New York rural towns weigh seceding from mostly urban and suburban county over COVID mandates

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Multiple towns in Erie County, New York are slowly exploring options to secede, saying the county is overly represented by Buffalo and does not reflect their interests. 

Marilla Town Supervisor Earl Gingerich Jr. told Fox News Digital on Sunday that the idea has been festering for years but gathered steam during the pandemic. 

Buffalo, New York Skyline

Buffalo, New York Skyline
(ag.ny.gov)

“Us in the rural areas feel like we don’t have equal representation through our country legislature and the county executive,” Gingerich said. “Our demographics are different than the urban and bigger suburbs.” 

Gingerich blamed Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz for pushing what he regarded as strict one-size-fits-all vaccine mandates that he argued have hurt businesses. 

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“A lot of our residents that we represent don’t like mandates because they feel that they don’t work or should be a choice,” Gingerich said. 

Wales, New York is a rural town in Erie County. 

Wales, New York is a rural town in Erie County. 
(Google Maps)

Fox News Digital has reached out to Poloncarz for comment but did not hear back before publication. Last week, he warned that communities leaving for other counties would lose sales tax and other shared revenue, according to The Buffalo News. 

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Marilla is a rural town of about 5,000 residents in Erie County. Last Wednesday, town representatives met with their counterparts from the towns of Wales, Holland, and Grand Island, among others, to discuss seceding from Erie County and joining neighboring Wyoming or Niagara Counties. 

An intersection in the small rural town of Marilla, New York. 

An intersection in the small rural town of Marilla, New York. 
(Google Maps)

Fox News has reached out to other city leaders considering the move. Councilman Don Butcher of Wales said any move had to be done with residents’ best interests in mind.  

Speaking in his own capacity, Butcher said the idea has “merit.”

“Right now, we are a rural town at the mercy of the tyranny of the majority of the urban center of the city of Buffalo,” Butcher said. “We have very little voice in what happens in Erie County.”  

The idea, however, is still in its infancy, and actually coming to fruition would require a dizzying route through public approval and bureaucratic red tape. 

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Gingerich told Fox News Digital that Marilla and neighboring towns will conduct a preliminary study to weigh the feasibility of seceding. 

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