Oct 31, 2011 Amanda Seef Uncategorized
The Election Day ballot for village of Camillus residents will appear to be fairly standard.
Two choices for mayor.
Six total choices for three village trustee positions.
And a village-wide referendum.
The story behind the ballot, and how each item got to be there, is anything but standard.
A consolidation study facilitated by former mayor Michael Montero reported that village residents could save $$77.62 annually on taxes for a $100,000 home if the village were to merge with the town. The amount seemed substantial enough for Montero to encourage the village board and residents to consider consolidating into the town of Camillus.
In July, 108 of the village’s 1,200 residents signed a petition requesting the decision be left to those who the decision would affect — the village’s residents. The village board voted unanimously to leave the fate to Election Day’s referendum.
But now, days before the referendum vote, some residents are speaking with attorneys to stop the vote.
“They’re screwing the village,” said Belle Brown, a long-time resident of Camillus and former village trustee. “The village has been promised nothing. The villagers were not given time to evaluate this decision.”
Brown and others are “exploring their options” to file a show-cause order before Tuesday’s vote. Should the order be filed, a judge could possibly stop or postpone the referendum, Brown said.
“This is ridiculous that they’re pushing this [dissolution],” Brown said. “We’ve been villagers for a long time and we love the village. I hate to see the people get screwed like this.”
Montero, who advocated for the study and encouraged the dissolution, has since resigned from his position after being apparently “missing” from Camillus for more than a month. Montero moved his family and string instrument business out-of-state and notified the village board of his intent to resign. At September’s end, trustee Bridget Yule was appointed interim mayor. Only one of the board’s current trustees is running for re-election, Bill Cody.
Two people, Karen Kiggins, a Republican, and Patricia Butler, of the Community Party, are now vying for the village’s top spot, despite the potential dissolution on the table.
If the village were to dissolve, the village board would no longer exist and the town’s 1st ward councilor would represent the village’s 1,200 residents. The town would also likely adopt the village’s three highway workers, but the village clerk, deputy clerk and code enforcement officer would lose their jobs.
If the vote is approved Tuesday, the village of Camillus will be the first to dissolve in Onondaga County in 85 years.
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