Niagara Gazette

Local News

June 22, 2014

Village of Wilson dissolution vote set for Aug. 26

Niagara Gazette —

The question of whether to move forward with dissolving the Village of Wilson will be put to vote on Aug. 26.

The village board passed a resolution last week setting the referendum date. All eligible voters who reside in the village can participate.

If the vote is in favor of dissolution, the village board will research the possible outcomes and put together a plan for dissolution.

However, if the plan is unsatisfactory to village residents, a petition can stop the process and force a second vote.

If the vote in August is not in favor of dissolution, village residents will not be able to petition for dissolution for another four years.

Mayor Bernie Leiker said almost $25,000 in funding is nearly guaranteed by the state. New York provides funding for dissolution studies because it is recommending consolidation of villages and towns to avoid duplication of services.

The best plan would be to hire an outside company to do the research, to avoid making decisions based off of emotion, according to Leiker.

The research would involve looking at the village's assets — the baseball fields, parks, and sewage treatment plant — as well as how dissolution would impact village employees, village and town residents' taxes, and what services could be shared.

Leiker acknowledged that the way the law is structured makes it difficult for residents to make an informed decision regarding dissolution before the vote.

“It's like taking a leap of faith to choose dissolution, there needs to be information before there's a vote,” Leiker said.

During a Thursday village board meeting, Randy Galyen expressed concern the village would still be responsible for certain services, including the sewer district. The Town of Wilson has no sewer district currently except for residents of Sunset Island.

Building inspector Nathan Vanderbeck spoke at the meeting, concerned that the petition for dissolution was a “knee-jerk reaction” to increased taxes, and hoped for examples from across the state where dissolution has saved taxpayer dollars.

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