OSSINING, N.Y. – The Town and Village of Ossining want to know if residents are open to the municipalities sharing services.
Joseph Stefko, president and CEO of the Center for Governmental Research, presented conclusions Thursday night of a study that looked into several scenarios of what might occur if the village and town decided to consolidate services, become one entity or dissolve the village. While Briarcliff Manor officials chose not to be a part of the study, a couple of the options could force Briarcliff Manor into becoming a permanent part of Mount Pleasant. It currently straddles the Ossining-Mount Pleasant border.
“The entire presentation is intended to be the passing of a baton,” Stefko said. “What you need to determine as residents is, is the juice worth the squeeze? Is any of this worth it?”
The presentation included three options. None of the options would affect either the Ossining Union Free School District or the Briarcliff Manor Union Free School District, but all of the options could affect tax rates in the municipalities, Stefko said. The Village and Town of Ossining considered consolidating structures in 2011 and established a joint steering committee made up of members from each area.
The first option would be to consolidate the village and the unincorporated portion of the town into a city. With that change, the city would be eligible for state funding under the Citizens Empowerment Tax Credit. Because various services would shift hands, Stefko said, the unincorporated area of the town would see “dramatic increases in taxes,” while Village of Ossining residents and Briarcliff Manor residents would see taxes go down. Without the tax credit funding, both the town and village taxes would go up. The Village of Briarcliff Manor would then need to become a part of the Town of Mount Pleasant.
The second option presented would be to dissolve the Village of Ossining and move all services to the town. The Village of Briarcliff Manor would remain as part of the Town of Ossining and part of Mount Pleasant.
In the third option, the Village and Town of Ossining could become a coterminous town-village. That would mean the Village of Briarcliff Manor would have to become a part of Mount Pleasant permanently.
Ossining Town Supervisor Susanne Donnelly reminded residents that the Center for Governmental Research proposals are not set in stone and that no decisions have been made.
“I want to point one thing out that these are just options and that it’s just discussion material,” Donnelly said. “These are just scenarios. This is what the study is about, is coming up with these options.”
Donnelly said the study would be available on the town’s website. A summary is available on the CGR website. Copies are also available at the village/town hall, the Ossining Public Library and the Joseph G. Caputo Community Center. The study was made possible through funds from the state’s Local Government Efficiency Incentive Grant Program.