For those grousing that Kevin Gaughan's push to downsize town councils from five to three members is small potatoes, consider this:
With his consolidation move gaining traction with successful downsizing referendums in the towns of West Seneca, Evans, Orchard Park and Alden, Gaughan said he's going to launch a grassroots effort next year to start dissolving villages.
In an e-mail he sent me Tuesday, Gaughan said:
Beyond town downsizing, I've made no secret that my end goal is to dissolve all 16 village governments. You may recall that I first proposed this in July 2008, eliciting the blowback from a gaggle of village mayors and some Albany lobbyist they flew in.
One of the purposes of my spending hundreds of hours in conversation with folks in towns that include villages (Angola in Evans; Orchard Park village in Orchard Park; Alden village in Alden; Williamsville in Amherst), is to build a coalition of support and volunteers for Phase II of my effort, the circulation of petitions to let people decide if they want village government to continue. I think I've made good progress in this regard.
My plan is to begin the first village petitioning in March of next year, forcing the first village dissolution vote in May of next year.
In a follow-up phone conversation on Tuesday, Gaughan told me he plans to start in Williamsville, in part because so many village residents there have signed up as volunteers on his Web site.
"As it stands now, it will be Williamsville," he said. "It's going to be our West Seneca. It will be the first one to vote."