Residents ask town to consider consolidation with village

   A group of three Village of Caledonia residents asked to be on the agenda at the February 12, 2009 Caledonia Town Board meeting. Spokesperson for the group, Barbara Keenan, asked Supervisor Dan Pangrazio and the other board members, if they would be interested in investigating an effort to consolidate the village and the town into one municipality.

   Keenan said the idea to consolidate is on many residents’ minds as a way of saving money for taxpayers. Consolidating the town and the village might eliminate duplication of services and allow a reduction in others, resulting in a savings to the taxpayers, she explained.

   "From an economical point of view, we should be looking at sharing services and whether or not that will save the taxpayers money," Keenan said.

   Pangrazio listened and said the town board would be interested in studying the idea. He said there is grant money available to help with the costs of the study.

   "It’s something that should be looked at. It’s not an easy task but I have received several phone calls from residents interested in the idea. We’d be interested in being part of a feasibility study," Pangrazio said.

   The supervisor was recently in Albany and says Attorney General Andrew Cuomo talked about this very subject.

   "Cuomo suggests consolidation for the right reasons, the dollars and cents of what will help the taxpayers during these difficult economic times," the supervisor told the board and the others attending the meeting.

   Councilperson Mark Rothrock agreed saying that the town board is interested in doing whatever it can to consolidate town and village services and save the taxpayers money. Jay Jones, a town resident and president of the Caledonia-Mumford Central School Board of Education, also agreed that the difficult economic situation dictates that municipalities, including public school districts, work together to find ways to consolidate and work together to lessen the impact of taxes on residents. Jones said he’d like for the school to be included in any discussions of the town, village and school working together.

   Keenan plans to get on the agenda for an upcoming meeting of the village board to determine if they are interested in studying such a consolidation of town and village governments.

    The town expects a possible 50 percent cut in CHIPS (Consolidated Highway Improvement Program) money for the 2009-2010 budget year. While in Albany recently, Pangrazio and other town supervisors fought to have full CHIPS revenue reinstated.

   Town Code Enforcement Officer Tom Perkins updated the board on the new building code requirements regarding workers’ compensation. Perkins sent out junk car notices to residents violating this code and reported on the demolition of three trailers in the Caledonia Mobile Home park.

   Councilperson Pam Rychlicki says red plastic piping will be placed next to the graves of veterans buried in the town cemetery on Church Street. Marking these graves will make it easier for legion members to identify the plots to be marked with American flags on Memorial Day.

   Rychlicki is working with town resident Dick Thomas to organize a farm market for Caledonia this summer. The idea is to feature products from local farmers, gardeners and other local participants who may have a product to offer. The plan is to set up the farm market on the side lawn of the Caledonia Library and donate a portion of the proceeds to the association to help with annual operating costs.

   Highway Superintendent Mark Schroeder reported on his department’s activity, which included a great deal of snow plowing and salting roads as well as trimming dead tree limbs along Quarry Road and maintenance on the town building. The town budget includes $170,000 in funding for road maintenance in the coming year.

   The next meeting of the Caledonia Town Board will be March 10, 2009 at 7 p.m. in Tennent Hall.