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July 23, 2013

Petition started to dissolve village of Richfield Springs

Former county rep Alex Shields says move would save $200,000 a year


While declining to offer a prediction on the outcome of a referendum, if one is authorized by village clerk, Shields said: "My position is to give the people a choice to exercise their constitutional right" by weighing in on the proposal..

The village has 662 registered voters, he said.

If a referendum were to be defeated, a similar measure cannot be brought before by voters again for another two years, he added.

Asked if he'd be willing to debate his proposal in public, Shields said, "I'd be more than happy to have a civil discussion with anyone who disagrees with me."

Under the law, Shields said, the village clerk has 10 days to act on the petition. A total of 66 valid signatures are needed to authorize the referendum. If the petition is deemed valid, the village board, once notified by the clerk, has 30 days in which to schedule a public referendum on whether voters agree or disagree to dissolve the village.

Shields ran for town supervisor in 2011, but was defeated by current Town Supervisor Fran Enjem.

If the referendum is held, voters living in the town outside the village would have no say in the outcome.

Enjem, who lives on Canadarago Lake outside the village, said he wants to learn more about the consolidation proposal before weighing in on it.

But he suggested it would be possible that dissolving the village could lead to higher taxes for some town residents, while others would see lower tax bills, and some public employees could end up being laid off.


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