NY Towns Mull Secession From County Over COVID Tyranny

Rural revolt in Western New York

Image Credits: John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images.

Towns in Western New York are examining options for seceding from their county in an effort to escape draconian COVID restrictions and ‘big city’ political oppression, according to reports.

Officials from towns including Wales, Marilla, Grand Island, and Holland gathered last week to explore leaving Erie County, where Buffalo is the county seat, and joining neighboring Wyoming or Niagara counties.

“We feel like other communities, we’re not having an equal voice in what our needs are, which are going to be different than larger suburbs or urban areas,” said Marilla Supervisor Earl Gingerich Jr. 

“It’s come to the forefront due to these executive orders and the, we believe, heavy handed tactics of the county government from the county executive and his management team,” he elaborated.

Gingerich has reportedly battled frequently with Erie officials over mask mandates and other ‘public health’ measures.

Wales Supervisor Tim Howard, who formerly served as Erie County Sheriff, echoed Gingerich’s sentiments, saying the move would have support from many of his constituents.

“We’re definitely looking at it,” Howard said. “It’s certainly the right thing to do. I’ve had dozens of calls from Wales residents since we first announced, encouraging us to go ahead with it.”

“The fact that decisions are made with an urban or suburban mindset is certainly another one. And there are a lot of people who are still burning from the decision made last fall that did not allow the 12-year-old kids to hunt with their parents and grandparents, while the kids that they went to school with were doing that just because they lived on the other side of the county line.”

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz has attacked the proposal, claiming residents of departing towns would “face very large tax increases and loss of services from such ill-thought out action.”

The process would be a complicated one, but officials have expressed optimism about being able to execute if conditions appear favorable.

“Once we get the preliminary study done and it looks favorable, then we will move forward on the petition process,” Gingerich said.

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