Boards may be merged

NORTHAMPTON – The town of Northampton and the village of Northville are discussing possibly merging their planning and zoning boards.

Currently, the village and the town have their own planning and zoning boards, with 20 people filling the boards’ volunteer positions.

Town Supervisor James Groff said officials do not yet know how many seats would be available on the new boards.

“We have to sit down and discuss that, come up with a number we want to use,” Groff said.

He said the suggestion for the merger first came from the boards themselves.

Because there is a shortage of applicants, Groff said vacancies on combined boards would be easier to fill.

“We have problems getting people to serve,” Groff said.

While running for town supervisor, Groff said one of his goals would be to try to consolidate services between the village and the town to save money.

“We need to consolidate every [support service],” Groff said in October.

Town Board member William Gritsavage said Groff has worked toward that goal, working closely with the village.

Before Groff took office, there was little discussion about consolidating services.

“They really hadn’t talked about it before Jim was elected. … The difference in the last six months has been tremendous,” Gritsavage said.

Earlier this year, the town and village approved sharing a treasurer, saving an estimated $25,000 for each municipality.

Gritsavage said he would like to see the town and village highway departments work together as well. The two departments already share a salt shed on Route 30.

The planning and zoning boards in the two localities currently have no vacancies, Groff said. Neither municipality pays the board members.

Northville Mayor John Spaeth was unavailable for comment.