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Village dissolution rejected in Williamsville and Sloan

Williamsville Mayor Mary Lowther and downsizing advocate Kevin Gaughan
Williamsville Mayor Mary Lowther and downsizing advocate Kevin Gaughan

By Mark Scott


Buffalo, NY – Village governments will remain in Williamsville and Sloan. WBFO's Mark Scott reports residents of both villages Tuesday voted overwhelmingly against proposals that would have eliminated their governments.

1,546 Williamsville residents voted against dissolving their village government, 309 voted for it. In Sloan, the vote was 1,031 to 236. Many of those who voted no, like Amy Measer of Williamsville, said they did so because there were so many unanswered questions about what would happen if there was no more village government.

"The unknown is what I didn't want to take a chance on," said Measer.

But downsizing advocate Kevin Gaughan rejected that argument. He said there is clear evidence in other communities elsewhere that town government keeps village services intact.

"To assert that there is anything unknowable about eliminating a village government is simply not true," said Gaughan. "Twenty-one villages in New York have dissolved over the past 30 years. In each case, taxes went down substantially and services remained the same."

Still, Gaughan took the blame for yesterday's overwhelming rejection of his dissolution proposals. He said he will review what he did and didn't do so that he can deliver a stronger message next time. Chris Duquin, a Williamsville resident who helped organize the opposition, was critical of Gaughan's approach.

"You can't come in to a community from the outside and try to divide it the way Mr. Gaughan did does not work," said Duquin.

Williamsville Mayor Mary Lowther said the one positive outcome of all this is that the dissolution campaign energized residents like no other issue ever has. She said she hopes to build on that to get more people involved in shaping Williamsville's future.