2,500. The board discussed ongoing parking problems in the streets surrounding the Lake George High School. A greater number of students are now driving their cars, and parking spots are becoming harder to find in the vicinity of the high school, causing a burden on residents, business employees and visitors, board members said. Students driving sometimes is apparently unsafe, board members said, causing a hazard to pedestrians in the vicinity. Board members discussed the possibility of installing speed bumps. The board decided to meet with school officials to see if they could establish a parking lot on their own property. In other business, the board voted to name additional alternate members to two Village legislative bodies: the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals. The additional members are needed to assure quorums could be fulfilled and business could be routinely conducted, they said. Also, the board voted to pay Caldwell Presbyterian Church $500 for the use this summer of a plot of its property for parking. The village will be providing gravel for the lot as part of the deal. Mayor Blais announced that the construction of the Fire Safety Building would cost less than expected due to some cosmetic changes. The board voted to decrease the construction contract by $62,250 and reduce a hauling and demolition contract by $5,000. The board also heard a complaint from resident Scott Dunklee that Stafford Funeral Home proprietor Joanne Stafford Paige was blocking off public parking on Montcalm St. on days and times other than for funerals and wakes, and she was allowing some people to park in the vicinity of the funeral home, but not others. Mayor Blais said the village might remove the signs discouraging parking by the funeral home, because the signs had no legal authority anyway. He said hed discuss the matter of parking practices and restrictions with Paige.

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