POTSDAM The village Board of Trustees gave the go-ahead to a plan designed to help guide the Town Council through the transition process should the village vote to dissolve.
The plan, submitted by the dissolution committee late last month, was approved by the board Monday night without any significant changes being made.
But the Town Council, which has the final say in how the town will look should the village dissolve, has refused to commit to enacting the plan as is, creating some questions for trustees.
Its an odd situation, Trustee Steven W. Yurgartis said. We are voting yes on a plan that the people who will need to support it seem unwilling to commit to it. In that sense, it doesnt seem to be much of a plan.
Trustees were looking to clarify the intentions of the town with a memorandum of understanding, a nonbinding agreement between the two outlining how the town feels certain issues should be handled if the village were to dissolve.
But last week, town Supervisor Marie C. Regan said while the council is willing to draft a memorandum, it wont be able to outline all the specifics or give voters a concrete answer on what the police department, or any other issues, would look like.
The town doesnt even know for certain what it plans to do should the village dissolve, she said, making it impossible to definitively tell voters what to expect.
The lack of answers has caused some trustees to question how worthwhile the dissolution plan is.
It appears to me this plan is being submitted to the board with a wink rather than a commitment, Mr. Yurgartis said.
Talks of drafting a memorandum on two issues police protection and the unfinished West Dam hydroelectric project surfaced at last weeks discussion in the village.
In its report, the committee recommended the creation of a special water district within the former village boundaries. It would allow the district to keep all revenues from the dam once it is completed in order to pay off any outstanding debt associated with its construction.
Once the debt has been paid off, revenue from the dam would go to the general fund.
In fairness to the people in the village, we didnt want them to have to repay the bonds without using revenue-generated funds to do that, Dissolution Committee member Eleanor F. Hopke said.
In the plan approved Monday night, the village agreed to draft a memorandum on police protection, but a request for a memorandum on the dam was absent. Ms. Hopke requested the board add the dam memorandum, in hopes of forcing the town to clarify whether or not it would agree to this proposal. The committee intended to include the request in the draft, she said, but left it out because of a clerical error.
The board rejected adding the amendment by a vote of 2-1, with Trustee Ruth F. Garner casting the lone vote in favor. Village Administrator David H. Fenton said the board may decide to write a memorandum in the future, but with the vote it is not required.
A public hearing on the plan is set for 7 p.m. Sept. 12 at the Civic Center board room, one of the final chances for public input on the plan before it hits the polls Nov. 8.