A New View of Consolidation

If I travel anywhere in the country and am asked where I am from I say Syracuse. I would never say I'm from Onondaga County. The city within the county is the governmental entity that has a nationally known reputation. There is a lot of talk of late about government consolidation, that New York has too many layers. The conventional wisdom is towns should take over villages and counties should absorb cities into greater metropolitan centers. But, maybe flipping that perspective around is worth discussing.

The latest high profile example comes from Seneca Falls, the birthplace of the women's rights movement. Next week people in the village will vote on whether to dissolve the village into the town. Some of the lovely people who have lived there all their lives do not want to see their historic village evaporate. It is the center of their community. It is a common sentiment, but do you ever hear that about the surrounding town.

Towns are wide stretching entities defined by borders that relate to the division of property as the spoils of war for veterans of the American Revolution. Towns, in our context, lack identity. They often lack a gathering point. The same cannot be said of villages.

If the passion for a community lies in the village then why d issolve it. Instead consider dissolving the town that encompasses the village. Keep the heart of the community alive. Allow it to grow, thrive and extend. If a precedent is to be set on consolidation maybe it should work from the inside out instead of the outside in.

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