What does it mean, who opposes the thrust

SPRING VALLEY – A petition campaign is calling for a public vote on dissolving village government and transferring responsibility for services to Ramapo town government.

However, the petition does not specify the reasons why she would like the government to be dissolved, and it is not known who started the campaign.

The preamble to the petition for Dissolution of Local Government states, “We, the undersigned voters and lawful voters of the Village of Spring Valley, New York, qualified to vote in the next general or special election, respectfully request that it be submitted to the voters of the Village of Spring Valley, for their approval or rejection in a referendum held for that purpose, of a proposal to dissolve and terminate the Village of Spring Valley.

Document: Petition asking for a public vote to dissolve the village government

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The petition comes as the working-class and ethnically diverse village deals with housing issues and the state directs the county government to conduct inspections and prosecute violations of fire, zoning and building codes. The village also faced financial problems, with large tenant housing and small businesses. A few years ago, the village considered merging its police department with Ramapo and Clarkstown, which covers a small portion of Spring Valley. Police costs are the most important expense of the budget.

A majority of the board apparently opposes the dissolution, preferring to retain the police department, public works and other agencies, rather than being dependent on the Ramapo government. If a referendum were approved, the council would have to approve the petition if it meets state regulations, set a schedule for a public vote, and decide issues such as the sale of village properties and assets.

Opponents cite the need for government to be as independent as possible and to maintain local control of services like snow removal, road repair, control of land use and planning and zoning decisions, and funding social programs. Some supporters of keeping the government intact said they believe the petition was started by some Orthodox Jewish leaders. Some felt this was related to the current situation in which Rockland is handling code enforcement for the village.

“I don’t see the logic,” Administrator Zach Clerina said of the government’s dissolution. “I don’t know who is behind it. My suggestion to people is not to sign. The petition is a death trap. We lost our construction department. We cannot afford to lose another department in our village.

Spring Valley Village Administrator Zach Clerina speaks as he and other government officials and clergy gathered outside the Spring Valley Village Hall July 12, 2021 to offer their condolences to the people of Haiti after the assassination last week of Haitian President Jovenel Mo•se.  With Clerina were Spring Valley Board Member Eudson Tyson François, left, East Ramapo School Board Vice Chair Sabrina Charles Pierre, and Spring Valley Village Judge Jacquilin Millien,

Mayor Alan Simon, midway through his second four-year term, said dismantling the village would be bad policy for residents. He said the village, “long before my time as mayor and during my time as mayor, is a strong independent village with a large police department and other departments that serve the people of the village.”

“Based on this, it makes sense to believe that dismantling the village would be a bad choice,” Simon said.

Dissolving the government would cost elected officials and potential appointed workers their jobs.

Spring Valley Mayor Alan Simon is pictured during a service March 26, 2021, to thank first responders across the county and remember Spring Valley firefighter Jared Lloyd who recently died in a blaze.  The ceremony took place outside the offices of the Village of Spring Valley.

Other administrators declined to comment, such as Deputy Mayor Joseph Gross. Administrator Asher Grossman said: “I had nothing to do with this (dissolution request). Zero.” Grossman declined to comment on whether to support or oppose the breakup. Administrator Yisroel Eisenbach did not respond to a request for comment.

What would dissolution mean?

The council oversees a 2 ½ square mile village with a 2020 census-based population of 32,189, but many believe the population, including non-filing residents, has long since exceeded 50,000. The census figure marks a 0.2.44 increase in population from 2010, attributed to the increase in Orthodox Jewish residents. The village has an average family income of $63,801, with a poverty rate of 25.62%, a median monthly rent of $1,377, and a home value of $312,100.

The village has also seen political upheaval as criminal investigations led to prison sentences for a former mayor and deputy mayor and two former building department officials accused of filing false inspection documents with the ‘State after the fatal March 2021 fire in which firefighter Jared Lloyd and a resident of Evergreen Court Home for Adults died.

Earlier this year, the Orangetown village of South Nyack completed a two-year process of dissolving government and transferring services to Orangetown on April 1. The village of around 3,500 people dissolved on March 31 after being formed in 1878 Residents voted 508 to 292 in December 2020.

Proponents succeeded in convincing South Nyack voters that rising property taxes and spending made village government without taxable businesses too expensive for landlords and tenants. The sale and potential development of the former 106-acre Nyack College campus to a Hasidic Jewish congregation in Ramapo has cast a long shadow and caused some residents to break up.

Dissolution can take more than two years. If approved by referendum, the governing body must hold a public hearing within 210 days to deal with village properties, employees, municipal contracts and debt issues.

Ramapo supervisor Michael Specht said dissolving the government is a decision for the people of the village. He said he had heard of the petition but had no details.

Ramapo City Supervisor, Michael Specht.

“The city and I have no position on the merits of this proposal,” Specht said. “If the people of the village decide to dissolve, the town is ready to provide all the services the people need when it becomes part of unincorporated Ramapo.”

What triggered the movement?

Disbandment opponents have scheduled a community meeting “to save the village of Spring Valley” for 5 p.m. on July 27 in the parking lot of First Timothy Christian Church, located at 198 N. Main St., next to the police station. government police. municipal square.

It’s unclear which individuals or groups are behind the breakup push, though some community members are voicing theories and pointing fingers.

Spring Valley NAACP chapter president Willie Trotman said residents would be best served with an independent village government of their choice. He said he is still researching the workings of dismantling the government and what Ramapo has to deliver.

Spring Valley NAACP President Willie Trotman speaks during the announcement the multipurpose center Martin Luther King Jr. has purchased two lots across the street to plan a new park for 'The Hill' neighborhood on February 7, 2020.

“I like the idea of ​​independence and the village is not dissolving,” Trotman said, adding that he had been told that some Orthodox Jewish leaders and officials were leading the dissolution movement. “I don’t know for sure yet what the details are.”

Justin Schwartz, a member of the Rockland Illegal Housing Task Force and Private Schools, said, “Orthodox Jewish community leaders are driving the Dissolution movement.

“Instead of dealing with current issues, they are choosing to end the village and move to Ramapo,” Schwartz said.

Village activist and CUPON manager Steven White said he remembers when Ramapo took over the village’s tax assessment office and the resulting mistakes led to higher property taxes for him and other families.

The mall that contains Spring Valley Village Hall

“Ramapo’s assessments have benefited large apartment owners at the expense of landlords,” White said, before mentioning Rockland’s statute enforcing building codes in the village. “If there’s no Spring Valley, there’s no county code enforcement. I think that’s the real reason for the petition, it would hand over enforcement of the county code to the city.

Collette Fournier, adjunct professor at Rockland Community College, said the loss of village government would be bad news for residents. She noted that local students of color are being harmed by the East Ramapo School District.

“From education to required services, Spring Valley seems to be under assault from New York State,” she said. It’s scandalous. Who will pay the taxes and how will we function as a community without essential services?

Steve Lieberman covers government, breaking news, courts, police and investigations. Contact him at slieberm@lohud.com. Twitter: @lohudlegal.

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