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Opinion: No to Dissolution

Written By Editor on 10/16/13 | 10/16/13

No one can take away Cobleskill Mayor Mark Galasso's forthrightness. He laid his platform out there during his races for Trustee and Mayor. He was elected in 2011 expressly on the platform of dissolving the Village of Cobleskill and hopes to win on the same platform again.

Galasso's popularity has taken a hit since 2011 in large part to his allegiance to the dissolution cause. Part of this had to do with his shifting of the water district.

Take Galasso's first election as Mayor in 2010. Trustee Sandy McKay was interviewed in the Cobleskill paper and was skeptical of the water extention plan that Galasso was trumpeting.
Mr. MacKay countered that by selling water without annexing nearby land, the village is surrendering its resources without gaining any tax base. 
And, he added, if the village did sell water, the revenue would go in the water fund and wouldn’t reduce taxes.
McKay did make mistakes during the campaign, but this statement is spot on. The water line extension will bring in a new Stewart's but no guarantee of much else outside of Howe Caverns. Instead, it finds the municipality's power reduced and any additional funds floundered.  Due to Galasso's insistence, the additional 150% rate for out-of-Village water has been reduced to parity, reducing the amount of money coming in. Mr. Galasso's effort to divert money from the water fund to the general fund was also not allowed.

The analysis of the cost-benefits of dissolution also showed mere pennies on the dollar of savings. Plans to cut personnel at the police department are contentious while many savings have already been found by consolidating the Village and Town departments of public works. Future savings would be minimal.

Meanwhile, the idea of transforming Cobleskill into a city appear dead in the water. If the Village does, in fact, dissolve there is a likely chance that re-incorporation would be near-impossible.

Just as in Middleburgh, there is a particular distaste with the idea that the residents of the Town could not vote on the issue. Even though the majority of the Town's residents do live in the Town, the prospect of taxation without representation is unpopular to say the least. Beyond this, as the NY Council of Mayors stated earlier this year, in every case of a Village dissolution, Town taxes have significantly risen.

There may be a time for dissolution, but this is not the case. Mayor Galasso's fate may rise and fall with the public sentiment revolving around this and if this is the case there is a clear choice for the voters this fall.
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