Tupper holds public discussion of town-village consolidation
TUPPER LAKE — The town and village boards will hold a public meeting with a state Department of State representative on Wednesday to discuss government efficiency and long-debated ideas about town-village consolidation.
At 6 p.m. on Wednesday at the Tupper Lake High School auditorium, John Demarest, a local government specialist with the DOS, and Carrie Tuttle, director of engineering with the Development Authority of the North Country, will lead a public information session on what would happen if Tupper Lake decides to conduct a study on consolidation.
Town-village consolidation has come up occasionally in Tupper Lake politics since at least the 1980s. Three studies have been done over the decades, and numerous town and village residents, government workers and activists have tried to call referendum votes.
This latest push was spearheaded by village Trustee Ron LaScala, who attended a town board meeting in December 2018 to talk about his desire for the two governments to consolidate.
There are several ways to consolidate government. The most common, dissolving the village, has mostly been looked on by elected leaders as a bad idea in Tupper Lake.
LaScala has pushed for coterminous governance, believing it would be better than dissolving the village. Instead of eliminating the village, it would expand the village boundary to match the town’s and operate the resulting government out of one joint municipal office. The consolidation would have to be voted on by the residents of the outlying territory, the town-only residents.
After some back and forth over who will pay for a study, the town and village have decided to get the state involved to give advice on what can happen. The meeting on Wednesday will be hosted by town Supervisor Patricia Littlefield and village Mayor Paul Maroun.