Page 8 - Work Force January 2017
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Depew voters to decide village dissolution
 DEPEW — On Jan. 17, Village of Depew voters will decide whether to dissolve their local government.
Supporters of the dissolution got enough valid petition signatures last September to force a vote on the issue. If the village dissolves, Transit Road would be the dividing line, with some neighbors being absorbed by the Town of Cheektowaga and some by the Town of Lancaster.
The 124-year-old Erie County
village, which has more than 15,000 residents, is one of the larger villages in Western New York.
With most dissolution referendums, there are multiple issues for voters to consider. In Depew’s case, voters will determine what happens to village assets, projected tax bills and the future
of village public services that will indirectly affect more than 176 village employees and their families.
Western Region President Flo Tripi called the Depew vote to dissolve the village services unlike any recent village dissolution effort.
“This vote is peculiar because residents are being asked to weigh
in on a simply worded referendum asking whether the village should be dissolved,” Tripi said. “(Residents) will do so without any definitive numbers or data about how merging the village into two towns will impact their taxes and public services. There have been no Depew studies or projections to estimate outcomes — they are doing this all backwards.”
CSEA members and pro-village coalition groups have been canvassing neighborhoods since
October to educate residents about keeping their village whole.
“The fact remains, if the village dissolves residents will have diminished services and a lower standard of living — period,” said CSEA Erie County President Denise Szymura. “Dismantling village public services, especially fire, police and snow removal, might be too much for voters to approve.”
Depew residents aren’t alone in deciding the future of their village.
In recent years, the governor has been urging government bodies to dissolve or consolidate, focusing on village, town, city and county charter revisions, education, utility and water services, transportation and public safety. The state has also been providing incentives for communities considering consolidation, noting that it would save taxpayer money.
However, consolidation has not proven to be an effective solution for local governments looking for a long-term solution to fiscal challenges in providing public services. There is no evidence that tax bills would be reduced, and village services could potentially be jeopardized.
More importantly, voters overwhelmingly support retaining their villages.
Similar efforts to dissolve public services in the Villages of Medina and Brockport have recently failed. If voters decide not to dissolve Depew, another vote on this issue wouldn’t be allowed for four more years.
— Ove Overmyer
Materials distributed to Village of Depew residents.
Smith is PEOPLE recruiter of the month
SYRACUSE — Gloria Smith of the SUNY Upstate Local in the Central Region is the PEOPLE Recruiter of the Month for November, recruiting eight new PEOPLE members.
“At our hospital, our workers know we have power when we stand together and make our voices heard,” said Smith, a CSEA activist and phlebotomist at SUNY
Upstate Medical University’s Clinical Pathology Department. “That’s why our members are willing to join the PEOPLE Program, because they know it’s one of the best ways we can join together to be politically active and fight to protect our rights.”
CSEA’s PEOPLE program protects and improves our jobs, benefits and
pensions in Washington, Albany and
in your community. Your support and participation in PEOPLE strengthens CSEA’s clout in the workplace, in the legislature, in your community and in the labor movement.
— Mark M. Kotzin
   The Work Force
January 2017

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