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Residents vote to dissolve Village of Bridgewater

By ANNA MEILER

VILLAGE OF BRIDGEWATER, N.Y. (WKTV) -- Residents in the Village of Bridgewater voted to dissolve and become part of the township Tuesday night.

Of the 249 registered voters, 40 voted in favor of consolidation, eight voted no.

Very few governments in New York have decided to dissolve since Gov. Cuomo started pushing for consolidation as attorney general. Now the Village of Bridgewater is the first local municipality to take advantage of the state's incentives. Village Mayor Gary Comstock says this is the right move.

Residents say taking the nearly 200-year-old Village of Bridgewater off the map was a bittersweet decision.

"The Village of Bridgewater has a long and rich history, but you can't take away from that. Unfortunately, that history is coming to an end," said Christopher Harr, a village resident.

But with a five to one voting margin, Comstock says the message was clear.

"The voters in the village feel very strongly about this apparently and have seen that the benefits for dissolving the village into the town really are there so we'll move forward first thing tomorrow and start the process," said Comstock.

After the village becomes part of the township, Bridgewater will receive a citizen empowerment tax credit of over $80,000. Seventy percent of that will be used to save taxpayer money. For example, if your house is assessed at $100,000, former village residents will see around $200 in savings, while current town residents will see about $100 in savings.

The Town of Bridgewater Supervisor Dale DeKing says not only will all residents save money, the government will run more efficiently.

"We do so much of the services now that the village pays the town to do and with the tax credit that we can get to help the residents through the town and the village it was the vote that needed to be done," said DeKing.

The village will officially become part of the town in Jan. 2015. Comstock plans on applying for a local government efficiency grant which would pay for 90 percent of the consolidation costs.

The three part-time village employee positions will be eliminated. All village property will be put up for sale and if it isn't sold by the end of Dec. 2014 the titles will be transferred to the town. Comstock's position and the rest of the board will also cease to exist.

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