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Trustee recommends dissolution study

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GOUVERNEUR — A trustee is suggesting the community once again consider dissolution of the village or more shared services with the town.

Trustee Charles W. Newvine said he is not sold on dissolution but wants a study that would review options.

“I think we should reopen that discussion,” Mr. Newvine said. “That’s what I’m looking for. It has to be an in-depth conversation.”

Gouverneur has mulled dissolution previously but has never gotten past early discussions. Other communities in St. Lawrence County — including Potsdam, Norwood, Richville and Waddington — also have considered dissolution, but the only village that has ceased to exist is Edwards.

The village of Gouverneur shares more services with its town than many other municipalities. They have a single code enforcement officer and one justice court under the auspices of the town, and soon will combine sewage treatment services.

But some village taxpayers feel they pay twice for services such as road maintenance, Mr. Newvine said.

While obstacles could exist for dissolution, such as how police protection would be provided and how the operations of highway crews would be merged, they are not insurmountable, he said.

Mr. Newvine said he does not see the sense of two municipalities so intertwined with each other both continuing to exist.

Mayor Ronald P. McDougall said he was willing to pursue a state grant to consider dissolution.

“That takes a lot of analysis. I think we’re always willing to study things,” he said. “Why not take a look at it? All we need is one more vote.”

Mr. McDougall said he did not favor dissolution if it was for the purpose of eliminating the police department. Police protection would be up to the town if the village dissolved, Mr. Newvine said.

Gouverneur needs to run more efficiently so it can focus on attracting businesses with services that are not available now, he said.

“In a matter of time, it’s going to be big chain stores and ‘for sale’ signs,” Mr. Newvine said. “I want to start a development council so we can talk about how we can market ourselves.”

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