Assemblyman Schmitt introduces modernized village creation legislation

He says current law 'can very easily be exploited by a small group of individuals'

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— Assemblyman Colin Schmitt (R-New Windsor) announced this week that he will introduce legislation that would update and change the village creation process in New York State.

Schmitt, the ranking member of the Assembly Local Governments Committee, described the process to create a village is outdated and too simplified.

"It can very easily be exploited by a small group of individuals," Schmitt said in the press release announcing his plans. "There is only a minimum requirement of 500 residents. In regards to the validation of petition signatures to form a new village, either 20 percent of residents in the proposed area need to sign a petition or the persons submitting the petition have to be landowners that own more than 50 percent of the land in the proposed village area."

New requirement: 2,000 signaturesSchmitt proposes that the minimum resident requirement would increase to 2,000 residents. In regards to the validation of petition signatures, a new village would need 51 percent of residents to sign the village creation petition.

The landowner provision would be completely removed.

Change, too, for referendumSchmitt also is proposing a change to the qualification of voters in regards to the creation of the new village. This would state that all qualified voters in the town where the land is coming from would be eligible to vote on the referendum, not just those within the confines of the proposed village as the law currently states.

Proposed new Village of Seven SpringsRecently in Orange County the proposed Village of Seven Springs from land in the Town of Monroe has spurred the need for action in changing the village creation process, the assemblyman said.

The most recently created village in New York, Mastic Beach, is also the most recently dissolved village shows that the village creation process in far to simple, with no checks and balances in place.

“The outdated law that controls the process of creating a new village needs to be amended and modernized," Schmitt said. "This simplified process lacks a system of checks and balances and can be easily exploited by a small group of individuals or land owners."

Jena Knight, spokewoman for the assemblyman, said Schmitt is the main sponsor in the Assembly. The legislation will be circulated in the upcoming weeks for additional Senate and Assembly sponsors, she added.

Inside: The executive committee of United Monroe opposed the creation of the Village of Seven Springs. Read the letter on page 12.

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