Town drops effort to share services
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.