Malone Village Board members must soon decide if they will put a referendum before voters this fall that could dissolve the village and turn its assets, debts and employees over to the town.
Such an important issue should have taxpayers asking questions and requesting all possible information on the impact on their property and their pocketbooks.
But Mayor Todd LePine says he’s hardly heard from anyone about whether they want to vote on the idea or let it die.
We wonder why. Such an important decision needs input from the people who will have to live with it. Don’t they want to have a say in the matter? Do they support or oppose dissolution? The Village Board wants to know. Up until now, only people with special interests have voiced their opinion. Doesn’t anyone else care?
Trustees have until Sept. 6 to make a final decision in order to get a referendum placed on the ballot for the Nov. 6 election.
The board is hosting a public hearing at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 21, to give residents one final opportunity to weigh in on the issue before the trustees and LePine make a determination. We hope there’s a good turnout because this decision will influence life in the village and the Town of Malone for years to come.
Trustee Dan Marlow has questioned the fast timeline, saying such an important issue could be overshadowed by the presidential election. He is afraid voters will not give as much weight to the possibility of dissolution as they should.
Marlow favors holding off a vote until after the first of the year to give people more time to learn about the recommendations from by a committee appointed by the Village Board to study dissolution. But a presidential election guarantees a big turnout on Election Day, and we suggest it is a perfect time for a vote because the village is sure to secure the opinion of a greater number of voters.
The committee determined that the tax rate per $1,000 of assessed-property value on parcels in the existing village would be reduced under dissolution from $23.50 to $19 per $1,000 and from $8 to $7.40 for $1,000 on existing town parcels. For a property valued at $75,000, the savings could be about $330 the first year in the village and around $55 a year in the town.
Those figures depend on the town receiving annual incentive money from the state as a bonus for the dissolution.
The plan would also create special districts for leaf and brush pickup and street lighting for existing village properties and force the town to seek state permission to create a police district, which has not been allowed since the 1930s.
LePine said he would like to see dissolution go to a vote to settle the question, but he will not be included in the Village Board’s decision unless there is a tie among the four trustees.
So unless village residents make their wishes known, the people they have entrusted to run the village will make the decision on their own, and taxpayers will have to live with it.
Attend the Aug. 21 hearing. Your community needs to hear from you.