Fredonia-Pomfret consolidation talks ‘stalled’

It appears for now, consolidation talks between the town of Pomfret and the village of Fredonia have “stalled” on Fredonia’s end, according to Pomfret officials.

Resident Ed Lawson inquired about the status of those talks during the public portion of Wednesday’s Pomfret Town Board meeting.

“It seems to me that we’re tripping over the village or the village is tripping over us, and people are complaining about taxes and budgets, so is anyone thinking about combining even more services and eventually having one jurisdiction?” he asked. “Not only are people screaming about taxes, but the school population is going down, and yet there is no coordination of services. Can we move on something at least?”

Councilwoman Ann Eckman replied by informing Lawson about the stalled talks.

“Councilman (Scott) Johnston and I had many conversations last year (with the village),” she stated. “We were working last year with Trustee (Joseph) Cerrie and Trustee (Marc) Ruckman. I have asked that the talks be restarted, but we haven’t scheduled any time together, yet.”

Supervisor Donald Steger pointed out at one point, Pomfret had offered to take over the village court, but Fredonia “declined to part ways” with its court.

“Combining the town and village makes perfect sense, of course it does,” Johnston added. “We only need one board and one set of services, but it’s really difficult to do. In most scenarios, the village ceases to exist, and people don’t like that.”

The news of the stalled talks follows on the heels of a negotiations impasse several months ago over a two-year fire protection district contract extension between the two municipalities. Pomfret officials alleged at that point that a deal had been reached on the contract extension, but Fredonia officials disagreed, saying there was no official proposal on the table other than what Fredonia initially put forward. Due to a looming deadline for a deal, Pomfret conceded to approving Fredonia’s initial proposal.

Pomfret is now gauging interest in the formation of a committee to explore the viability of alternative emergency response services other than solely contracting with the village and its fire department. Letters of interest from town residents are due to the clerk’s office by May 1.

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