Residents voted on Monday to dissolve the Village of Van Etten. Village services will now be absorbed by the Town of Van Etten.
Village dissolution passed 103-76.
The town of the Van Etten has the highest property tax rate among towns in Chemung County. Supporters of dissolution hope absorbing things like the village sales tax will help lower those rates.
A study by the Center for Government Research found that dissolution would save owners of a median-valued home $284/year. Plus, there was a state incentive to dissolve thanks to the Citizen Empowerment Tax Credit.
On the other side, opponents worried about losing village autonomy. Mayor Jake Briggs was in that camp. “Disappointed is a word. Unappreciated is another,” Briggs said. “We really thought we’d been doing a better job over the last 141 years of representing these people in this one square mile, but we’ve been told different.”
“Apparently, that little tax bill of a couple hundred dollars a year is too big of a price tag for local representation.”
From here, the village has about six months to come up with a dissolution plan. Then, residents will vote on whether to approve that plan. That means the dissolution isn’t a sure thing, yet.
“We have 180 days to get a plan together and put it in front of the voters again,” said Briggs. “They could well say ‘this is not so good of a plan’.”
Briggs adds that the turnout for the vote was much higher than a regular village election.