FORESTVILLE – A feasibility study committee to look into facts about dissolving the Village of Forestville or finding other efficiencies met Wednesday to look at a list of assets owned by the village.
Mayor Linda Aures said she is determined to keep the group going and looking at issues that could potentially save the village money even though she received a petition with 200 names asking her to resign.
The petition was presented Tuesday at the regular meeting of the Village Board. Aures, who was elected in March, has been criticized for looking at the possibility of dissolving the village of about 700 residents.
Aures said there are still people who support the idea of dissolving or even looking at shared services. She said the committee is known as the “dissolution committee,” but its mission from the beginning has been to look at ways of saving the taxpayers money.
Chautauqua County Legislator Rod Rogers, R-Arkwright, committee chairman, said he thought there were many benefits to gathering the facts about assets and liabilities. “There is a benefit in what we have done so far,” said Rogers. “This is a huge emotional issue, but it makes sense to get all the facts.”
The village owns a large parcel of land where its spring-fed water system is located and the group discussed the land as both an asset and a liability. According to Village Clerk James White, the village has received about $120,000 from timber cut from the land since 1983. He said the village is also responsible for paying about $5,000 annually in school taxes and more money for insurance on the property.
White suggested that it may make sense to cut timber this year for the revenue to help offset costs of the village’s water project.
White said the village’s debts include $3.7 million for the water system improvement project, another $250,000 borrowed for the demolition of a building and $150,000 borrowed for the Bennett State Road water project. He said some money also is owed on a village truck.
The building demolition was on Route 39 and was done because of an emergency identified by the building inspector.
Village Board members had anticipated rolling the $150,000 in funds into the entire water project at a long-term rate, but that has not been done. The residents who receive water on Bennett State Road live outside the village limits and would need to form a water district.
White said the funding cannot be included in the village’s long-term financing unless a district is formed by the end of the year.
White said he also needs a complete inventory from the fire department to be able to complete an asset list for the village.
It was agreed that the group would meet again at 1 p.m. Oct. 2 in the community room of the fire hall. The completed asset list is expected to be available for review at the next meeting.