Lowville board votes to abolish village justice

LOWVILLE — After a public hearing with no opponents, the measure to abolish the village justice was voted into local law Aug. 18 by the board.

One of the two residents who participated in the hearing questioned Mayor Joseph Beagle about why the action should be taken.

“I don’t like the idea the court has lost us money for the last three years,” Mayor Joseph Beagle said, telling the same questioner that rolling village court cases into the town court and no longer having a village court will save village residents about $58,000 to $60,000 annually.

The village will retain its police department and revenue splits for tickets issued in the village, and the town will continue to be split in the same way.

Mr. Beagle has stated that the new online speeding ticket payment system implemented by the county, which does not provide revenue for the village even if the tickets are issued by village police to appear in village court, has caused court revenue to drop so that it doesn’t pay for itself.

Village residents who would like villagers to make the ultimate decision to pass or put down the abolition of the justice can collect 74 signatures of registered voters who reside in the village on a petition to be filed with the village clerk no later than Sept. 20.

According to state village law governing permissive referendums, petitions must have signatures “equal to at least 20% of such electors in the village, as shown on the register of electors for the previous general village election.”

In the 2020 village general election, 368 people voted out of a total of 2,071 registered voters in the village, according to the county Board of Elections.

If the local law stands, the justice position will end on March 31 and all legal cases in the village will be heard by the Town Justice going forward.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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