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Bridgewater pursues village dissolution

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Bridgewater pursues village dissolution
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Since 1989, village officials in Bridgewater have been looking at the possibility of a dissolution. But the benefits were never in the tax payers' favor until now. YNN's Cara Thomas tells us what the future could look like for this tiny Oneida County village.

BRIDGEWATER, N.Y. -- If you're traveling through southern Oneida County, you may have passed through one tiny village without even knowing it.

"It's probably six-tenths of a square mile in size, so, like I said, it's pretty much the intersection of Routes 8 and 20," said Mayor Gary Comstock.

The Village of Bridgewater was erected in 1825. But soon, this village with less than 500 people living within its borders could be gone.

He said, "To provide the services based on that few of tax payers to support the tax bills and so forth, we just can't continue on this road with the limited resources to provide services."

A study was done by the Department of State’s Division of Local Government Services. It showed that not much would change as the Town of Bridgewater already provides the village with many of its services. But a dissolution would mean the town taking responsibility for the village's water system.

"The transition from the village running that system to the town doing it is not going to be a real struggle at all," said Comstock.

He also said a dissolution could mean lower taxes for village and some town residents.

The village mayor says the dissolution proposal hasn't stirred up much controversy. They tried to get residents opinions when they sent out more than 200 surveys in the mail, but only 20 of them were returned. A majority of them were in favor of the dissolution.

"I really think it's a tight community where the delineation between the town and village really isn't as significant as in other areas," said the village's mayor.

But their reasons behind dissolving aren't just financial. Mayor Comstock said if the village were to remain, no one has shown interest in stepping up to run it.

He said, "I've been Mayor since 1994 and I'm ready to not do it anymore."

If the dissolution is approved, by 2015, the Village of Bridgewater will no longer be found on a map. It'll become a piece of history.

Village officials say a major factor in their decision to dissolve is a new kind of assistance through New York State. Through a Citizens Empowerment Tax Credit, the town will receive financial assistance to cover some of the costs associated with the village's dissolution.

A public hearing about the proposal will be held on December 16th at 6:30 p.m. at the village offices.

The vote will happen in March of 2014.

Click the following link for a look at the full Village Dissolution Study.

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