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Future of Clyde unclear: Petition circulating as cost of police, issues of dissolution process take center stage

Several communities throughout the region have gone through high-profile dissolutions.

The villages of Lyons, Macedon, and Seneca Falls have all dissolved. Those efforts were led by residents who were frustrated by overlapping or unnecessary services, which ultimately caused higher taxes in those communities.

Now, the village of Clyde is going through the same process. It started over the winter when a petition was circulated- but failed to get enough signatures. It needed 124 signatures to begin the process- which would include town and village officials working together to come up with a plan for a dissolved, unified community.

A handful of signatures on the initial petition were deemed invalid for a number of technical reasons- like not being a registered voter; a duplicate; or not matching information on the voter roll.

Clyde Mayor Jerry Fremouw sent a letter to community members and media outlets sharing his disappointment with a second effort to get the signatures required to force a vote. “The biggest thing is that if the few who want change had ever approached the Village Board or attended a meeting in the last, at least four years, we could have worked to come up with a resolution that wouldn’t have caused hardship and hurt feelings throughout the community,” the Mayor said.

The campaign is being led by Ken DiSanto, who serves as president of the Clyde Industrial Development Corp. “Our mission is to get industry in town,” he said. “It’s a tough discussion to have when neighboring communities have lower taxes.”

Some skeptics of dissolution point to other communities where taxes were initially lower- but then slowly grew to pre-dissolution levels for various reasons. Others argue that the idea that this would be a slow, methodical process is off the mark. The state’s process for dissolving a community means that once the petition has signatures and is certified- it must go up for a vote within 90-days. Once it’s been approved, the boards involved have less than a full-year to come up with a plan and execute a vote. While there is a clause for a second referendum vote- its never played out that way locally.

Another concern involves the way ‘plans’ are carried out. There’s nothing in the law for dissolving a community, which requires either party to hold-up their end of the bargain. In fact, a dissolution plan can be agreed to- and anytime after the dissolution is final changes can be made. It’s a process that many have been critical of.

“That’s a yes or no vote; no plan, no facts, no figures, nothing, just a blind vote,” Mayor Fremouw added. As is the case in other communities that dissolved- the overall expense of policing in Clyde has been a flashpoint for supporters of dissolution.

“The number of people (living in the village) is smaller and the tax base is smaller,” DiSanto said. “You’ve got to get more efficient. We’ve got to do something to attract something, and one way to do that is a lower (property) tax.”