PORT CHESTER, N.Y. - As part of the Town of Rye's Dissolution Feasibility Study and Village Alternative Analysis, the project's steering committee will hold a public forum this Thursday at the Mamaroneck Village Hall.
The forum will discuss the baseline report produced by the Center for Government Research (CGR). The steering committee, which is made up of Rye Town Supervisor Joe Carvin, Rye Brook Mayor Joan Feinstein, Port Chester Mayor Dennis Pilla, Mamaroneck Mayor Norm Rosenblum, and the four municipalities’ managers/administrators, unanimously selected CGR out of the five bidders to conduct the study.
"We are extremely pleased with the report they produced," Carvin said on behalf of the steering committee.
CGR is an independent non-profit organization that conducts research and fact-based analysis. Carvin added that, while excited about the project, the level of uncertainty adds an element of anxiety.
"I'm very excited about this project, because it has the potential to be historic" Carvin said. "But none of us know what the result of the study or what the recommendations are going to be."
One of the likely results could be the dissolution of the Town of Rye, which provides no "essential services," including police and fire departments, to its citizens. According to Carvin, the project came about after a discussion with Feinstein and Pilla regarding the collaboration on shared services.
"There was an urgent need to change the tax dynamic in this community because it's simply unsustainable," Carvin said. "Over the course of several months we recognized the need to restructure local government. We looked at the possible dissolution of the villages, but realized it wasn't politically feasible."
After months of discussion, Carvin, Pilla and Feinstein ultimately settled on researching the dissolution of the Town and the increase in shared services.
"We all agreed it was important to have the study done in a professional manner," Carvin added. "It had been done in the past, but never on this level of analysis."
In addition to introducing the baseline report, Carvin said the secondary purpose of the meeting was to make clear each municipality's role.
"One of the big benefits is the opportunity for people to understand the local government much better, and the cost of local government much better," Carvin said. "In terms of municipal government, it will provide an understanding of how municipal services are delivered."
Although Thursday's meeting is important, Carvin can't help but look ahead to the next meeting, where CGR will present recommendations on changes going forward. Although Carvin called the process "complex" and "difficult," he said he believes in the necessity of the study.
"We need initiatives of this nature if we're going to change our diet and tax dynamic, if we're going to keep our communities from disintegrating," Carvin said.
For more information regarding the study and to access the baseline report please visit the project's homepage.