Judge allows Baldwin referendum

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A Nassau County Supreme Court judge has denied a North Baldwin resident's request to block a referendum that could dissolve a sanitation district.

The resident, Patricia Cabram, filed a lawsuit asking Judge Michele Woodard to shelve an effort that is to decide the fate of Baldwin-based Sanitary District 2.

The proposed dissolution -- supported by a group of residents who petitioned for the referendum -- would be the largest such action in New York under a state law enacted in 2009.


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Cabram's suit suggested that Hempstead Town Clerk Mark Bonilla, who certified the petitions, "does not have the power to ensure that every individual who signed the petition was an elector" who lived in the district.

With Woodard ruling against the request, the Sanitary District 2 board of commissioners is expected to set a referendum date on Friday. The referendum must take place in 60 to 90 days, per state law.

Laura Mallay, executive director of Residents for Efficient Special Districts, which is campaigning for dissolution, described Woodard's ruling as a victory for voters.

"At the end of the day, democracy," she said. "If the residents don't want it, they'll vote it down."

Attempts to reach Cabram -- and her attorney Louis D. Stober of Garden City -- were unsuccessful.

Cabram's case named Bonilla, Hempstead Town, Nassau County and its board of elections and the sanitary district as respondents. The case is due back in court in Mineola on Sept. 18.

Petitioners against Sanitary District 2 say its tax bills -- which average more than $500 per year, per home -- are twice as high as they would be if the service were provided by Hempstead Town. The district serves Baldwin, Roosevelt, South Hempstead and parts of other communities.

Hempstead would be willing to take over garbage service in the communities "if it becomes apparent that that is the will of the people," said Mike Deery, a town spokesman. He declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Residents for Efficient Special Districts are due in Mineola court Sept. 19 in an another lawsuit against the district. The group says the district illegally campaigned against dissolution -- a charge district officials deny.

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