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Resident sees dissolution as best option for preserving services in Medina

Posted 16 January 2015 at 12:00 am

Editor:

I want to save Medina, so I’m voting to dissolve it. We’ve all seen figures like the 16 percent decline in village property values versus 4 percent out-of-village or how much per-thousand we will save or lose, but in the end, here are the objections I had to overcome in my own mind:

Do I want to raise my neighbors’ taxes in order to lower my own?

No. But I don’t want to continue subsidizing their water/sewer and emergency services, either. They get services I pay for. I pay for other services I don’t get at all. So, I feel for them, but I don’t feel sorry any more than they feel bad about my water bill. It’s no fun feeling like you’re giving someone else a free ride.

Do I want my history and sense of identity to go away?

No. But, then again, my sense of Medina is not tied to political fictions like “village” and “town.” What’s in a name anyway? If it was the Town of Medina with a district called Medina within it, I would still have been born and raised here, I would continue to live here and raise my kids here. I will still have Mustang Pride.

Do I want my emergency services to go away?

No. But we already pay double tax and there are ways to keep most if not all of our current level of public works and safety with cooperation. That last word being pretty hard to come by.

Do I believe the state incentives will last forever?

No. But they have been available for the past four years that we’ve spun our wheels thinking about it and missing out on. And if/when they decide to cut the program, the people who will be cut out first are those that aren’t currently taking advantage. In other words, the ship will have sailed at some point.

What about becoming a City?

No new charters have been issued since the ’40s. We are free to petition for a City charter, but the county will take a hit and the association of counties will lobby against it. Plus, from Albany’s point of view, they have solved this problem when they created the Local Government Efficiency Program and associated grants and incentives. I’m a populist at heart, but I know the tail rarely wags the dog.

Don’t I want the Towns and Village to cooperate on consolidation?

Yes. But they haven’t and likely won’t.

Aren’t I afraid the Towns won’t cooperate after dissolution?

I know they won’t. They haven’t to date, and have plainly stated they will not follow the plan. They had to be forced into the conversation like this, if only to fight it, you can bet they will get back out of it the second they can.

Which leads me to what made my ultimate decision. For three years I’ve heard about this possibility. For three years, it has devolved into a schoolyard slap fight.

One side has had a third party evaluate the feasibility, created a plan and invited others to participate. They did their homework. The other side hired a PR firm to shill for them.

They and this firm have deleted Facebook posts, banned users and sent fliers, written editorials and mailed postcards filled with fear, uncertainty and doubt. Full of lies like “there won’t be any more Ale in Autumn” that demonstrate either their willingness to say anything to protect the status quo or how out-of-touch they actually are with what goes on in the Village.

I’ve got a well made, laminated flier in front of me without a single “quote” from someone not on the Town payroll. It has become obvious whose best interests they represent. They have presented anti-dissolution rhetoric.

They’re against it. I get that. But what are they for? Nothing, apparently. No change to the status quo is entertained, no alternative plan is offered.

So, I will vote YES on the 20th. And I will vote YES on consolidation in the next phase. And if I don’t see some level of maturity, productivity and transparency from the Towns, I will be voting against incumbents come election time. If a vote of “no confidence” can be forced before the next election, I will vote for that.

If you disagree with me, don’t bother trying to change my mind. Call your town supervisor and try to change theirs. They work for us. Just remember: Any new idea will be faced with fierce opposition by people with too much at stake in the current regime.

Roots in the past, eyes on the future.

Jeremy Hogan
Medina resident, business owner and concerned citizen