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State officials will explain process for dissolving local governments at Aug. 10 forum in Lakewood
Monday, July 12, 2010

Village of Lakewood, NYSUNY Fredonia’s Center for Regional Advancement (CRA) will host a forum with New York State Deputy Attorney General David Sampson to discuss the New York Government Reorganization and Citizen Empowerment Act and its uniform procedures for the consolidation or dissolution of local government.

The forum will be held at the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church located at 35 W. Fairmount Ave., Lakewood, on Tuesday, Aug. 10 at 6 p.m. In April, the CRA hosted a similar forum in the Village of Fredonia. 

The Village of Lakewood will hold a vote on whether or not to dissolve its government on Aug. 25. Lakewood is the first municipality in Chautauqua County to initiate a referendum under the new state law.

“This forum will be an opportunity for residents to learn more about the process and decide if they are in favor of the dissolution referendum,” said CRA Director Chuck Cornell. “The Center’s mission is to be a catalyst for regional governance in rural Western New York, and this educational forum fulfills that mission by providing a valuable opportunity for the region’s residents to learn more.”

Deputy Attorney General Sampson will explain the process under the new law, which took effect March 23, and field questions from the audience. Cornell added that the Center was invited to conduct the forum by the citizens’ group “Merge and Lower Taxes (MALT),” which initiated the referendum in order to present all Lakewood residents with the chance to understand the process and the potential results stemming from either decision.

The N.Y. Government Reorganization and Citizen Empowerment Act established uniform procedures for the consolidation or dissolution of local government. The procedures apply to the consolidation and dissolution of towns, villages, fire districts, fire protection districts, fire alarm districts, special improvement districts or other improvement districts, library districts, and other districts created by law.
The law was introduced by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. According to his website, there are 10,521 local governmental entities in New York State, including counties, towns, villages, school districts, special districts and public authorities. There are 231 in Chautauqua County.

Since its founding in 1997, the CRA (formerly the Center for Rural Regional Development and Governance) has been a major catalyst for regional collaboration, governance innovations, community outreach and economic development. Its mission is to engage the intellectual and analytical human resources of SUNY Fredonia to enhance the region’s governance and economic development capacity.

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