County addresses Dover dissolution

Jonathan Wright - [email protected]
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DOVER — Mason County Judge-Executive Judge Pfeffer, County Attorney John Estill and Maysville-Mason County Planning and Zoning Commissioner George Larger met with the residents of Dover, Monday to answer questions regarding the possibility of the town becoming unincorporated after the November election.

One of the first questions asked of county officials was who will be able to vote for the dissolution. A longtime resident wondered if landowners would be the only ones eligible to vote or if tenants would be eligible.

“Everybody that has properly registered, either party, independent can vote in this and this is not going to be limited by property owners or renters,” Estill said.

Estill urged residents to meet with the county clerk to determine whether or not they are registered to vote on the issue and to make claim to be eligible to vote if their residence may seem to be outside of Dover’s city limits.

A question about how Dover’s roads will be taken care of by the county was also brought up. Many of Dover’s roads, according to the residents’ remarks, are either reduced to gravel or mud in some cases.

“I’m not sure all of your roads will be adopted in; some of the alleys grown up with grass may not qualify to come into the county road inventory,” Pfeffer said.

Estill said the county would assess Dover’s roads based on several criteria, ranging on the number of residents the road services to roads titled to Dover’s existing road system.

Bruce Eder, mayor of Dover, asked the county officials about one of the major points of contention regarding the small town and a piece of the area’s infrastructure residents wish to cling to: the town’s streetlights, and whether the county would be able to maintain them.

The short answer Pfeffer gave to Dover residents was that the county lacks the funds to light every area of Mason County, and the town may go dark.

“The street lights have been an issue throughout the county,” Pfeffer said. “I can tell you of another unincorporated area that had a problem paying for the street lights, and that would be Sardis. May’s Lick had issue with their street funds, even though they’re not incorporated.”

Pfeffer told the residents the purpose of his, Estill’s and Larger’s appearance for the meeting is to address concerns after a possible dissolution of Dover, and not to persuade residents to choose one way or another.

“We didn’t want expectations to be something we could not come through with,” Pfeffer said. “There is such a thing as reality, and that’s what we’re here about.”

A general understanding Dover residents were gleaning from county officials is that not much will change for the town, should a majority vote to dissolve Dover occur, thus removing the city commission and giving way for the county to take over.

“Basically, guys, we don’t need to shut the city down,” Eder said. “We’re getting stuff done, we’re getting things worked on, it’s a process but we’re getting there.”

Should Dover unincorporate, the change would virtually be irreversible, as it would require 300 residents to want to re-incorporate a town. According to Eder’s latest count, about 250 people currently reside in Dover.

Before the meeting concluded, county officials expressed their intent to have a fair election for this issue in November; and whatever the outcome, the county will do what it can to assist the city of Dover.

After the meeting, Eder said he believes the exchange between residents and county officials was a positive one, and much of the uncertainty was lifted from the situation

“I believe it cleared up a lot of issues and a lot of questions, that way people will know what will happen,” Eder said “I was hoping for more people to show up, but since a lot of the elderly people were here, they will let other people know and then hopefully on the (Nov. 6) things will be voted in our direction and we can keep the city open.”

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Jonathan Wright

[email protected]