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Ridgeway, Shelby hire PR firm

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 April 2014 at 12:00 am

Town officials decline to speak directly to the media

MEDINA – The towns of Shelby and Ridgeway have hired a public relations professional to connect with the media and release information from the towns’ perspective about a possible dissolution of the village of Medina.

Shelby and Ridgeway hired Andina Barone, owner of Mindful Medina Group. She also works with the Orleans Economic Development Agency to write press releases and contact members of the media.

She said officials from the two towns won’t be taking interview requests from the media right now, but will be releasing information in the upcoming weeks.

The Town Boards from Ridgeway and Shelby issued a joint statement, questioning why no one from one of their boards was on the Dissolution Committee. They also alleged poor fiscal management from village officials have led to the push to dissolve.

“Accurate data and detailed information on the potential tax impact to residents and efficient delivery of municipal services has not been forthcoming from Medina Mayor Andrew Meier’s office,” according to the press release. “Town officials believe the dissolution process is flawed. It is their position, and that of the respective board members, that the Mayor of Medina should first address his own lack of fiscal management in relation to the Village of Medina, before attempting to dissolve it.”

Meier and the Dissolution Committee see dissolving the village as a way to bring down a tax rate for village property owners that is the highest in the Finger Lakes region. That tax rate includes the village, town, county and school.

Dissolution would shave about $5 to $7 off the overall village rate that is about $54 per $1,000 of assessed property. The town leaders previously told the media they weren’t inclined to follow the dissolution plan. They haven’t said how they would provide services to village residents if the village dissolved. Village residents also live in either the towns of Shelby and Ridgeway and pay taxes to those municipalities.

The Dissolution Committee includes Meier, Village Trustee Mark Irwin, retired Arc of Orleans Director Don Colquhoun, Medina Business Association President and downtown business owner Cindy Robinson, Charlie Slack of Slack Insurance and Thurston Dale, a retired veterinarian.

“It is a travesty that Ridgeway and Shelby town board members were not included in a dissolution plan or public announcements that might greatly impact both towns,” according to the press release from the two Town Boards.

“Town board members and residents of Shelby and Ridgeway have become increasingly frustrated by the lack of information available to the public and the manner in which the mayor chooses to conduct meetings.

“Dissolution Committee meetings are held at 8 a.m. in City Hall (600 Main Street) in the upper level of the old court room, which is not handicapped accessible. There are no questions allowed. Both town supervisors are of the opinion the mayor’s choice of time, location and format was strategic, so as to limit the number of residents able to observe the proceedings and gather information.

“Both supervisors and all town board members of Ridgeway and Shelby will remain steadfast in their efforts to communicate the facts about dissolution to the community and serve residents in a manner worthy of their trust and confidence.”

The two towns have a Facebook page about “Dissolution Facts” and also have launched a web site: 2towns4ThePeople.com.

Meier and local attorney Nathan Pace on Thursday announced a push for “One Medina” that would dissolve the village and merge the two towns into one municipality: The Town of Medina.