ALBANY – State Senator James Skoufis (D, Woodbury) has introduced legislation to update village incorporation law, which has been virtually unchanged in 56 years and “undoubtedly requires significant modernization.”
The lawmaker said village incorporation proposals such as Seven Springs in the Town of Monroe “have been weaponized as political tools for major developers, in response to these circumstances.”
The bill would raise the threshold of signature requirements to file a petition from 500 to 2,500. It would strike a provision enabling the owners of at least 50 percent of the property value to petition for the new village. Under Skoufis’ proposal, at least 20 percent of the residents qualified to vote in the town must sign the petition for it to move forward.
It would also give the state comptroller’s office the authority to make either a favorable or unfavorable determination on the fiscal impacts of the village. If the comptroller deems the village to be fiscally unfavorable, the village petition would not move forward. If the comptroller deems the village fiscally favorable, the petition would move to a full vote for everyone in the affected town.
“By raising the petition requirement and giving the state comptroller’s o0ffice the ability to examine the fiscal impacts of a village incorporation, we are ensuring more fairness and independence in a process that has long-needed reformation,” Skoufis said. “Voters deserve to make an informed decision that best reflects the future of their community, and I’m determined to help give them that voice.”
The lawmaker said he “remains opposed to the proposed for the Village of Seven Springs and is committed to ensuring that the concerns of the people in the Town of Monroe are heard and respected.”