SPENCER — At Monday’s meeting of the Spencer Village Board, Ben Syden of the Laberge Group made a presentation about the process of the possible dissolution of the Village of Spencer.
“There will be no answers today — and this is not meant for grandstanding of those pro or against,” Syden stated.
On January 2, a petition for dissolution was presented to the Spencer Village Board with 114 signatures. The village clerk reviewed and certified that 104 of the signatures were valid.
For some history, Syden mentioned prior to 2010, 39 New York villages had dissolved — after 2010 another 10 dissolved.
He talked about the “Citizen Empowerment Tax Credit,” a 15% tax credit that would come in September after the dissolution. If residents vote to not dissolve the village, it cannot be brought up again for four years.
In the case of Spencer Village’s proposed dissolution, it has been a citizen initiated process. Twenty percent of the citizens had to sign the petition.
The Laberge Group will be developing the interim report. The company will consult with Town and Village of Spencer and look at what may happen to government services such as law enforcement, senior citizens services, the village library, Panther Pak as well as look at all village assets.
For those who want to keep up with the process, Syden encouraged them to check their website at www.labergegroup.com/Spencer, and this site will be linked to the village and town web sites.
A referendum vote will be held on April 30 from noon to 9 p.m. and have just one question: Shall the Village of Spencer be dissolved?
“You must determine what is more important to you,” Syden said.
If yes vote wins; the village will have 180 days to come up with a dissolution plan as well as look at all village assets and services. Whatever the village decides to put in the plan, the Town of Spencer cannot be held to.
One of the 40 or so residents on hand questioned if the Spencer Fire Department continue to exist. Syden said it would not but spoke of other options such as a community fire department.
“Chances are we won’t have an answer about the fire department by April 30 as there are so many variables to look into,” Syden said.
If the village is dissolved, all village assets go to the town while all liabilities and debts still remain the village’s. Any laws on the village books will stay on the village for two years after the dissolution.
Laberge Group will be spending the next six weeks or so collecting data from the Town and Village of Spencer.
Syden mentioned a study called, “Bumps, Bruises and Pitfalls of Village Dissolutions,” which has some of the items they must investigate.
Legislator Dale Weston was on hand, asking about home rule. Syden mentioned the town doesn’t vote on the dissolution. Weston pointed out in the last census, Village of Spencer residents increased by 200.
“There must be something here people like,” Syden said.
Syden spoke of many dissolutions his group have been part of.
“Don’t let your community get torn apart by governess,” he said.
Syden went on to tell about one dissolution where they had to have law enforcement on hand as town and village residents were getting into fights.
Another resident questioned about absentee ballots for the “snow birds,” residents who spend winter in warmer climates, and Syden said he has never seen it done before.
Another resident suggested the village should send out a newsletter to inform everyone of the website and time frame for vote. Syden said the village is not required to take any further action. The village chose to hold this informational meeting.
A flyer was being circulated among those present that had been done by a private group, the Friends of the Village of Spencer. The flyer outlines the village government and each members duties — their responsibilities, sponsored programs and more.
The flyer entitled “Spencer Village Perks,” answers the question, do you know what the Spencer Village government does for our community?