Mastic Beach Votes to Dissolve, Making it Third-Shortest-Lived Village in NY

Mastic Beach

Mastic Beach village residents voted Wednesday to dissolve their fledgling municipality just six years after it was incorporated—making it the third-shortest-lived village in recent New York State history, records show.

By a vote of 1,922 to 1,215, critics abolished the village by a 707-vote margin after petitioning for a referendum asking the tiny municipality’s residents to decide whether it should be dissolved. Now, village trustees have 180 days to devise a dissolution plan, with local services eventually being returned to the Town of Brookhaven.

“I personally thought that we were finally straightening things out financially,” Mastic Beach Village Trustee told WRCN-FM, noting that village property taxes were expected to rise next year due to fiscal troubles. “Perhaps the public thought that it was too little too late.”

It’s not alone in its fate. Eighteen villages in the state dissolved since 2003, and 58 have voted to do the same since 1900, records show. The upstate villages of Salem, Hermon and Forestville are dissolving this year. Macedon, Port Henry and Herrings are scheduled to follow on March 31, 2017.

The Village of Pine Valley ranks as the youngest village statewide to ever be dissolved, according to state records dating back 76 years. Pine Valley was formed in 1988 and absorbed back into the Town of Southampton two years later. New York’s second-shortest-lived village was Amchir, which lasted four years.

Out of the 32 villages to incorporate statewide since 1940, Mastic Beach, on the South Shore of Suffolk County, is the most recent to come into existence. Village proponents concerned about the quality of town services in the community had voted in a referendum to incorporate Mastic Beach in 2010. Ironically, that was the same year that the state passed a law encouraging local government consolidation.

The 4.5-square-mile village overlooking Moriches Bay and the eastern tip of Fire Island was responsible for the maintenance of 88 miles of roads, six miles of waterfront, a marina and hundreds of storm drains, officials said. Home to more than 12,000 residents, it has 5,400 homes with nearly 2,000 of them estimated to be rentals. About 50 village employees are expected to be laid off as a result of the dissolution.

The dissolution of Mastic Beach leaves 95 villages on Long Island. The second youngest is the Village of Sagaponack on the South Fork. Formed in 2005, it has a population of less than 600.

Besides Sagaponack, the youngest villages still in existence on LI include: West Hampton Dunes, which formed in 1993; Islandia, which formed in 1985; Lake Grove, which formed in 1968; Port Jefferson, which formed in 1963; and Atlantic Beach, which formed in 1962.

Out of the 58 villages statewide that have voted to dissolve themselves in the past 116 years, 16—or 27 percent—have done so since 2010, when the state passed a law making it easier for citizens to petition for local government consolidation.

The first two special districts in the state to merge under that law were fire districts in Lonelyville and Fair Harbor, two seasonal communities on Fire Island, the Press has reported.