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Forestville dissolution moves forward

Chautauqua County

Forestville has received a big shot in the arm from New York State to help the Chautauqua County village dissolve.

The NY Department of State has awarded $50,000 to Forestville to help pay for technical support, study, planning and implementation of the village's reorganization.

County Legislator George Borrello says the village's entire tax levy is about $100,000, so the state grant will be a great help finishing the dissolution process.

Borrello said the state grant can go toward the cost of hiring of the Center for Governmental Research, which helped develop the dissolution plan, and it also makes it possible to apply the village's remaining funds toward reducing taxes.

There is more work to be done. "Moving forward there are still things that need to be done: the development of the infrastructure to create those special districts for those projects and services that [residents] would like provided to them," Borrello said. "So this will help in development of those special districts. It will definitely be of great assistance there."

A plan to dissolve Forestville and have operations taken over by the surrounding Town of Hanover was passed in May. The process is currently in a waiting period, which gives residents a chance to comment on the plan going forward.

Borrello said he has not heard any great pushback so far, but it is possible that voters could petition for another vote on the November ballot if they do not like how things are going. He said 25 percent of the village's voters would have to petition for another vote.

However, if things continue to move forward, Borrello said he expects the village to be dissolved after the first of the year.

He said Forestville is a model for the villages of Sinclairville and Sherman, which are also being dissolved, and he expects more to follow. He says reducing layers of government means reducing costs and reducing the burden on taxpayers.

"State government is certainly in favor of these consolidation plans and, you know, there are so many layers of government out there,  I think there're a lot of others that now, after seeing what's happening in Forestville, can look to see what can be done to consolidate and create savings and reduce the layers of government," Borrello said.

Forestville decided to dissolve after facing a more than 400 percent tax increase, while a $250,000 loan was being called for non-payment and taxpayers were facing $150,000 in debt.