Posts Tagged ‘village of corinth’

Voters in the Village of Corinth voted 338-209 last Tuesday against dissolving the village and being absorbed by the town. Doing some reading on the subject, I’ve found some very interesting points to share which should help us better understand the complexity of the dissolution/consolidation process and how it could possibly play out in our own region.

Studies of dissolution options showed that while village residents may have realized an annual tax savings of between $145 to $242 (per $100,000 assessed value), town residents could have seen anywhere from a $48 decrease to a $137 increase. The amount of savings depended on whether a resident utilized municipal sewer and water services, and also on the availability of funds from NY State’s Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM) program. AIM was designed to help communities who decide to dissolve/consolidate with additional funding. However it seems that the actual availability of these funds was so questionable, that scenarios with and without this funding had to be considered.

A key issue in this situation was whether Epcor Power LP, which is part of a large transnational corporation and operates the Curtis-Palmer Hydro plant, would discontinue certain funding that they had been providing for the village or possibly challenge their tax assessment. It appears that this was a serious concern, based on past attempts by the company and the failure of Epcor to assure the panel that it would not seek to decrease their funding. The possibility was deemed great enough to include the scenario in the study (although the language in the study seems to downplay the risk), which showed that village residents could see an annual $445  increase in taxes (per $100,000 assessed value) if Epcor was successful in reducing their funding after the dissolution.

Given all these factors, the village panel charged with studying the idea actually recommended against dissolution  in November 2010. Village officials, including the mayor, also recommended against dissolution. Nevertheless, village officials were not opposed to holding a referendum on the proposal, but they also indicated they didn’t want to rush to a vote either. However, it appears that a well-organized citizen’s group gained the necessary number of signatures to petition for a vote in January anyway.

It’s interesting to note here, that there are two types of actions that citizens can petition for – dissolution or consolidation. Since the citizen’s group petitioned for dissolution of the village, only the village was required to vote, even though it was clear that the town would be affected considerably by this action. If the referendum had passed, the town would have been forced to accept a de-facto consolidation.

So one has to wonder, what was driving this “citizen’s group” to push through this referendum given the very real possibility that dissolution would have raised taxes for both village and town residents, and the very real possibility that the greatest tax savings could end up going to a large transnational corporation?