If Medina dissolves, towns say they won’t pick up police department

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 April 2014 at 12:00 am

Officials from Ridgeway, Shelby offer ways to reduce taxes

MEDINA – If the village of Medina dissolves, the two towns expected to pick up villages services don’t plan to continue the Medina Police Department.

The Orleans County Sheriff’s Department and State Police could assume the police work, town officials said Friday while meeting with some reporters.

The Medina Dissolution Committee recommended police protection be provided in a town-wide force that would cover Ridgeway and Shelby. Ridgeway would manage the police and contract with Shelby for the service, according to the Dissolution Plan.

The police department budget is about $1 million a year. Brian Napoli, the Ridgeway town supervisor, told The Daily News of Batavia he doesn’t support a town-wide force. The Sheriff’s Department and State Police could handle police calls in the community, he said.

“There’s a ripple effect if the village dissolves into the two towns, and people don’t see a need for another level of police protection,” he told The Daily News. “They’re happy with Sheriff’s Department and State Police. They don’t see a need to expand it, especially when they see a 46 percent tax increase.”

Napoli and Skip Draper, the Shelby town supervisor, held a press conference on Friday to discuss alternatives to dissolving the village. (Orleans Hub wasn’t invited to the press conference and is the target of a mailer from the two towns about “biased reporting.”)

The Daily News of Batavia reported on the press conference. For more, visit thedailynewsonline.org and search for “Medina dissolution: Supervisors say more options exist for services.”

The Medina Dissolution Committee last week approved a plan to be presented to the public and Village Board. The plan retains existing services and staff. The two towns would assume many of the services currently provided in the village. The Dissolution Committee also suggested creating a debt district for village debt, a fire district, and local development corporations or authorities for water and sewer.

The committee and its consultant, the Center for Governmental Research in Rochester, calculated a $277,000 savings in reduced operational costs. That isn’t much of a savings when spread over the budgets for the two towns and village, about $11 million total, the town supervisors told The Daily News.

That is less than a 3 percent savings.

“If we assume the $277,000 is correct, we’re on a pretty narrow margin, and we’re gambling on a pretty narrow margin that we’re going to save anything,” Draper told The Daily News.

The state provides incentives for dissolution or government consolidations. The Dissolution Committee and CGR say the state would give $540,000 in incentives annually, money that the state says can be counted on for years to come.

Napoli said told The Daily News he supports some shared services, such as code enforcement and merged water billing. Those services could be shared without a dissolution, he said.

The Committee’s report said village property owners could see their tax rates fall from $5 to $7 per $1,000 of assessed property, while outside village residents in Shelby would see an 81 cent increase in their tax rate and Ridgeway residents would have their rate go up $3.12.

Ridgeway’s rate would increase 46 percent. That is partly because the town portion outside the village currently has the lowest rate of the three governments: $6.71 per $1,000 of assessed property. That would go to $9.83 with the dissolution.

Village residents in Ridgeway would see their rate drop by $5.20 or 27 percent from $19.49 per $1,000 of assessed property to $14.30. In Shelby, village residents currently pay a $19.80 rate for village and town taxes. That would drop 34 percent to $13.10 or by $6.70 if the dissolution plan takes effect.

Shelby residents would see a 10 percent increase in their tax rate, according to the dissolution plan. Outside-village residents would see their rate go from $8.36 per $1,000 of assessed property to $9.17.

Medina Mayor Andrew Meier and the “One Medina” group ultimately would like to see the village dissolve and the two towns merge into one entity. That would provide more cost savings with government efficiency and attract more state incentives for consolidation.

Meier believes those gains in savings and state aid would likely offset the tax increases for outside-village residents with the dissolution.