Apparently the Village of Cobleskill has once again paid thousands of dollars for a consultant to tell them something they could have learned just by reading this blog. Over the past several months, a private consulting group has been studying ways to reform municipal boundaries to improve efficiency and better provide services. It turns out that the Village has a lot to gain by scrapping its village status and re-incorporating as a city.
The consulting group claims that the Village could gain nearly 2 million dollars in sales tax revenue if it became a city. As Deputy Mayor MacKay rightly stated, this could eliminate the need for property taxes in the Village. Many of the county’s retail businesses are located within the Village boundaries. This would entitle the Village or a future city to a much greater share of sales tax revenues.
Though the sales tax revenue gain is perhaps the biggest reason to consider re-incorporation, there are plenty of other reasons as well. Remember that whole issue with the Town double-billing Village taxpayers? If Cobleskill were a city, this would no longer be an issue. The Town would not get any of a City of Cobleskill’s tax revenues. Becoming a City would also give Cobleskill representation on the County Board of Supervisors. The Village is currently represented by the Town Supervisor. Now, this is okay until Town-Village relations go sour. With Town and Village leaders at each others throats, can the Town Supervisor be relied upon to fairly represent the interests of the Village at the county level? If Cobleskill were a city, it would get its own supervisor to sit on the County Board and serve as an advocate.
If Cobleskill were a City it could re-invest any revenue windfall in revitalizing Main Street. Plus, it would have more of an incentive to do this, as it would directly reap the benefits of any extra sales tax revenue.
This is something the Village of Cobleskill should begin work on immediately. We don’t need to talk endlessly or pay another consultant another $50,000. Whatever steps need to be taken, let’s take them. Petitions need to be filed? A referendum vote needs to be set up? I’m willing to invest some time in this effort, is anyone else?