Controversial Petition Circulates to Dissolve Village of Spring Valley
By M. C. Millman
In a bid for fewer taxes and more services, a petition drive is seeking a public vote on dissolving the Village of Spring Valley.
The dissolution of the Village would turn over responsibility for services such as the police department, fire department, public works, and other agencies to either the Town of Clarkstown or the Unincorporated Ramapo town government (depending on location).
The petition follows the decision by the Orangetown village of South Nyack to undergo a two-year process of dissolving the government and turning over services to Orangetown in an overblown response to a Yeshiva buying a college in the Village.
In the case of the Village of Spring Valley, those who are signing the petition are looking for change. According to residents, while other surrounding Villages and homes in unincorporated Ramapo pay far less in taxes, Spring Valley has long lagged behind its neighbors in the services it provides despite duplicate and redundant local agencies.
Locals complain that traffic lights burn out and aren't repaired. Potholes abound on the roads while repairs have only begun recently, around the time the petition was launched. The local public swimming pool, under the Village of Spring Valley, was only opened once in the past few years when the Town of Ramapo stepped in to fund it. Residents point to the fact that the State had to take over the building department as just another example of the disfunction of the Village.
If the referendum wins approval, the board will have to approve the petition if it meets State regulations, set up a timetable for a public vote; and decide on details. Details would include what should be done with Village property and assets.
While it has been reported that a majority of the Village of Spring Valley's board of trustees oppose the dissolution, according to those who are out canvassing for signatures, 98% of Village residents eligible to vote are eager to sign the petition. Not only are they eager to sign, according to one individual canvassing for signatures who spoke with Rockland Daily, but Spring Valley residents who open their doors, eager to sign, want to know why Villagers took so long to create the petition.
Opponents to the petition say residents are best served with an independent village government of their choosing that will maintain control of services like road repairs, snow removal, policing, land-use, planning and zoning decisions, and also funding for social programs.
Rockland Daily spoke with the volunteers who launched the petition several months ago.
"Our goal is to help every Village resident regardless of race or religion," the volunteer shared. "Less taxes and more services is a win-win for everyone."
"I firmly believe in self-determination of the electorate," says Rockland County Executive Ed Day, "and this matter is fully up to the residents of the Village of Spring Valley. I have no position on the matter other than being supportive of whatever decision the people of Spring Valley make."
I have no position on that," says Ramapo Supervisor Michel Specht when asked by Rockland Daily if he felt that dissolving the Village would be advantageous for the residents, "It's up to the Village residents to decide what is best. If they do dissolve the Village, the Town stands ready to provide the residents with all services needed as they become part of unincorporated Ramapo."
“I have no position or opinion one way or another. If and when a petition will be filed, we will follow the law,” Village of Spring Valley Trustee Sruly Eisenbach told Rockland Daily.
Dissolution can take over two years. If approved at a referendum, the Village will have to hold a public hearing within 210 days to calculate how to take care of Village property, Village employees, municipal contracts, and debt issues.