UPDATE: Wolcott residents vote to keep their village in place

Wolcott residents voting on whether to dissolve village

Wolcott residents voting on whether to dissolve village

UPDATE: The Village of Wolcott will remain in place, as residents Tuesday overwhelmingly voted against dissolving the village. According to village officials, the vote in the dissolution referendum was 317 “no” votes to 67 “yes” votes.

“At this time, we want to thank everyone for their support of the village, and for keeping the village the way it should be,” Mayor Chris Henner said Tuesday night.

(Original post:)

WOLCOTT, N.Y. — Will the Village of Wolcott dissolve? That’s what the villagers are deciding right now.

The 1,500-person community has until 9 p.m. to choose whether they want to do away with their government and be absorbed into surrounding towns. All day, voters have been streaming in and out of Village Hall. They’re deciding whether they want to stay their own municipality, or dissolve into the surrounding towns.

Chris Henner, mayor of the village for about nine years, said this vote came about from one resident’s petition. With enough signatures, a vote is triggered.

“I have not supported the dissolution from the get-go,” Henner said. “I don’t believe it’s the right process to follow; I don’t like the way that the state has it set up — it’s quite backwards.

Henner is not alone. “Save the Village” posters can be seen in many homes and businesses. And every voter I spoke with said “no.”

“It was a disaster, something that never should have been done. Done out of vengeance in my humble opinion,” said Jenny Banas.

“I was against it at the very get-go — they came ’round with a petition and I was like, I’m not interested in signing any petition for the dissolving,” said George Buckalew.

So what are they saying “no” to?

Dissolving the village government, and all the services it provides. Things like street maintenance, lighting, police and fire departments, and water services. The land would be included in two towns — the town of Wolcott and the town of Butler.

Tommy Mettler, Butler town supervisor, also works for the Village of Wolcott.

“I feel the way that it was brought forth was wrong — there were different avenues that could have been taken,” Mettler said.

He also says that on the Butler side, villagers would not be able to get the same services they have now.

However, the one pro that voters mentioned was taxes. Taxes could be lowered by $300 to $400 a year. But that number could change once the towns determine the cost for new services.

Voting started at 9 a.m. and runs to 9 p.m.

If the vote is yes, to dissolve, it likely would take the towns of Wolcott and Butler a couple of months to sort out these details. So the dissolution process itself likely will take a few months to finalize.