HIGHLAND FALLS – A study of government consolidation in the Village of Highland Falls and the Town of Highlands should finally resume later this year.
The Village Board received two responses to a request for proposals from firms interested in being the new study consultant and guiding local officials through the process.
But Mayor Joseph D’Onofrio said they are holding off on selection because a third firm expressed interest shortly after the deadline. They have been given until Aug. 1 to submit a proposal.
“Then the board will review the proposals and make its choice,” D’Onofrio said.
The two proposals already in hand are from the Research Foundation at SUNY New Paltz, and a company called CGR, based in the City of Rochester.
The village cancelled its contract with Kingston-based Rondout Consulting earlier this year. Village officials said the firm had been unreachable for some time.
The consolidation study was begun under former Mayor Patrick Flynn in 2016, with its primary goal being finding ways to reduce local taxes.
While all departments in both municipalities were to be studied, the work done so far had focused on the police departments.
Rondout had recommended consolidating the village police department, which has a mix of full-time and part-time officers, with the town police, who are all part-time. Rondout had estimated $417,000 a year in salaries and benefits could be saved through consolidation.
D’Onofrio had questioned that conclusion, saying it was based on outdated figures.
The village received a $25,000 matching grant from the New York Department of State for the study. Matching funds were provided from the village’s contingency fund.