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Village of Wolcott may dissolve: Petition gets enough signatures to force referendum vote

Another village in the Finger Lakes is facing dissolution.

The Village of Wolcott is currently at a crossroads as a petition for dissolution has garnered sufficient support, compelling the Village Board to schedule a referendum.

Initiated by the “Committee to Dissolve the Village of Wolcott,” the petition, which originally collected 100 signatures, was reduced to 86 valid signatories following verification.

This number meets the threshold for certification, as confirmed by Village Clerk Fran Acker on November 30. The Village Board is now mandated to set a referendum date within 30 to 60 days of the petition’s certification. The referendum, requiring a majority vote to pass, will determine whether the Village will formulate a dissolution plan.

If the referendum fails, similar initiatives cannot be proposed for another four years.

Mayor Chris Henner expressed surprise at the petition, emphasizing that it directly seeks a dissolution vote rather than a preliminary study of the implications.

The petition, led by Susan Russo, cites reasons for dissolution such as a perceived lack of progress, an inability to attract new residents, and reluctance to invest in infrastructure improvements.

Russo’s Facebook statement clarified that the initiative stems from a desire to see the Village thrive under a new governmental structure, with the town potentially offering more economical and accountable services.

The situation has sparked varied reactions among residents, with some petition signers claiming misunderstanding of the petition’s intent, believing it called for a study rather than a direct dissolution vote.

The next step in this process is the Village Board meeting set for December 12, where the date for the referendum will be decided, likely leading to a vote in February or early March. The issue has brought to light broader trends of village dissolutions in the region and raised concerns about the implications for local governance and services.