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The Berkshires

The Village of Middleburgh could be no more

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Albany/HV: The Village of Middleburgh could be no more
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It's a Schoharie County village that's been around for centuries, but soon, it could all be a distant memory. As YNN's Maria Valvanis explains, a vote next month will decide whether the Village of Middleburgh will stick around or dissolve.

MIDDLEBURGH, N.Y. -- Mayor of Middleburgh, Matthew Avitable, said, “If 10 percent of registered voters get a petition in, within four months we have to hold a vote on dissolution.”

It's been a topic of discussion for years: Whether to dissolve the Village of Middleburgh into the town that shares the same name. Former mayor Gary Hayes got the wheels moving last October when he submitted a petition.

“It's an interesting concept. It effects both the village and the town, the town maybe even more so, village residents can vote on it, town residents cannot, which is just a law, kind of senseless, but it's the way it is,” said Frank Herodes, town councilman.

Mayor Matthew Avitable says if it passes, taxes will slightly decrease in the village, but nearly double in the town.

“The average tax payer is going to see their taxes go up 45 percent. For a $100,000 house, that's $295 a year. And I don't see how in the aftermath of Irene we should be forcing anyone, especially since town residents can't vote in this referendum. It's not our choice, it's state law,” said Avitable.

If the dissolution passes, Mayor Avitable says not only will village offices shut down, but also the village Fire Department.

Avitable said, “That's the problem here. This isn't ‘I like one thing, but I don't like the others. This is all or nothing, yes or no.”

But town officials say that may not necessarily be the case.

“Basically everything would be part of town, part of the town ownership, so what the town decides to do with the fire department or the pool, the way I'm reading it all, is that's thrown at the town and they can decide what to do with it,” said Herodes.

A public hearing is scheduled for January 28th. The vote will take place February 19th.

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