Readers Write: No need to subject village govs to election participation minimums

The Island Now

The “Want Your Village gov.? Prove it” editorial you recently ran in all of your editions is totally off the mark.

It argues that contested elections and issues make for good government and, without a certain level of voter participation, villages should be consolidated or dissolved.

Low voter turnout is a national and local phenomenon with even hotly contested presidential elections bringing out about 50% of registered voters.

A Portland State University research study — Who Votes for Mayor — showed that voter turnout in recent mayoral elections in the 30 largest cities was less than 15 percent with some in single digits.

Villages are the government closest to the people and the most responsive form of government. They provide the essential services that residents need and desire.

Village mayors and trustees are neighbors, pay real property taxes and have a vested interest to provide the best and most cost-effective services and quality of life possible. There is little or no bureaucracy or levels of management, and most elected officials get paid nothing or a small stipend.

Most do not run with national political party affiliations and only care about local issues in connection with their villages. Board meetings are in the evening, close to the residents and open to the public.

Most issues, if not previously resolved, are freely discussed at those meetings and promptly dealt with.

Many people only want to live in a village — their village, and there is good reason most Nassau County villages are around 100 years old.

Most residents are very happy with their villages. And, as has been proven many times, in government and business, bigger often is not better.

Your comments on Gov. Cuomo’s efforts to consolidate and dissolve villages could be the subject of a letter longer than this.

Suffice it to say – There are not 10,500 local governments.

About half are town, not local-elected-official run, accounting mechanisms.

Before his promoted changes in the law a much, much greater percentage of proposed consolidations took place. There are major flaws in the changed law.

So, coming back to your proposition, getting people to vote is an issue.

However, poor voter turnout is not a reason to destroy the best, most responsive and most cost-effective government – our villages.

Ralph J. Kreitzman

Great Neck

The writer is the executive director of the Nassau County Village Officials Association and was mayor of the Village of Great Neck for eight years, president of both the NCVOA and the Great Neck Village Officials Association and a member of the executive board of the NYS Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials.

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