Depew residents fight over village merger

Posted at 6:40 PM, Jan 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-11 18:40:43-05

Whether Depew should remain a village or merge into the towns of Lancaster and Cheektowaga is quickly becoming the most controversial issue in the village's 123 years of existing.

A group known as Depew Dissolution is pushing for the village to merge. Supporters say it would cut taxes and pull the village out of debt.

"We have some of the highest property taxes in Western New York. Our growth is generally stagnant. Our infrastructure and our buildings are continuing to age," Supporter, Irvine Reinig said.

Those who are saying no to the merger say they're concerned about how it would affect services like police, fire and snow removal.

"If a person is having a heart attack, a stroke, or they drowning, or there's a fire, or someone is breaking into your home? Do you want to wait an extra minute or two or maybe five minutes for someone to come and rescue you?" Non-upporter of the merger, Mary Curr said.

Curr is also concerned about the jobs of Depew's 129 volunteer firefighters, 29 police officers, and 22 public works employees.

"We don't feel that it's right. I think there has been a lot of misinformation. A lot of promises already made to people that they are going to save money. They are going to get the same service that they're receiving," Village of Depew Public Works Superintendent, Phillip Fleck said.

Depew voters will go to the polls on Tuesday, January 17th to vote yes or no on the merger referendum. If it passes, village board will make a dissolution plan. Those who are against it, will have 45 days to come up with a petition signed by at least 25 percent of the village voters.