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Editorial: Fair Is Fair

Please read the letter to the editor submitted by Bayville Mayor Victoria Siegel about a new bill to allow villages to be dissolved.

She states: “The bills require a petition of 10 percent of the registered voters be submitted to the Village Board (20 percent under 500 voters). The question of dissolution must be submitted to the voters even though there is no plan for consolidation or abolition, nor any specifics for any cost savings to be realized, merely the generic notion that the consolidation or abolition should take place. The bills are silent on who may initiate such a petition. It would appear that any registered voter in the State could initiate a petition to consolidate or abolish a village. Consequently any disgruntled vendor who didn’t win a bid, a candidate who lost an election, a person fined in the Village Court, or a person who was accused of having an illegal two-family house and doesn’t live in your village could mount a campaign to abolish or dissolve a village.”

Our comment is that when the unincorporated area of East Norwich was considering the option of becoming a village, the process was long and convoluted. It made the option truly arduous and daunting.

The fact that the proposal to get rid of villages is being made so easy is surely a comment on the law being used to make policy.

In Nassau County they formed the original Board of Supervisors on the concept that no village after 1938 would have zoning powers, thereby ending the rush to incorporation to retain control of local areas.

This new law intends to limit that option further by making it easier to close the doors to a village hall than it is to open them.

In covering government, it appears that small local government surely allows people to be heard. In our town government, residents are also heard – just that there are more of them and it can take longer for action.

Our comment is just that having villages is another choice for people to make. If the government is going to make it so easy to end a village, they should also allow people to form one just as easily.


Why Abolish Local Control? Local Government Is Good Government!

In the wilds of dysfunctional Albany, the capitol, there are two bills, S5661 and A8501 entitled “The New York Government Reorganization and Citizen Empowerment Act.” These are the result of Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s wish list on local government consolidation which is fraught with peril and does not constitute “good government”.

The proposed legislation allows a county government, by local law, to abolish a village, town, or special district, but not a school district, and transfer its function to the county. Why does the Cuomo bill want the counties to have this authority? To abolish local control.

The bills require a petition of 10 percent of the registered voters be submitted to the Village Board (20 percent under 500 voters). The question of dissolution must be submitted to the voters even though there is no plan for consolidation or abolition, nor any specifics for any cost savings to be realized, merely the generic notion that the consolidation or abolition should take place. The bills are silent on who may initiate such a petition. It would appear that any registered voter in the state could initiate a petition to consolidate or abolish a village. Consequently any disgruntled vendor who didn’t win a bid, a candidate who lost an election, a person fined in the Village Court, or a person who was accused of having an illegal two-family house and doesn’t live in your village could mount a campaign to abolish or dissolve a village.

Mr. Cuomo doesn’t tell us who will be paying for the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed in order to follow the process as outlined in the bill. Mr. Cuomo doesn’t tell us because you already know the answer – the taxpayer.

It has been proven time and time again that village government delivers the essential services at a lower cost than any other level of government whose budgets are in multimillion dollar deficits. Village budgets must be balanced by law. Look at your tax bill and see how much you are already paying county government and consider that the sum does not include sanitation, snow plowing, water, library, fire. This ill conceived idea of Mr. Cuomo is a catastrophe. Think long and hard about what Mr. Cuomo wants you to give up and the money it will cost you to give it up, only to pay more if Mr. Cuomo succeeds. Send a message to your senator and assemblyman that you chose to live in an incorporated village and that is what you want.

Mayor Victoria Siegel

Incorporated Village of Bayville