Petition to dissolve Fleischmanns deemed sufficient; will hold referendum within 90 days

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The third time’s a charm for those wanting to dissolve the Village of Fleischmanns as a recent petition submitted has been deemed sufficient and the Village Board has 30 days to schedule a referendum on the matter.

Village Trustee Larry Reilly relayed the news at the Middletown Town Board meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 11. The petition was filed by Craig Cherry, who tried unsuccessfully to file the same petition earlier this summer after William Hrazanek failed in his attempt to file a similar petition. At least 20 percent of the 144 electors in the village had to sign a petition to make it sufficient. The petition ultimately had 34 signatures, exceeding the minimum requirement. “The board has to meet within 30 days to set a date for the referendum which has to be within 60 to 90 days after that meeting. So, we’re meeting on October 7 to set that date. There’s no requirement to do a study beforehand,” Reilly said, “If the referendum passes, which is a majority vote, then within 30 days the village has to meet with the town to start working on a plan which we get six months to do.”

Reilly noted that at that point there would then be public hearings held and “the opportunity to have a permissive referendum if 25 percent of the electors in the village vote in that regard.”

He explained that if the referendum fails at the first vote, a motion to dissolve the village couldn’t be reintroduced, by a resident or elected official, for four years.

If the village were dissolved, it would save taxpayers the cost of the village government; the council and mayor are paid a total of approximately $8,000, according to Reilly. Legal fees and the cost of a village clerk are also possible areas of savings, but it is not clear what additional fees would be incurred by such moves at the town level.

Dissolution not a cure-all

Middletown Supervisor Pat Davis talked about looking into this very issue around 2006, saying that it wasn’t a cure-all.

“It wasn’t really getting out of debt or anything. It was just a reestablishment of tax districts,” Davis said, with Reilly adding, “Shuffling the deck and putting a lot of special use districts on the tax bill.”

Reilly added, “Be careful what you wish for.”

When one resident asked what would happen to the park in Fleischmanns, Davis responded saying, “It returns back to the family. The Fleischmanns family. That was part of the original agreement.” Reilly confirmed that the stipulation is in the deed.

When the same resident asked if residents were aware that the park and potentially other properties could be lost, Reilly said, “We don’t know what they know.”

“When something like this comes up, I really think that it is everyone’s duty to try to put out as much information as you have to those residents who are affected and are going to be voting on this,” Davis said.

He added, “Whatever happens, the Town of Middletown is going to work with the Village of Fleischmanns on this. Either way the people decide they want to go, everyone is going to have our full cooperation on this.”

Other town business

Later in the meeting, the board passed a resolution to authorize the purchase of a tractor needed at the town’s transfer station at a cost not to exceed $75,794.28. The resolution authorized the issuance of a bond in the same amount. The tractor will be used to pack cardboard into boxes and plow the parking lot. The tractor will also have a set of forks so it can move items such as televisions with ease. It will replace a model around 25 years old, which will be auctioned off.

The board passed another resolution to accept a proposed local law to override the tax levy limit established in the general municipal law. “This is something that we have to do every year in case we override the tax levy limit,” Davis said. The board scheduled a public hearing on the matter, scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 2 at 6:00 p.m. Seniors need representation

New Kingston resident Steve Finkle spoke to the board about the lack of representation from Middletown on the Delaware County Office for the Aging Board of Directors.

Finkle relayed statistics stemming from a “needs assessment” saying, “40 percent of the county is 60 plus; 80 percent live in their own housing, often in disrepair. He added 50 percent live alone with 17 percent in poverty and 46 percent are looking for affordable housing.”

He went on to say, “The people that responded are probably the ones most capable. What about the people who didn’t respond, who may be far less capable? What’s interesting is that nobody from Middletown is represented on the OFA other than me as a local resident. But nobody from Middletown is on the OFA board in any capacity.”

Middletown Highway Superintendent John Biruk informed the board he had been contacted by HBO representatives about filming in the Hamlet of Halcottsville on or around September 26-27. HBO asked to have modern signs—a point of recent controversy in the hamlet—taken down so they can continue filming around the Grange Hall. It is believed that the filming is for the miniseries “I Know This Much Is True” featuring Mark Ruffalo, which has filmed around the Middletown area for much of the last month.

Davis supported the move, saying, “We love that kind of exposure.”

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