Residents turned out to cast their vote Tuesday at the Richfield Town Hall on whether the village should dissolve.
The issue was put to referendum after former Otsego County legislator Alexander Shields received 100 signatures on a petition in July to have the village dissolved and its services handled by the town of Richfield.
Voters were asked, “Shall the Village of Richfield Springs be dissolved?,” and to mark either “yes” or “no.” Voters then deposited their vote into a locked ballot box.
Only village residents were allowed to vote.
Polls opened at noon at the Richfield Town Hall. Several people stood in line at a time to cast their vote. Within the first hour and 15 minutes of polls being opened, 92 of the 636 qualified voters had cast their ballot.
“I’d say that’s a pretty good turnout,” said Ann Owens, an election inspector working at the town hall on Tuesday.
Polls closed after deadline at 9 p.m. Results will be printed in Thursday’s edition.
Absentee ballots also had to be mailed into the village clerk by 9 p.m. Tuesday in order for them to be counted.
The issue has been brought up by Shields in the past, including the mid-1980s when he was named chairman of a committee to study the issue. Shields has said there are duplicated services between the village and the town that could potentially save money for residents.
Richfield Springs Mayor Ronald Frohne II has disputed the numbers Shields has advertised and has vocalized his own opposition to the referendum, saying currently the village provides many services the town does not, including fire, library, water and sewer.
Several of the voters who turned out early Tuesday said they were also against the referendum.
“I voted no,” said Wendy Urtz-Chapman, a lifelong village resident. “For one thing, our village has a lot of history. I feel this vote was rushed into and we’re opening a can of worms.”
Urtz-Chapman also said, “I feel like this is completely unnecessary.”
“I voted no because I read up on all this stuff and it just doesn’t add up,” said Ruth Redjives, who said she’s been a village resident for more than 60 years.
Joyce Kinsey, 74, and husband, Dale Kinsey, both said they voted “no” also.
“I like things left the way they are. I’m tired of these people coming in trying to change things,” said Joyce Kinsey, who said she’s also a lifelong resident.
“They didn’t give enough information,” said Dale Kinsey. “If there was more information, it might change my mind.”
Page 2 of 2 - Frohne said if the referendum fails, it cannot be bought up again for another four years.