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Shared service talks seem to slow down again

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 October 2014 at 12:00 am

MEDINA – Village officials were scheduled to meet with the towns of Ridgeway and Shelby last week for continued shared service talks.

The meeting set for Oct. 6 was cancelled. Ridgeway Town Supervisor Brian Napoli sent an email to reporters today trying to clear up misunderstanding about why the meeting was cancelled. Napoli said leaders from all three municipalities agreed to cancel the meeting “because Medina asked for additional time to prepare.”

But Medina Mayor Andrew Meier disagreed with Napoli’s assessment. Meier said the village isn’t dragging out the process.

The two towns were supposed to crunch numbers for the costs of taking over plowing and highway work within the village. The towns were to have numbers ready for a Sept. 2 meeting. Shelby Town Supervisor Skip Draper presented a proposal that would save villagers in Shelby $2.46 per $1,000 of assessed property in their tax rate, while other Shelby residents (outside the village) would see a tax increase of 45 cents per $1,000.

“If there is a message here it’s that this is very doable,” Draper said on Sept. 2.

Meier didn’t think those numbers were completely accurate because they didn’t include costs for salt and gasoline.

Napoli didn’t have a proposal at that meeting, but sent one about two weeks later. Meier said both proposals have been lacking in detail. The towns have also asked for more information from the village.

Meier said he is hopeful there can be serious talks among the three municipalities.

“We do have things we can work on, but it seems like we’re stalling out again,” he said.

The three municipalities met regularly in 2012 but those meetings were shelved. The village supported a dissolution study and that plan has the village dissolving with its services passed to the town towns, a local development corporation and an authority.

The two towns have questioned the accuracy of the dissolution data, and doubt if there would be significant savings with dissolution.

The dissolution plan identifies $277,000 in savings spread over three budgets that total about $11 million. That’s less than 3 percent and town officials said they only occur if everything went according to the plan perfectly.

The plan also identifies $541,000 in additional state aid as an incentive for dissolution, bringing the total benefit to the community of $818,000. The town leaders said the state aid may not be long-lasting

Village residents have the only vote on the issue if it goes to a public vote. The Village Board hasn’t set a referendum but a group of residents have been circulating petitions to force a vote on the issue.