At the Crawford Town Board meeting on June 18, the establishment of a coterminous town-village was discussed. If passed, a new Village of Crawford would be incorporated, extending to the entire borders of the town.
The creation of a town-village within the Town of Crawford’s existing borders will prevent any other villages from incorporating within the town. This would prevent future financial burdens to the town and its taxpayers by avoiding the threat of multiple unconsolidated municipal governments existing within the town.
“Multiple unconsolidated governments can create additional expenses for residents, as overlapping municipal governments in turn create overlapping taxes for the provision of redundant residential services,” states the town’s petition for a coterminous town-village.
The petition must be signed by at least 20 percent of the registered voters in the incorporation area. These voters must have been registered by the last preceding general election.
To pass the petition, one mandatory referendum must be held. In this case, the town would hold a mandatory combined referendum, held on the question of whether the combined petition for incorporation and consolidation should be approved. Since the petition includes two procedures, incorporation and consolidation, these procedures will be voted on separately pursuant to state statute. All voters registered within the Town of Crawford may vote on both questions.
If the referendum passes on both questions, voters also have the opportunity to conduct another petition drive to require a second referendum on the consolidation plan itself. The purpose of this referendum would be to demonstrate that amendments are needed to the plan prior to consolidation and reorganization. If the petition is successful, this permissive referendum will be held on the question of whether the proposed consolidation plan, which governs the future consolidated town-village of Crawford, should be approved as is. The entire town can vote to approve the consolidation plan if the second referendum is held.
If Crawford becomes a coterminous town-village, it would have the same officials, both elected and appointed. Officials would have the additional powers of corresponding village officials.
Crawford Town Supervisor Charles Carnes hopes the coterminous town-village will soon be formed.
“I don’t know if it could be done in the general election in November. That would be a very aggressive timeframe considering the virus right now, having people sign petitions and things like that,” he said. “I’m gonna say within a year, I don’t see why it couldn’t be done within a year.”
There are currently five coterminous, consolidated or party consolidated town-villages in New York: Mount Kisco, Harrison, Scarsdale, Green Island and East Rochester.