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Vote ends further study of merger

In a split decision, the Village Board voted Tuesday not to pursue state grant funds that would further study the option of a merger with the Town of Lewiston.

Mayor Richard F. Soluri said he felt the initial study was needed but that further study was unnecessary and, despite all the publicity about a merger, he has received very little interest from the public.

"The state is the one promoting the mergers," Soluri said.

One person was at the meeting Tuesday to oppose the merger, and Soluri said she was the first person he had heard from.

"There's no groundswell of people wanting [a merger]," said Trustee Terry Collesano, who also opposed further study.

"I thought we needed to look into it," Soluri said of the first study, which cost the town and the village $4,000 each, or 10 percent of the full cost of the yearlong study.

"There would be a long-term savings [with a merger], but right now the village is financially sound. Our ratio is 2.6 to 1 assets to liabilities, so personally I don't feel we need to move ahead," Soluri said.

Collesano said the first study didn't tell them anything they didn't already know.

Trustee William Geiben, who favored the study, said there was a potential to lose control but still be responsible for debt, if a merger was pursued without enough information.

Geiben and Trustee Michael Marra, who also favored pursuing the grant, said that they also wanted to have enough information, because a citizen could bring the issue to a referendum if they have 10 percent of the population who petitioned in favor of a merger.

"The study is only about saving nickels and dimes. The village is a community of friends and families. They are not bringing any of that into this survey," Collesano said.

The mayor reminded the board that it had consolidated on its own with the Police Department, and Trustee Ronald Winkley, the former police chief, said the state provided money for them to do it.

In another matter, after several months of study the board unanimously voted to establish a dog park at the eastern end of Plateau Park.

Geiben said the leash law will need to be changed and that any dog will have to be properly licensed and up to date on shots.

No opening date was announced.

e-mail: nfischer@buffnews.com

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