There is now enough public support in the form of signatures to explore the possibility of dissolving the village of Cobleskill, according to former Cobleskill Mayor Mark Nadeau.
Nadeau said he wants to dissolve the village because he feels the current style of government is outdated, and that eliminating one layer of government would make things more efficient and allow for more economic growth. He said he thinks that village and town leadership clash, and dissolving the village to have one leader would create more unity.
"They each have their own agenda," he said. "You just cant have two bosses for a community. It pulls you in two different directions and it just hasn't worked."
Nadeau became mayor of Cobleskill in 2009. He resigned the next year after an audio recording was released of him allegedly using racist language when talking about former President Barack Obama's campaign.
Nadeau said he went door to door, talking to village residents and collected around 200 signatures, which is 10% of the registered voting population. He said he wanted to know what people desire for the village and the town, because he's also running for Town Council this fall.
The next step is to give it to the village clerk, who has 10 days to verify the signatures. If approved, the village board will take over the matter. Nadeau said he hopes to have dissolution on the ballot for voters.
This is the third attempt at dissolving the village; the others were in 2009 and 2013, according to Cobleskill Mayor Linda Holmes. There's a lot that voters need to be aware of when considering dissolution, she said.
"This is not just a simple removal of a layer of government," she said. "When you dissolve a village, you have to look at what you already have."
For example, if the village was dissolved, the fire department would become a district, she said. This would essentially create another layer of government and the village and the town would have no say on what the district would vote on, such as purchasing new vehicles.
The police department would also be eliminated with a dissolution, which is a concern for village residents, she said. The town may decide it doesn't want to create a new police department, and in that case things may have to be reported to the county sheriff or state troopers, Holmes said.
"Being a college town is another issue," she said. "We have to have a police presence."
Holmes said Nadeau has every right to petition for the village's dissolution, but she stressed that there were many things that would need to be considered. She said though there are always things that can be improved, she believes the village and town work well together, and that the village has a healthy economic climate.
Shweta Karikehalli, staff writer, can be reached at email@example.com or 607-441-7221. Follow her @DS_ShwetaK on Twitter.