‘One Medina’ sends residents a mailer about dissolution

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 August 2014 at 12:00 am

Says taxes for villagers too much to bear

Editor’s note: This article was updated after an earlier version incorrectly said residents outside the village in the town of Shelby would see an $18 tax increase with a village dissolution and town merger. Those residents would see taxes go down by $18 for an $80,000 property, according to One Medina.

MEDINA – The four-page newspaper arrived in the mail on Monday or Tuesday with the lead story proclaiming, “Medina suffers from too much government.” The story is accompanied by pictures of three grand mansions that are falling into disrepair after several years of vacancy.

Leaders of One Medina, a grass roots group pushing dissolution of the village and consolidation of the towns of Shelby and Ridgeway, want to see less government costs in the community.

“We need a much more efficient government if we’re ever going to thrive again,” according to the lead article without a byline. “We need One Medina – and we need it now, before it’s too late.”

Nathan Pace, an attorney in Medina, welcomes readers to the first edition. He is chairman of One Medina with David Barhite, a former village trustee. The newsletter states “triple taxation” is proving too much for villagers, resulting in falling property values, a dwindling population and “sky-high” taxes.

The “One Medina Register” was mailed to every address in Medina’s zip code, including residents outside the village in the towns of Shelby and Ridgeway. One Medina is privately funded without taxpayer dollars.

“We want to show people what One Medina is and what we’re about,” Barhite said in an interview. “We want to see it go to one government. It really makes sense.”

Pace was chairman of a Medina/Ridgeway/Shelby consolidation committee in 2011 that included town representatives. That group concluded a village dissolution and merger of the two towns was the best way to provide lower cost government services.

One Medina notes the town leaders previously embraced a merger, but have been working against the village dissolution, spending at least $6,000 for a public relations firm, attorney and accountant to discredit the plan.

Barhite writes an article about how villagers pay town taxes, but yet get little in return for that money. He urges village residents to vote for dissolution to reduce their taxes by about 30 percent.

The One Medina Register includes a reprinted article highlighting Seneca Falls experience with dissolution. The former Journal-Register in Medina interviewed Don Earle, town supervisor of Seneca Falls, and he said the community has had a good experience with dissolution, bringing down village taxes with a slight increase outside the village.

One Medina has quotes from mayors in Le Roy and Wilson, expressing their support for dissolution in their communities.

“My goal is to be the last mayor of Le Roy,” Gary Rogers of Le Roy tells The Daily News on June 5. “I think we should be proactive. I think this is the future – it’s how we save New York.”

One Medina has a tax calculator at its web site (click here) that determines the tax savings in the village or the increase outside the village. A village resident in Ridgeway with an $80,000 house would see taxes drop by $415 while a villager in Shelby would see a $536 savings.

Residents outside the village in Ridgeway with an $80,000 would have their taxes go up $249 with dissolution, while Shelby outside-village residents would see a $65 increase, according to One Medina.

If the two towns merged, villagers would see bigger savings while Ridgeway residents outside the village would have taxes go up $71 with an $80,000 assessment and Shelby outside-village resident would see an $18 decrease.

The last page of the newspaper from One Medina includes letters to the editor about dissolution that were published on the Orleans Hub, Journal-Register and The Daily News.

“We’re trying to get the facts out there,” Barhite said.

The two towns have been working against the village dissolution. However, last month the two Town Boards met with the Village Board to talk about shared services. The towns said they would look at non-emergency services in the village and see what could be picked up by the towns.

Barhite said shared service talk previously didn’t move forward, and he doubts it would bring significant savings to villagers. It might also result in a bigger tax increase to the outside-village residents than dissolution, Barhite said.

The One Medina supporters are committed to streamlining local government, he said.

“We are people who believe in less government,” he said.