Potsdam Trustee Warr says alarmists trying to scare people into keeping village intact
Wednesday, August 17, 2011 - 5:21 pm

POTSDAM -- A village trustee who campaigned for office on dissolving village government is saying that alarmists are trying to scare people into voting to keep the village intact.

Steve Warr, serving his first term as a village trustee, has written a Letter to the Editor accusing people of “using scare tactics instead of fact” to sway people to vote against dissolution of the village.

Warr suggests that disbanding village government will improve the direction the village is headed in, improve chances of attracting business development, and is the only way to stop bickering between the town and village boards.

Warr’s letter follows:

To the Editor,

For the past several weeks, people have been weighing in on the subject of village dissolution. I ran on a platform of dissolution and have served on the village board for the past two years and nothing has happened in that timeframe to change my mind about dissolution.

Alarmists will suggest that we are trying to do the impossible, trying to fit square pegs into round holes, and that it will be a disaster for town people. I strongly disagree with the alarmists who are using scare tactics instead of fact to influence people how to vote this coming November.

There are those who suggest our village is just fine and we can make progress with shared services without dissolution. There are those who suggest water and sewer are services owned by the village and should not be available to anyone who does not annex into the current village limits. There are those who suggest police coverage will change dramatically if the village dissolves. There are those who suggest the tax shift to the town residents will be untenable.

These comments and fears do not address the real questions surrounding dissolution. Village residents have to ask themselves the following questions:

1. Are you unhappy with the direction the village is going under the guidance of the current Village Board?

2. Will eliminating the village government increase our chances of attracting potential developers, thus increasing our tax base?

3. Can one level of government for 15,000 people be successful?

4. Can the bickering between the two boards be solved any other way than dissolution?

Dissolution is not about taxes, but about increasing our chances of being efficient and successful during the next 200 years. If you answered yes to the above questions then you should vote for dissolution in November. If you vote yes, then the town, including the current village members and the town outside members will have their say as to how much the new-look town will cost to operate. It will not cost the amount of money that is reported in the dissolution study. The Dissolution Committee led by Tim Connolly did a wonderful job of laying out the facts as New York State would allow, but the reality is, as we transition to one government it will involve new ideas and changes from the proposed plan.

I don’t object to paying for garbage. I do not object to having a water/sewer/hydro/lighting district in the old village. I don’t object to having a police district in the old village of Potsdam. The potential costs for all these things will be negotiated and weighed heavily by the town board, if dissolution occurs.

I trust the Town Board that we all elect to do their due diligence and come up with a reasonable and affordable new town. I don’t expect people to have to pay exorbitant amounts for things they do not get, nor do I expect reasonable people to object to paying their fair share for the overall good of the town.

I have said before that we must not be afraid of change, and our opportunity to embrace change is coming in November.