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Emotions run high as final merger vote nears

By HILARY LANE

HERKIMER COUNTY, N.Y. (WKTV) - On Thursday, Herkimer County residents will decide on a final referendum to merge the Ilion, Mohawk, and Herkimer school districts.

Over the past 22 months, there have been studies, meetings, discussions, and votes cast for the proposal.

Some residents we spoke with tell us that they can't remember a time where there has been this much passion surrounding a local issue.

"This is probably the most important vote people will vote on in this town," said Jason Richard, who is opposed to the merger. "The president, a senatorial election, those are important, but this vote will make an impact on the lives of every resident."

From spending hundreds of dollars on television, newspaper, and radio ads, putting up yard signs, and forming grassroots movements that have been rallying and going door-to-door, emotions are running high and it's clear people are willing to spend their time and money to express their views.

Also, in this new age of digital media, online avenues like "Facebook" have allowed both "pro" and "con" groups to reach more people than ever before, organize events, discuss issues, and share their opinions with the community.

At the end of the day, other residents tell us they simply want to make sure people take an active role in this unprecedented event.

"We are looking for people to come out and cast their ballot," said Dale Miller who is a proponent of the merger. "Regardless of which way it goes, I'll live with that. I hope they will too. We just want people to have the opportunity."

The final vote will be held Thursday from Noon to 8 p.m. and residents vote in their own school district.

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