Wilson residents vote against dissolving village government

WILSON, N.Y. (WIVB) – Tuesday, people who live in the Village of Wilson voted against dissolving the village.

The final vote was 222 “no” to 209 “yes,” Mayor Bernie Leiker told News 4.

“The village is very polarized,” said Mayor Leiker. “I think there are a lot of people who would like to see taxes lowered, and then there are a lot of people who would like to see no change at all.”

Resident Erin Lawson said she favors the idea of dissolution.

“They’re still going to plow our streets, they’re going to be plowing the sidewalks. We’re not really going to lose anything. We’re going to keep everything still the same, it’s just, we’re going to save money,” Lawson said.

“I don’t think we should,” resident Cole Daubney said. “I do like having the village and the town separate. Even though we are just small Wilson, it is two different worlds. We’ve got the farms, and we’ve got the water side. It’s two very different societies. I would actually be concerned about taxes going up.”

“I personally pay 3.56 percent in property taxes, based on the assessed value of my house. That’s three-and-a-half times higher than the national average,” resident James Alessi said. “So, basically we have to do something.”

“Long as my garbage gets picked up and the streets are plowed in the winter, I guess we’re set!” Kepner said.

A “yes” vote would have authorized the village to conduct a study, which would have analyzed what impacts dissolving the village would have on taxes, services and personnel.

The town and village of Wilson share a town hall and a building inspection/code enforcement officer. There are also informal agreements on sharing, for instance, equipment used by the public works and fire departments. The village has six of its own full-time employees.

“The way I see it is, there’s all kinds of studies done all across the country. Specifically, I’ll point to the Peace Bridge project. We’ve been studying that for years and nothing ever happens, yet it’s taxpayers’ dollars that are going to that study,” observed Alessi. “At least in this situation, the taxpayers have the opportunity to decide whether or not they want to dissolve the village before we do a study that’s going to cost $50,000.”

The “no” vote means that the Village of Wilson cannot even consider dissolving for at least another four years.

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