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Group says: 'If Odessa dissolves, costs go up'

ODESSA—Odessa residents will vote Dec. 7 on whether or not to dissolve the village.
To give residents an idea of what dissolving would mean, a group was formed to look at the implications for the towns of Catharine and Montour. It consisted of village, town, and county representatives. The findings were presented, Wednesday, Nov. 10.
The group met five times in September and October to discuss which services would be taken over by either Montour or Catharine, and how. The overall finding was that Catharine and Montour would incur an increase in the tax levy because of dissolution.
The findings were that Catharine would experience a bigger impact because more of the village is within that town. The group said the increases for Catharine would be:
Personanel: $114,170.
Services: $24,101.
Building maintenance and other: $0.
Fire department: $116,440.
The town could expect to see an increase in revenue totaling $59,939.
For Montour, it would be:
Personnel: $37,541.
Services: $4,658.
Building maintenance and other: $0.
Fire department: $25,560.
The town could expect to see an increase in revenue totaling $6,066.
The report said costs for services and building maintenance would go down from what they cost the village.
Some services would probably be picked up by the towns, including village clerk, justice, and code enforcement officer. It was estimated that the Catharine town clerk and office would probably see an increased workload because more residents live within that municipality. The working group said this increased cost to Catharine could be $2,000, with an increase of $400 in revenue.
Again, the report said Catharine would probably need budget $1,700 more for the town justice. However, the town could expect $4,500 more in potential revenue. The group said Montour would not see as much of an increase.
Other changes would be to the services normally provided to Odessa residents by the village. These services include monthly curbside recycling, street lighting, frequent seasonal leaf and brush pick-up, a street-tree maintenance and replacement program, Christmas tree pick-up, free mulch, and use of the community room in the municipal building.
The report said some of these services would be retained because of mandates or existing infrastructure obligations, although most likely in an altered form. Neither town supervisor indicated interest in continuing the existing leaf, brush and Christmas tree pick-ups.
The village wide water system could be an issue if Odessa dissolves. The group said each town would need need to approve creating a water district and enter into a intermunicipal agreement with each other. There would even be a vote by residents.
The report added, “If the permissive referendum does not pass, a quagmire of legal and regulatory complications would create significant difficulties for the affected owners and an alternative solution would become necessary.” If passed, Catharine would be in charge of the water district because most of the service connections are within that town.
Another village service is the Odessa Fire Department. The report said the department’s legal and administrative structure would have to change.


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