continued Lockwood said his opinion on consolidation was only “general” since he isn’t a member of the board, but he said consolidation of services could be good with the difficult economy. He added that jobs within the town can’t suffer by putting employees out of work.
“I think jobs are pretty important, because jobs are what is going to bring the economy back,” Lockwood said. “I think that will be the main consideration in considering consolidation.”
Wierzbowski said consolidation always has to “improve services and it has to save money.” She said there have been several areas discussed with the Village of Scotia for consolidation, including the contested and ultimately dropped police department consolidation. Some other areas she mentioned were consolidating the Parks Department, Highway Department, Water Department and Building Department.
“To this day and I am sorry to say that we just haven’t been able to get there,” she said. “We certainly don’t want to put anyone out of a job.”
The property tax cap also came into up, and candidates were asked if they support the mandate. All candidates said they weren’t in favor of going above the tax cap. Recently the board held a public hearing on a local law to override the tax cap, but Lockwood said he didn’t see the need to have such a “safety net,” as current board members have described it.
Wierzbowski said there was never any consensus on the board to go over the tax cap, but the board wanted to be open and transparent on budget discussions.
“We have to be open and honest with you, our residents, about everything that goes on in our town, which means if we have to talk about something like that it is our job to do so,” Wierzbowski said. “It is our job to keep you informed, it is our job to tell you what’s going on and that was part of it.”