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Village dissolution proposal talk revived

LAKE GEORGE - The municipal leaders of Lake George are seeking the opinions of local residents before they take action on a proposal to dissolve the village government.

Residents of Lake George are urged to attend an informal public hearing Thursday Feb. 4 and air their views on the issue. This hearing will be followed up with a similar hearing the village is poised to schedule.

Also, the village board is likely to be discussing the issue at their next meeting 7 p.m. Monday Feb. 8.

Town Supervisor Frank McCoy said this week he and the town board members want to hear the will of the people to help the board decide what direction to take on the issue.

"We're looking for input," he said. "We need to know where our town residents want to go with this."

Although only the village residents would be able to choose whether or not to dissolve, both governments are seeking to gauge public opinion before they hold a vote on the proposal. Scheduling a public referendum in March 2011 on dissolution has been under consideration.

A dissolution study conducted last year indicated that if the village were dissolved, taxes would go down 24 percent in the village - saving an average village homeowner $396 annually - but taxes would increase for town residents by 9 percent, an increase of $32 for the average household. Such a tax shift would occur in the early years, with savings increasing for all in subsequent years as the village's debt is paid off. Primarily, savings would be reaped in the elimination of administrative jobs and costs, as many municipal services are now shared, the study concluded.

While there was enthusiasm initially to dissolve the village, this sentiment has waned recently after the town raised their tax levy for 2010 by 26 percent, and the village had a zero percent increase, Village Mayor Robert Blais said.

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