CHAUMONT The village Board of Trustees will vote July 17 whether to bring the dissolution proposal to a public vote.
If the board chooses to accept the plan at its regular meeting that night, a formal hearing would be held Aug. 21 and registered village voters will decide the fate of Chaumont on Nov. 6.
Officially, the Dissolution Study Committees work is done, said Vicki Brown, a consultant with Rochester-based Center for Governmental Research, at the committees final public forum Wednesday.
What remains up in the air is whether the village will move forward with the process and, if so, whether it would amend the committees dissolution plan before adopting it.
On the plus side, our operating costs are being spread townwide. And I agree that too much government is unnecessary, Mayor Valerie E. Rust said.
However, local officials including Mayor Rust have warned residents of unforeseen issues that may come to haunt Chaumont after consolidation with the town of Lyme.
Although the study is comprehensive, some topics may have been overlooked, and there also are no guarantees that future Town Councils will follow the plan as it is proposed.
Why would somebody on Point Salubrious give a damn about sidewalks in Chaumont? asked Kenneth W. Van Doren, a village resident since 1992.
Mayor Rust agreed with Mr. Van Dorens point and said Chaumont residents no longer would be fully and completely represented upon consolidation.
Village residents will lose their specific, individual voice, she said.
CGR estimates an annual net savings of $27,940 upon consolidation assuming that the town of Lyme receives $30,757 annually through the states Citizen Empowerment Tax Credit program.
The numbers look promising on paper, but some hesitate to take projections of hefty savings at face value.
The village already is finding out that the cost of garbage pickup could increase significantly if Chaumont consolidates with the town, Mayor Rust said.
Because the village Department of Public Works no longer will be picking up recyclables, she said, Chaumonts current contractor for garbage removal would be charging the refuse district under the town above and beyond what village residents currently pay for the service.
CGRs draft dissolution study report does not take into consideration these last-minute and theoretical cost increases.
According to the consultants report, Chaumont taxpayers would have seen a 49 percent drop in their village property tax bills if Chaumont had dissolved this fiscal year, taking into account state incentives for consolidated municipalities.
Without the state tax incentives, Chaumonts projected tax rate decrease would be about 46 percent, from $10.32 to $5.56 per $1,000 of assessed value.
While town of Lyme residents outside of Chaumont do not get to vote on the matter, CGR projects an 8 percent increase in their taxes with state incentives or a 20 percent jump in their tax rate from $2.34 to $2.81 without.
CGR states that it is reasonable to project the states tax credit program, an annual appropriation in the state budget, will continue to be funded.
Chaumont has an estimated population of 625 residents which accounts for roughly 29 percent of the overall town of Lyme population and about 300 registered voters.
However, only a dozen residents attended the Dissolution Study Committees final forum.
If approved by village voters, the state-mandated dissolution process will take a year or so to complete, and Chaumont as an incorporated village would be no more as of Dec. 31, 2013. It would become a hamlet, like Three Mile Bay.
To learn more, visit: www.cgr.org/chaumont.