Town drops ef­fort to share ser­vices

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By WIL­LIAM J. KEM­BLE news@free­manon­line.com

RHINEBECK, N.Y. >> Re­cent ar­gu­ments over joint agree­ments has con­vinced the Town Board not to pur­sue a $45,000 grant to study the po­ten­tial for shar­ing high­way ser­vices with the vil­lage.

Ef­forts to de­velop a plan were dis­cussed dur­ing a Town Board meet­ing last week. Su­per­vi­sor El­iz­a­beth Spinzia said Dutchess County of­fi­cials want to know if there would be ac­tion on a 2015 grant ap­pli­ca­tion.

“It’s hard for us to get it to­gether with the vil­lage,” she said.

Spinzia said the town at­tor­ney cau­tioned that care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion is needed in light of dis­putes over pre­vi­ous shared ser­vice grants.

“War­ren (Re­plan­sky) thinks that we need to se­ri­ously think about the dy­namic be­tween the town and vil­lage and how dif­fi­cult the tech grant was,” she said. “Go­ing for­ward, the county has decided that, too. If we backed out of the grant, it won’t af­fect us get­ting fu­ture grants.”

Spinzia said the move to dis­con­tinue the grant ef­fort was dis­ap­point­ing, be­cause there are bud­get sav­ings to be had if the town and vil­lage ef­fec­tively share ser­vices.

“I hon­estly think that con­sol­i­da­tion is the only way we’re go­ing to be able to make our tax dol­lars work,” she said.

The tech­nol­ogy grant amounted to $71,756 un­der a 2013 Dutchess County con­sol­i­da­tion and shared ser­vices grant that re­quired an $11,000 match­ing con­tri­bu­tion that was paid by the town. Ser­vices that in­cluded a com­puter server and In­ter­net con­nec­tions were in­stalled in Septem­ber, with a $150-per-month In­ter­net charge ex­pected to be split by the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

How­ever, the town paid an ad­di­tional $2,000 af­ter vil­lage of­fi­cials complained that they only re­ceived two of seven com­puter work sta­tions that were pro­posed in the grant ap­pli­ca­tion.

Cur­rent dis­putes be­tween the town and vil­lage in­clude the in­ter­mu­nic­i­pal agree­ment for Thomas Thomp­son-Sally Maz­zarella Park, with the vil­lage plan­ning to in­stall a wa­ter me­ter and to bill the town for that equip­ment. Town of­fi­cials con­tend that dis­cus­sion of a me­ter should have been cov­ered in the agree­ment and they ex­pect to be given an $8,000-per-year bill in an ef­fort to col­lect up to $60,000 in costs.

Dis­putes that have sim­mered, but are still un­set­tled, in­clude how to change fire pro­tec­tion cov­er­age by the vil­lage Fire De­part­ment in some sec­tions of the town. Town and vil­lage of­fi­cials in 2014 ended a year-long dis­pute over costs for vil­lage cov­er­age of 1,276 town parcels by sign­ing a five-year con­tract that started at $160,000 and in­creases by $10,000 an­nu­ally through 2018. Dur­ing ef­forts to reach an agree­ment, of­fi­cials could not agree on what con­sti­tuted calls to the town and the por­tion of ex­penses that the pro­tec­tion dis­trict should con­trib­ute to­ward vil­lage equip­ment.

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