By Cathy DeDe, Chronicle Managing Editor
Lake George Town Supervisor Dennis Dickinson hopes the Lake George Village dissolution proposal “is turned down” by village voters in the September 13 vote.
“I’m not sure dissolution is the way to go, that it is beneficial to all parties,” Mr. Dickinson told The Chronicle. He confirmed the position after last week’s Laberge Group consultant presentation.
He notes, as does the Laberge study, that the Town and Village already have “a very cooperative relationship.”
They share services ranging from the joint Planning Department and EMS services, to paying for lifeguards at the Village beaches and flower plantings.
“People think if you get rid of the Village mayor and trustees you save money, but no,” Mr. Dickinson said. “Somebody’s got to do the work.”
He notes the Mayor’s salary is $40,000, “with about half of his time spent as an event coordinator.” If the Mayor’s job is eliminated, the town would need “to hire someone at a similar rate to do that work,” says Mr. Dickinson.
Laberge suggests the position could cost the Town as much as $50,000.
The rest of the mayor’s salary — if the job is eliminated — “the Town Supervisor should get that, for taking on all the extra work of the Village,” said Mr. Dickinson.
He notes that it won’t affect him anyway. If the vote goes through, “by the time they dissolve the Village and bump up the pay, it won’t be me. I’ll be retired.”
(Mr. Dickinson said he earns $40,000 between Town Supervisor and member of the County Board of Supervisors.)
“People want to know one thing. What’s going to happen to their taxes?” says Mr. Dickinson.
He says New York State’s consolidation incentive of “about half a million dollars annually…$500,000 would go a long way to make sure nobody’s taxes go up,” but he cautions, “until they change the law.”
(Mayor Bob Blais and the village board are proposing to commit parking meter revenue to offset the state incentive.)
Mr. Dickinson says of the village’s parking meeting revenue: “That $800,000 to $1 million income, it’s not free money” to the town if the village is dissolved.
He cites maintenance of the meters, collecting the money and chasing those who don’t pay. “We get calls all the time at the Town with people who got tickets. It’s its own hassle,” said Mr. Dickinson.
Rather than dissolve Lake George Village, Mr. Dickinson said, “I don’t know that consolidation wouldn’t be better for both parties” — the village and town.
“About a year and a half ago we talked about doing a study to address the outcomes of either dissolution or consolidation, which are two entirely different things, legally,” but it never happened.
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