On the heels of Bill S5793B, “An act to amend the village law, in relation to the requirements for village incorporation,” introduced May 15 by New York State Sen. James Skoufis, a new bill has been introduced as of June 12 by New York State Sen. James Gaughran of New York’s 5th district.
The newest bill, targeting a village’s intent to incorporate, would freeze incorporations of any new villages in New York State from Jan. 1, 2019 to July 1, 2021 to allow for the New York Department of State to conduct a study to assess existing laws and regulations on the incorporation, merger and dissolution of towns and villages and to generate recommendations for improvements to the process. The bill also suspends the town supervisor’s authority to render a final determination on the legal sufficiency of any petition to incorporate. Skoufis is a co-sponsor of the new bill.
The bill, print numbered S6473 and named “An act to amend the village law, in relation to incorporation of villages; relating to directing a municipal re-organization study; and providing for the repeal of such provisions upon the expiration thereof” was in the Committee of Rules as of June 13, according to Georgina Parsons, the deputy press secretary for Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.
The study — which the bill would mandate — would be authorized and directed by the New York Department of State and focus on the causes and consequences of the incorporation, including how often the process to incorporate a municipality was initiated and the fiscal, economic, social and demographic conditions of the population of the municipalities where the process to incorporate was initiated.
The study would further examine the consequences of incorporation and its effect on property taxes, municipal revenue and delivery of public services to the residents.
The Department of State would then consult with the state comptrollers’ office, local officials, and town and village associations to make recommendations to amend existing laws regarding incorporation.
One year after the effective date of the bill, the Department of State would need to submit a report of the findings and recommendations to the governor, the speaker of the Assembly, the temporary president of the Senate, the chairs of the Senate Finance Committee and the Assembly local government committees.
Representatives from Sen. Stewart-Cousins and Sen. Gaughran’s offices did not respond to requests for comment by press time.