Dissolution offers chance for Medina to restructure government, build stronger community

Posted 14 January 2015 at 12:00 am


Medina is headed for crisis. With the highest tax rates in the region, a declining population, a shrinking tax base, boarded-up homes and rising costs, things cannot stay the way they are.

Unless we do something now, maintaining our current level of services is going to become more and more difficult, if not impossible, and our beautiful village is going to sink more and more into decline.

Dissolution offers a chance to modernize, streamline and move local government into the 21st century. Medina’s plan will reorganize local government from three layers to one, while reducing sky-high taxes that cripple our local economy.

The unfairness of our current tax structure is obvious and troubling . My town tax bill just came in the mail. This month, I’ll be sending a check for hundreds of dollars to a government that does virtually nothing for me. The two town governments take over $1,000,000 from me and 6,000 other village residents and spend it on services that we never see. We end up subsidizing over 30 percent of the town budgets. No wonder taxes outside the village are lower.

Our town leaders haven’t done a thing to help. The article in the Democrat and Chronicle on Sunday proved to me that they will sit comfortably on their hands for years – in some cases, decades – with the hopes that nothing will ever change.

It also proved that regardless of the vote outcome, we need new leaders to lay the groundwork for the future. I understand the concern of village employees. Our local firefighters, police officers and Department of Public Works employees do a great job. No one is denying that. However, benefit costs will continue to skyrocket, workers will want raises, equipment costs will mount, and all the while, residents will demand that roads be repaired and streets be plowed.

But with everything else shrinking, how long can we keep this up? Our multi-tiered, antiquated system of government must change. If we don’t change, budgets and services are going to have to be cut or taxes are going to have to be increased in an area that is already being choked by high taxes.

Dissolution opponents offer only fear of lost services, identity, and, absurdly, our local history as an alternative. It is very easy to get stuck in the past even if it is not the best choice. One of my favorite Beach Boys songs from the 60s is “Wouldn’t it be Nice.” Indeed it would.

A Medina with three hardware stores, three men’s and women’s clothing stores, a strong industrial base with foundries and furniture factories was really nice when we had it.

But we cannot run a government on nostalgia. We cannot remain in the past. We must change. Our school district has made difficult, sometimes contentious choices to reorganize and streamline their operations. Many organizations have.

But in almost every case, they emerge as stronger, more viable institutions equipped to face the future. It is time for our village to do the same.

Dissolution offers solutions. It is not an overnight process. It will take several years to implement and a great deal of work on the part of our local leaders. But it is the best hope for the future of the village and the towns.

Vote yes for a brighter future for Medina.

Ed Weider