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Massena village and town boards will be meeting in a joint session to receive the final report on a study that examined the potential consolidation of the village and town. Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — Massena village and town board members will meet at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to receive the final report on a study that examined the potential consolidation of the village and town.

Both boards had received a draft of the report during a July 22 joint meeting. The draft report said there were areas where consolidation could be considered. But a merger of the village and town governments was not one of them, according to consultant Kent Gardner, project director for the Center for Governmental Research, Rochester.

“I don’t want to beat around the bush,” Mr. Gardner said during that meeting. “Merger really can’t happen. Merger is not one of the options.”

He told village trustees and town council members that while there were areas where consolidation could be considered, such as merging the village and town courts, other areas like police and highway presented more obstacles.

The final report comes after receiving input from the boards following the July presentation.

Mayor Timmy J. Currier said Monday that trustees would have a week to review the report and ask questions before they meet for their monthly session on Dec. 17.

“The plan was that this report would come back,” he said. “If we accept the findings, we would vote to accept them.”

Village and town officials agreed in August 2017 to join in applying for grant funding from the New York Department of State Division of Local Government Services for the study. The grant application was for an amount up to $50,000, with a commitment by the village and town to contribute no more than $25,000 as the local 50 percent share.

The Local Government Citizens Empowerment Grant program provides “financial and technical assistance to local governments for planning and implementing activities necessary for the reorganization of municipal government and government functions in order to provide an opportunity for local government officials to examine and implement new initiatives that can help reduce the growth in municipal expenses and introduce new efficiencies in the delivery of services.”

Village trustees were awarded the grant funding in 2018 and issued a request for proposals and qualifications during their Oct. 16 meeting. Two firms submitted bids, which were opened on Jan. 17 during the initial meeting of a seven-person citizens’ committee that’s overseeing the reorganization study between the town and village.

The committee consists of three individuals appointed by the village, three individuals appointed by the town, and one individual who was a joint appointment. Town Council members selected Tony Zappia, David Grant and Tony David for their three seats, while village trustees selected Sherry Thompson, John Wicke and Timothy Ahlfeld. Vance Fleury was the joint appointment, and there were no representatives from either village or town government to avoid any potential bias.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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