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Seneca Falls town supervisor will share how community dissolved village

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 January 2015 at 12:00 am

Village, about same size as Medina, dissolved after 2011

MEDINA – On March 16, 2010, the Village of Seneca Falls made history. In a narrow vote, village residents approved the largest village dissolution in New York.

Seneca Falls had 6,681 village residents in 2010, according to the Census. That is just a little bigger than the Village of Medina, which has 6,065 residents.

Dissolution barely passed in Seneca Falls with a 1,198-1,112 vote. Dissolution took effect on Dec. 31, 2011.

Don Earle, Seneca Falls town supervisor, will be in Medina on Jan. 16 to share his community’s experience with dissolution, discussing impacts on taxes and services, and the community’s reaction to the changes.

He will be at Medina Theatre on Jan. 16 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. He will be joined by Don Colquhoun, chairman of the Medina Dissolution Committee; and Dean Bellack, one of the leaders of One Medina, which favors the village dissolution.

“It’s very important to hear from someone who has done a successful dissolution,” Bellack said. “We want to show people the end result.”

Earle’s presentation will be from 5:30 to 6:30 with a reception to follow for residents to meet Earle and the other presenters.

Medina village residents will vote on the issue on Jan. 20 from noon to 9 p.m. at the Senior Center.

The town leaders in Shelby and Ridgeway have bitterly opposed dissolution since a plan was approved last April by the Dissolution Committee. That plan, which keeps existing village services, doesn’t need to be followed by the towns if dissolution is approved.

Village DPW, police and firefighters all have stepped up efforts in recent weeks to oppose dissolution.

“A lot of people are focused on fear,” Bellack said. “The town supervisor from Seneca Falls understands the issue and the transition. He can help people understand how it can look in the future.”

One Medina wants to dissolve the village, and then work towards a consolidation of the towns of Shelby and Ridgeway. The town leaders say they aren’t interested in a consolidation between Ridgeway and Shelby, but Bellack said a merger would make sense in the future.

“I believe in my heart people will embrace dissolution,” Bellack said. “Ultimately one government rather than three is a better business model for forever. Dissolution is the first step and it’s the hardest.”

The Shelby and Ridgeway town officials also are having a joint public forum on Jan. 14 at 7 p.m. That meeting will be at the Medina High School Auditorium, and town officials will urge village residents to oppose dissolution.