More merger discussion for Pomfret and Fredonia

Questions arose about the village of Fredonia merging with the town of Pomfret after the OBSERVER reported discussion by Fredonia Trustee Joseph Cerrie about combining the two municipalities into one.

At Fredonia Mayor Stephen Keefe’s state of the village address on Thursday at the White Inn, an audience member asked Keefe, “Is what I read in the paper true? Is the village going to merge with the town?”

Keefe said, “Talks are always going on, and I think everything is on the table.”

In addition to the mayor, members of both boards were present for the address. Pomfret Councilperson Ann Eckman, who was seated with Cerrie, said, “I think we can speak to that. … Right now, we’re kind of in our discovery stage: do we merge, do we consolidate, do we dissolve? There are a lot of things that have to be looked at, and the Chamber of Commerce has offered to help us with grant writing to get either the study we already have updated or a new study to include more options.”

Eckman said she and Cerrie and other members from each board have formed a committee which has been meeting on a regular basis for several months, and aspects regarding combining the municipalities were among discussions. “We’re looking at all avenues,” she said.

Earlier in the week, Cerrie told the OBSERVER different methods could be used to reduce government and save money. He explained consolidation of the two governments is one option, changing the legal boundaries is another while creating a co-terminus government is another.

“The last thing we want to do is spend money on something we already have,” Cerrie said regarding the study Eckman referenced. In 1982, a study regarding options to combine the two governments was conducted.

City of Dunkirk Mayor A.J. Dolce, who was also present for the address, asked Cerrie what the board’s determination of the study was at that time.

“Some of them said it wasn’t feasible and it didn’t come to a vote,” Cerrie replied.

Keefe said any plan would have to meet with voter approval. “That’s the other thing. You have to have a plan that will be acceptable by the voters, so you have to make a plan that you think the voters will pass.”

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