Norwood dissolution would change more than tax rates, according to recent study
Sunday, December 9, 2012 - 4:59 pm


NORWOOD -- A study released last week by CGR Associates of Rochester shows dissolving the village of Norwood would reduce tax rates for village residents by about 50 percent, but numbers wouldn't be the only changes.

Many of the services villagers currently receive would remain intact through the creation of special districts.

The study proposes this option for water, sewer, streetlights, sidewalks and fire protection and the services would be paid for by anyone living within the former village boundaries.

About 80 residents in Norwood -- those living in the Norfolk township -- would retain police services from the town, but most village residents who live in the Town of Potsdam could lose their police service.

The plan does call for the creation of a police district, but unlike the other districts, this would require approval from the state.

Another option involves the creation of town-wide Potsdam Police. In this scenario taxpayers would pay for town and village police departments.

Norwood's code enforcement, planning board and zoning board would be eliminated. The Town of Potsdam would take control of these services.

The study suggests the public works and highway employees would be hired by the town, but CGR consultant Jill Symonds said any decisions on whether or not to hire the staff would be made by the Potsdam Town Board.

"The village can make suggestions and put memorandums of understanding in place, but these aren't legally binding," she said.

Current local laws in the village would remain on the books for two years, but would also be subject to change as seen fit by the Potsdam Town Board, as no previous administration can bind the actions of a future administration.

The current village fund balance could be used to reduce water and sewer debt, but any remaining balance at the time of dissolution would transfer to the town.

The villagers would also lose possession of property, including highway equipment, which would be transfered to the Town of Potsdam.

With the village dissolved, there would no longer be a board of trustees. The governance of Norwood would also be transferred to the town board.

Mayor Jim McFaddin expressed concern that the town would not be able to pursue grants and look out for the interests of the former village at the same level as the current board does, due to the broader spectrum of needs.

"There are some things you are giving up that have to be considered," he said.