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Residents discuss dissolution of nearly 200-year-old village

By ANNA MEILER

VILLAGE OF BRIDGEWATER, N.Y. (WKTV) -- The Village of Bridgewater has been in place since 1825, but by next year, that designation could disappear.

On Monday, residents gathered to discuss whether to dissolve the village and become part of the town. These kind of debates can be heated because there's the possibility of losing fire departments, or police agencies or a village identity.

But, those things really aren't at stake here and both sides seem to consider this a win-win.

The mayor of the Village of Bridgewater says now is the time to dissolve.

That's because the state is offering them a tax credit that will defray some of the costs the town would incur by taking over services the village currently provides. These mainly include sidewalk maintenance, street lighting and snow removal. The tax credit would lower taxes for everyone.

The village has also lost 20 percent of it's residents over the last ten years- down to 470 people, meaning there are fewer residents to pay taxes and participate in local government.

"There are monetary incentives from the state to coming to assist with the transition from dissolving the village to having just a town government and it's also the issue of having local residents step up and run for office or serve in appointed positions," said Gary Comstock, mayor of the Village of Bridgewater.

The town supervisor in the Town of Bridgewater, Dale Deking, said there are sentiments attached to the village and it would be sad to see it go, but that partly due to disinterest in the village, dissolution is the best option.

"We do so much already as shared services with the village that they're really isn't going to be a big impact on the town. Even tonight at this meeting there was more town residents than village residents which I find very sad," said Deking.

Village residents will vote in March and town residents are excluded from voting. If it passes, the village will officially dissolve in January of 2015. If it doesn't, it will continue to operate and they won't be able to reconsider dissolution for another four years.

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