Town Wants City To Consider Fire District Before Other Consolidation Measures Are Brought To The Table
Published: November 23rd, 2007
By: Michael McGuire

NORWICH – The Town of Norwich needs a show of good faith from the city before it will even consider looking at other ways the two municipalities could share or combine services, one town official says.

That good faith measure: looking into the possibility of creating an intermunicipal fire district between the two governments along with the town of North Norwich, says Norwich town Councilwoman Joanna Chiarino.

State officials said Wednesday they aren’t sure if it’s legally possible to create a fire district covering multiple towns and a city.

Limited research Wednesday and Friday did not uncover evidence supportive or un-supportive of a city/town district.

However, John Clarkson, the executive director of Governor Spitzer’s appointed Commission on Local Government Efficiency, said that having such intermunicipal discussions can still be beneficial to both sides. Chiarino hopes the talks, scheduled to begin Dec. 7, act as a “starting point.”

“We need to have cooperation on both sides before we think of going in on something else,” she said. “We’re certainly not going to jump with both feet into a study where the city finds out what it wants and the town has no say.”

Earlier this month, the Norwich town board opted out of taking part in a mostly state-funded study that Albany claims would’ve examined how the town and the city could jointly reduced duplicated services and cuts costs to taxpayers.

Chiarino and the town board have made it clear they’re not interested in merging, and cited the city’s lack of cooperation on previous tries to examine the feasibility of the intermunicipal fire district as deterrent to collaborating in other areas.

City of Norwich Mayor Joseph Maiurano says the city plans to fully cooperate in upcoming fire district discussions.

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