LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – On Tuesday, the future of the village and town of Lake George is up for a vote. From noon to 9 p.m., village voters can come to Town Hall to cast their vote on whether the village should dissolve into the town – a topic that became a topic of some contention between the two entities this summer.
In June, the village of Lake George hired the firm LaBerge Group to investigate the pros and cons of dissolution – a topic that the village itself looked into earlier in the year, before dropping the topic in the spring. The vote, planned for the fall then, was originally halted due to other goings-on in the village, including the final stages of the community’s new wastewater treatment plant. A town employee created a petition to make the vote happen after all, stating that the community was owed a say after the conversation had come that far.
The village of Lake George encompasses a small area at the south tip of Lake George, including Canada Street. The town expands 36 miles. Only Lake George Village residents who are registered to vote are eligible to be part of Tuesday’s referendum.
In many cases, dissolution between village and town is explored because village resources could offset debts held by the town. In the Lake George case, it’s the town that is proposed to help the village with debts related to its summer tourism industry. The LaBerge study said that the number of new resources available to the village in that regard would be small, citing existing agreements between the town and village that already create a similar sharing of resources.
The study also found that property owners in the village could see their tax rates drop by up to 33.9% if the merger were to take place. Currently, the town receives around $500,000 annually through the existing tax levy.
Village Mayor Bob Blais has been opposed to the merger since summer. In an interview with NEWS10 over the summer, he stated that the start of the summer was effectively the worst time of year for the tourism-focused village to have to focus on the topic, while simultaneously running events like the Americade motorcycle festival and annual 4th of July festivities.
Tuesday’s voting carries an unexpected legacy with it. On Tuesday morning, Blais announced that Bill Dow, president of the Lake George Steamboat Company, had died that morning, and that the vote would be held in his honor.