March 11, 2014

Editorial: Moving toward better cooperation

How heartening it is to see the city and town of Plattsburgh talking about cooperation after years of sometimes bombastic exchanges.

A number of the candidates for city offices expressed their desire last fall for improved relations with the town. With some of those people in office, it looks like the two communities will finally be reaching out to each other the way they should have for years.

Government officials know where the dividing lines exist between the town and city, but most members of the general public just look at Plattsburgh as one community.

Some people even think the two municipalities should merge, believing that Plattsburgh would have more clout as a larger city, population-wise.

But that discussion has raised sticky questions about taxes, fees, services, policing and other issues tied to that always scary word: money.

No one wants to pay more for anything, understandably. And no one wants to give up the services they have.

But a merger doesn’t need to be the result of any effort toward cooperation. The goal can simply be to look where costs can be reduced and unity can spur economic or lifestyle growth.

On Friday, March 14, a meeting has been scheduled with this hopeful moniker: Building Team Plattsburgh, A City and Town Collaboration.

Town Supervisor Bernie Bassett and City Mayor Jim Calnon deserve credit for meeting up after elections last November to start discussions — described by Calnon as “a natural evolution of a relationship that has to be there.”

At the meeting Friday, government leaders and department heads will sit down for roundtable discussions with their counterparts in the other municipality to talk about how they can be more efficient at less cost. The goal is to find at least one strategy for each department.

The officials will get guidance from the Development Corp. and a Laberge Group consultant.

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