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Push to dissolve Village of Whitesboro continues, but Mayor says it will cost big

By By CAROLINE GABLE

WHITESBORO, N.Y. (WKTV) - Some residents in the Village of Whitesboro want to see the village merge with the Town of Whitestown in an effort to reduce property taxes.

However, the Mayor of Whitesboro, Brenda Gilberti, is speaking out saying that the process is going to cost the village and its residents big bucks.

Thanks to a relatively new state law, it is pretty easy for residents to consolidate or dissolve layers of local government, and that's exactly what some Whitesboro residents want to see happen.

Brett Johnson says he cares about his sidewalks and sewage in Whitesboro, and he doesn't care who is in charge, as long as those things are well maintained.

Johnson feels his taxes are too high. So, he signed a recent petition to dissolve the Village of Whitesboro and consolidate it with the Town of Whitestown.

Johnson also received a newsletter sent out by the Village Board of Whitesboro addressing the consolidation issue, and he says not impressed.

"You read this, and it shows what they're going to take away," he said. "And they're not really taking away much, because they've already taken away most things due to the fact that they don't have enough funding."

Village Mayor Brenda Gilberti says she wants residents to have all the facts before they sign a petition.

"In the initial stages, it will increase taxes," Gilberti said. "Eventually, plans to dissolve save, at most, between 2% and 5%, if any money at all. The costs factors are unknown. You will no longer have a Local Village Justice, a Village Historian, Police department, a DPW department and it is unknown what would happen with the fire department, because as of right now, the Town of Whitestown can not own a fire department." .

Dissolving and consolidating the village isn't cheap. It requires attorneys and consultants to outlines costs, taxation, and services. That process could cost upwards of $100,000.

A petition with the signatures of 10% of registered village voters is required to bring the issue to a village wide vote. According to the mayor, a newly submitted petition did not have enough valid signatures, and a copy was not submitted to Whitestown - a necessity for the consolidation procedure.

Now, a second petition is circulating among residents.

Mayor Gilberti suggested sharing services with neighboring towns in order to save money, because one of the main reasons behind the petition is cost in the village. Johnson says he doesn't like having to pay both a village and a town tax.

The Village of Whitesboro has yet to receive a second petition, and so they have not taken any action beyond meeting with concerned citizens.

If the Village of Whitesboro is eventually dissolved, the action is permanent and it can not be reversed.

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