Several local towns and villages could be sharing a courtroom and office space at the former Beechnut facility in Canajoharie as part of a plan presented by Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort and Senior Planner William Roehr at a public meeting held at Fulton-Montgomery Community College on Wednesday.
Ossenfort said the 12-point plan serves two purposes: to comply with New York State’s requirement for the county’s municipalities to work together to find ways to reduce property taxes, and as an application for a $20 million NY State grant that would help implement the plans.
The plan was created in partnership with the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs in Syracuse, NY as well as with input from elected officials from all of the county’s municipalities.
The 12 major initiatives proposed in the plan:
- Dissolution of the Village of Canajoharie and consolidation with the Town of Canajoharie.
- Internal consolidation of the county mental health and public health departments
- A shared courtroom for the towns of Minden, Glen, Charleston, Canajoharie, St. Johnsville, Palatine, to be housed at the former Beechnut facility in Canajoharie.
- Shared offices for the consolidated Town and Village of Canajoharie, the Village of Palatine Bridge and the Town of Palatine, also housed at the former Beechnut facility.
- Dissolution of the Village of Canajoharie and Village of Fort Plain police forces
- Creation of a single county-wide assessment department, replacing assessor’s offices in all Montgomery County towns, villages, and the City of Amsterdam.
- A consolidated vehicle repair facility for the towns of Glen, Minden, Canajoharie, Amsterdam, Charleston, Florida, the villages of Ames, Fort Johnson, Palatine Bridge, Nelliston, St. Johnsville, and the City of Amsterdam.
- Shared electronic records management with the county, City of Amsterdam, towns of Amsterdam and Florida, shared phone and communications system, cooperative purchasing.
- Shared salt storage and fuel depot for the Town of Minden and Village of Fort Plain
- Ongoing partnership with the Maxwell School to provide research and analysis of public policy
- Feasibility study of a consolidated wastewater treatment plant for the county, St. Johnsville, and Canajoharie
- Feasibility study for the consolidation of the Town of Minden and the Village of Fort Plain
Ossenfort said that even if the county does not receive the state grant, the plan will still be pursued using other sources of funding.
The meeting was attended by several members of the county shared services panel, made up of all the elected executive officials in the county. The officials in attendance voted unanimously in favor of the plan.