Saturday, September 22, 2007


There's been a flurry of attention to this new proposal to dissolve Tioga County and merge it with three surrounding counties, including our own. Simon has blogged about it on the Albany Project. The governor seems to find consolidation a reasonable answer to high property taxes, albeit one that doesn't face down the issue of how we fund our schools. Simon has always taken the tack that smaller is better. I have always been more concerned about duplication of services and waste, which I think are rampant.

In our area, there's been talk for some time about merging the Town and City of Ithaca. I don't think that will happen. There's been talk for longer about merging the Newfield Schools with Ithaca Schools. I doubt that will happen, although it's slightly more likely. Odessa-Montour is an example of a 20th-century merger that seems to have turned out okay. Here in Dryden, we weren't even able to merge two small primary schools with the larger elementary school--the community outrage was too great. The arguments against merger seem to come down to fear of losing whatever made the small municipality unique--expressed in a response to the Binghamton article above as fear of having low-cost housing imposed on rural areas.

As someone who lives in Tompkins County's Town of Dryden with a mailing address of Freeville (though I'm closer to Caroline than to either village and listed Slaterville Springs's fire department on my insurance policy) and with Ithaca City School District within easy walking distance, I'm adrift in a sea of municipalities and admit to having only the slightest allegiance to most. I pay local taxes only to three: the town, the county, and the school district. The last tax is by far the greatest, and it's not clear that merging villages with towns or counties with counties would alleviate that.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i hope your weekend is better then mine! Our well pump broke and we have been without water since Saturday morning!

It's hard to find a plumber to come out on the weekend!