Failed Villages

What you won’t read in village promoters’ glossy reports is that the overwhelming trend in New York State is to dissolve, not create, new villages. Why? Because many villages learned after the fact that they’d made a terrible mistake. In many cases, the benefits proponents promised incorporation would bring about—greater local control and better services, without raising taxes—not only did not materialize, but left village residents more divided than ever. 

The only New York State village that has been created in the last ten years—Mastic Beach-—dissolved itself six years later. As the New York Times reported, residents felt they’d been sold a bill of goods, as after being promised a budget of less than $600,000, the village of Mastic’s first budget was more that $3 million, resulting in a significant increase in taxes.

But now, after an experiment in municipal governance that spawned political infighting, fear of rising taxes and lagging services, residents have voted to abolish the village.

—New York Times

Located even closer to us is the example of the failed village of Pine Valley in Southampton. Created in 1987, it dissolved in 1990 because of the higher than promised taxes and claims of “tremendous ineptitude and mismanagement.”

In the end, it was higher taxes caused by the new village that upset Pine Valley’s working-class residents. But they also hated the way village trustees yelled and hit one another at meetings, and the way everything became a public embarrassment, as when one resident, Thomas Caulfield, circulated a petition to change Pine Valley’s name to ”Joke, Long Island.”

—New York Times

Wainscott residents should be aware that since 2010, 22 villages (including Mastic) dissolved and rejoined the towns from which they seceded. They did so in spite of New York’s fairly complicated and expensive dissolution process. 

Let’s not let Wainscott make the same mistake.