Should villages exist?

When the Delaware County village of Andes voted to dissolve itself in 2002, it was the only village in the state of New York to abolish itself in years.

But nowadays, thanks to high taxes and a new law (dubbed the Empowerment Act by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo), dissolution is all the rage among local municipalities. An in-depth article published in several of the Gannet newspapers on Sunday explores how Andes blazed the trail for municipal suicide

But in a time when voters are increasingly angry with elected leaders, as polls show, and are clamoring for less costly government, the dissolution movement is gaining steam. Between 1995 and 2009, only one village dissolved, the 1,300-person village of Andes in Delaware County ... Now six, including Seneca Falls, Seneca County, are slated to dissolve into their neighboring towns this year and in 2011 ... Advocates said the law puts the power back into the hands of residents rather than elected officials, who may cling to the patronage posts that local governments are often criticized for providing.

It helps that Cuomo has been pushing for the dissolution of redundant government bodies for years now, and has provided an easy-to-follow step-by-step guide for would-be village killers on his Reform New York website.

An especially fun feature: an interactive map showing exactly how many local governing bodies exist in each county. If you were wondering, Delaware County -- which has 19 towns -- has 109 local governments. Schoharie has 61; Greene has 113; Sullivan has 176, and Ulster tops the local list with a whopping 196 governing bodies covering bits and pieces of its 20 towns. Maybe Cuomo is onto something here.