By ANDREA VanVALKENBURG
---- — CHAMPLAIN — A petition aimed at bringing a public vote on the possible dissolution of the Village of Champlain has been deemed valid.
With the petition upheld, registered voters will now weigh in on the issue when they head to the polls March 19 for village elections.
SIX NAMES INVALID
Kevin Triller, who spearheaded a public campaign for dissolution, collected 75 signatures to force the issue forward.
A 26-year village resident, he presented the petition to the Village Board in December.
Though six names were illegible and eliminated from the document, it met the 10 percent requirement of registered-voter signatures and was upheld.
With the vote now definite, the anticipated referendum will ask voters “yes” or “no” on whether to pursue dissolution.
A yes vote would force the village to develop an action plan and conduct a study on the issue.
Once the study is finalized, it would be subject to permissive referendum, meaning a petition with enough signatures could bring the issue to public vote again. Otherwise, dissolution would occur, and the village would be absorbed into the Town of Champlain.
With the vote now looming, a representative from the Department of State will meet with residents and the Village Board at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6, to answer questions about the dissolution process.
“There’s always a lot of questions about dissolution and the process,” Village Mayor Gregory Martin said. “And he (Sean McGuire from Department of State) is the most notable person to talk to because his office handles all dissolution processes in the state.
“If, and that’s a big if, we have to make a (dissolution) plan … this is a good resource to have.”
Martin said he and other board members also plan to hold at least one public hearing on the issue before the March vote, though the date of that meeting had not yet been finalized.
SIZE OF GOVERNMENT
Triller feels the village has rapidly declined in strength and services in recent years and that residents would be better off merging with the town.
“This village virtually has nothing ... and what are we getting out of it?” he questioned.
“It’s got to go. We’ve got to start minimizing government.”
Though some residents support dissolution, others, including Martin, feel the village is moving forward and should remain an entity.
Martin said dissolution could result in higher taxes and water and sewer rates for residents.
With just weeks until the vote, both sides are reaching out to residents, encouraging them to learn more about the process.
Anyone interested can attend the Feb. 6 informational meeting at the Village Office.
“It’ll be interesting,” Triller said. “I’d love to see the place packed.”