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Potsdam moving forward with new taxation district

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Potsdam moving forward with new taxation district
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The town of Potsdam is moving forward with a plan to create a special taxation district for the Potsdam Recreation Department. It's a plan that has not been tried in New York State, but as our Barry Wygel reports, town officials are hopeful it will succeed.

POTSDAM, N.Y. -- When the village of Potsdam voted to cut funding to the Potsdam Recreation Department, it left the town in a dilemma.

"We've been given a clear picture of the process that needs to happen for a recreation improvement district," said Marie Regan, Potsdam Town Supervisor.

Creating a recreation tax district has not been done in New York State, but is similar to tax districts that exist for fire departments and libraries. The move was needed because the village of Norwood, which exists within the town of Potsdam has its own recreation department.

"It is clear after talking to Mayor McFadden and citizens from Norwood that they want to keep their recreation separate. So the district will encompass the village of Potsdam and the town outside," said Regan.

However, the process of creating a new district is a lengthy one.

"We have to have a public hearing to let the public know what it will cost per citizen," said Regan.

After the public hearings, town citizens can present a petition to the county board of elections asking for a public vote. The vote would likely take place as a special election early in 2014.

While the creation of a new recreation district may be a headache in the short-term, Regan said she sees the potential for long-term benefits if the measure were to pass.

"I think with one government in charge of it, it will be easier for the director to know what is expected. This is a chance to perhaps create some new programs," said Regan.

Regan said she will work with the village to try to make sure there will not be any lapse in programs during the transition.

Regan says she does not want to rush the process, in order to give all community members the ability to comment on the proposed changes.

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