Mastic Beach Village, incorporated six years ago this month and the youngest municipality in New York State, is one step closer to having a public vote on whether to disband.
Resident Bob Miller, who has taken the lead in a petition drive calling for a referendum to dissolve the village, on Tuesday morning presented Village Clerk Susan Alevas with more than 1,500 signatures asking for a vote.
If a referendum date is set, and the village disbanded, Mastic Beach would be first on Long Island in 25 years to dissolve since Pine Valley in the Town of Southampton.
“We made the right decision. There’s enough support out there. The village has spoken,” Miller said after handing over the signatures. “Let the village decide if they want to keep this place a village.”
More than 40 supporters of the village crowded around Village Hall as Miller made his way out. He was greeted by hecklers, most of whom held signs in support of keeping the village.
“Shame, shame, shame,” one village resident said to him.
“So disappointed,” said another.
Under state law, Alevas has 10 days to certify that the signatures are legitimate. If that happens, the village board has 30 days to set a date to have a referendum on whether to once again become a hamlet and return to Brookhaven Town.
Mayor Maura Spery, who hasn’t said whether or not she wants the village to unincorporate, was unavailable for comment.
Others on the village board expressed support for remaining a village.
“The only way to move the community forward is with a village,” trustee Anne Snyder said. “Going backward is never the answer.”
Village trustee Joseph Johnson said: “I’m here to save Mastic Beach. There’s a reason we became a village; to give up now is shortsighted and stupid.”
Village trustee Christopher Anderson, also in favor of maintaining the village, said he had heard rumors that the signatures on the petitions were signed under false pretenses.
“We became a village because we weren’t happy. And I don’t believe the majority of residents want to go back (to Brookhaven),” he said.
Others favoring the village held signs asking Spery to resign. Other signs read “Yes I support the village” and “Keep Mastic Beach Village Alive.”
Antoinette Pacella, a village supporter, said she moved to Mastic Beach from the Bronx five years ago.
“I want my kids to grow up in a good neighborhood. With the right leadership, this could be a great place to live,” Pacella, 35, said at Village Hall.