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Norwood study committee opts for more time in search for consultant

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NORWOOD — The village’s dissolution and town-transformation study team has decided it needs more time as it continues to plot Norwood’s next move.

The group of residents, business owners and elected officials tasked with mapping the future of the small village held off selecting a dissolution study consultant Thursday, instead opting to mull the decision for an additional week.

The Norwood Study Committee, formerly known as the Town of Norwood Committee, was presented with two bids by government consultants this week, each offering its services to help guide the village through a dissolution and options study.

The committee agreed more time was needed to fully investigate each proposal.

The hiring of a consultant became a reality earlier this month when the the state Department of State awarded the village a $50,000 grant to study dissolving the village and forming a town of Norwood, among other options.

Similar to what the village of Potsdam did last year, Norwood and its consultant will conduct an impact and feasibility study in an effort to give residents an idea of what the best decision would be, said Mayor James H. McFaddin.

“There will be several options looked at, and the study will be very transparent,” he said. “The benefits and liabilities will be very clear to the public.”

The group spent nearly an hour Thursday picking the brain of Department of State representative Sean Maguire and analyzing the proposals.

The offers, submitted by the Center for Governmental Research, Rochester, and Camoin Associates, Saratoga Springs, differ in small ways, Mr. Maguire said.

Camoin typically defaults more to the village committees, leaning on them for direction and information, he said.

CGR tends to collect a lot of data, process the information and produce a report, according to the state representative.

The end result, however, would be very similar, Mr. Maguire said. Both firms would collect and process the data, host a series of public meetings and information sessions and calculate the financial impact of each scenario.

“They produce their information in different ways, but they are both very well qualified,” Mr. Maguire said, adding that both groups have been involved in a number of dissolution studies around the state.

CGR, the group that helped guide the village of Potsdam through its dissolution study, offered to complete the process in 12 months for $50,000.

Camoin’s bid projected the study would take nine months for a fee of $55,555.

The committee also weighed the fact that CGR compiled a large amount of data about the village of Norwood and the town of Potsdam during its dissolution study in the village of Potsdam.

As a result, the firm pledged to spend a good deal of time looking at the formation of a town of Norwood, the option Mr. McFaddin said is no secret the village would like to pursue.

Choosing either firm will likely produce a similar study result, he said.

“We feel the study is perhaps going to show the greatest savings will come from extending the boundaries of the village of Norwood,” Mr. McFaddin said. “But we want to ensure that we’re not going to greatly increase taxes on the rest of the town at the same time.”

The village’s transformation to a town plan consists of expanding village limits to include property in the 13668 ZIP code in the town of Potsdam.

If Norwood is successful, it will be the first municipality in the state’s history to alter existing town lines and establish a separate town.

“It would be a long, difficult road,” the mayor said. “Everyone understands that. But north country people are used to fighting uphill battles.”

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