RYE, N.Y. (CBS 2) — The Town of Rye in Westchester County is trying to decide whether to pink slip itself out of existence and dissolve after 350 years.
Town officials said they have taken to heart Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s desire to consolidate some of the 4,000 municipalities that drive up costs and taxes. The town is taking bids for a company to look into whether dissolution makes sense and could spend up to $65,000 for the study.
CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer asked Confidential Secretary Bishop Nowotnik how he would feel if he eventually lost his job as a result of this undertaking.
“If it was because of the taxpayers getting a benefit, I would feel great. I would feel absolutely great,” Nowotnik replied.
The Town of Rye currently serves as a bureaucratic layer of government that provides few services other than tax collection and property assessment. It also maintains two parks and a few bridges for the villages of Port Chester, Rye Brook and Rye Neck.
“Government can run more efficiently,” Nowotnik said, “in private business, for example, we don’t hesitate to explore an opportunity to save money. And we will do whatever it takes in some cases to do that. In government there’s an inertia.”
Rye Town is one of 30 municipalities looking at ending their existence, but it could be a tough sell in the community. Another component of any move would be a Long Island Sound beach and park that is restricted to residents. If there is no town, questions would arise over who actually could use the beach.
Officials wonder whether the 44,000 people who live in the area would even approve of the plan, but local opinion is split.
“There’s so many layers of taxation. We need to start to consolidate them for some taxpayer relief,” Rye Brook resident Dan Tartaglia said.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea to eliminate it,” Hope Lott said.
SOUND-OFF: Should the Town of Rye dissolve to save taxpayers money? Let us know in the comments section…