Subcommittees will be set up next month to look at village-government operations and policies as part of a shared-services, consolidation and dissolution study.

The first meeting of the eight-member panel, held this week, featured an outline of the responsibilities, a timeline for completion of a report to be submitted to the Village Board and methods on how to keep the public informed through the entire process.

A website will be launched where residents can read related documents and submit questions for committee and subcommittee members, and a public-comment period will be built into each committee meeting.

Consultants Charles Zettek and Ana Liss of the Center for Governmental Research estimate the entire process will take about nine months.

A SINGULAR MESSAGE

Chaired by Martha Weaver, former director of the Franklin County Empire Zone, the committee set its regular meeting dates for 6 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month.

Weaver will be spokesperson so there will be a singular message coming from the committee.

Besides Weaver, the committee includes Mayor Brent Stewart; Village Board member Joe Riccio; Town Council member Mary Scharf; Malone Taxpayer Coalition representative Don Merrick; town homeowner Hugh Schickel; village homeowner Shawn Fournier; and Jim McKee, who represents local businesses.

At its Dec. 7 meeting, the committee will establish subcommittees to review information the consultants collect about each town and village department, employee, policy and equipment.

THOROUGH STUDY

The Department of Public Works, water-and-sewer programs and the Malone Police Department could be some of the more plumb areas to research, while other members will be asked to look at drier information, such as comparing existing town ordinances and regulations with village ones to see where they might merge or conflict or be changed under one government body.

All fiscal procedures, taxes, properties, debts and assets will also be charted and discussed to help the committee evaluate each aspect and make recommendations in its final report.

Zettek said it will take about two months to get the first wave of data from department heads turned over to subcommittees, which will use the information as a jumping-off point for more in-depth reviews before the entire board is briefed on their particular results.

PUBLIC REFERENDUM

In subsequent months, the full committee will look at all facets and come up with a draft plan of action that will include specific places where changes could be made.

That final plan will have three components: a determination of potential shared services between the town and village; potential consolidation of services between them; and a plan for dissolution of the village with the town taking over all services previously provided by and for the village.

The Village Board will get the final plan, make its decision then put it to voters, who ultimately decide through a public referendum whether or not to accept the report's recommendations.

Learn more at http://www.cgr.org/malone.

Email Denise A. Raymo at: draymo@pressrepublican.com

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