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Consultants To Study Ossining Village/Town Merger

Two consulting companies presented Tuesday evening an overview of how they would study a potential merger of the village and town of Ossining.

The Ossining municipalities received a $45,000 grant about a year ago to study the issue.

"They will do the study on various forms of government that might work for the village," explained village Mayor William Hanauer. "That could include merging in one form or another or staying the way we are and having more intermunicipal agreements. It could involve forming a village/town, dissolving the village, having the village annex the town, or any number of things."

Both CGR and Fairweather Consulting said they would start by having a kick-off meeting with the town and village of Ossining's steering committee on the issue to set expectations and request data that was needed immediately.

The consulting companies would then compile an inventory of services in the village and town that are both shared and not shared. They would also look at budgets, debt statements, assets, properties and other data, both quantitative and qualitative, according to Joseph Stefko of CGR and Tim Weidemann of Fairweather Consulting.

A crucial part of the consulting process would be to "bring the public along" by having public meetings and using outreach tools on the internet and other medium, Stefko said.

Stefko said that at the end of their study, CGR aims to suggest a list of options ranging from more conservative to more aggressive.

"We never say 'Here's our recommendation.' We always allow a range of options," he said. "For example, for public works and highways, we may have four options, and you may say 'What about a hybrid between three and four?'"

Fairweather Consulting, on the other hand, aims to provide a single recommendation for Ossining.

"We'll look at consolidating and we'll also look at alternatives to restructuring. One of the alternatives is to do nothing. In some cases that's the best option," Weidemann said.

CGR has experience studying alternative municipal structures for Princeton, New Jersey, which is similar in size to Ossining, and Seneca Falls, NY, which ended up dissolving its village, Stefko said.

Weidemann said Fairweather Consulting has studied Saranac Lake, NY, which is similar to Ossining with Briarcliff in that it involved a village within different towns.

CGR plans to take eight months to do the study, and to charge a fixed price of $53,100, while Fairweather Consulting plans to take 12 months to do the study at a price of $48,400.

As a next step, Ossining village and town officials plan to check references for both consulting companies and then make a decision within the next few weeks on which company will do the study, Hanauer said.

"They both do very good work and the presentations showed a great variance not so much in content but in style," the mayor said.

What's your opinion on alternate structures for the village and town of Ossining? Leave your comment below or join's conversation on Facebook .

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