Find us on Facebook

Shelby, Ridgeway officials provide scenarios to Medina dissolution

Posted 26 December 2013 at 12:00 am

Prepared by the Town Boards of Ridgeway and Shelby

(Editor’s Note: Brian Napoli is Ridgeway town supervisor and Skip Draper is Shelby town supervisor.)

MEDINA – In an effort to dispel rumors, misunderstandings, and misconceptions concerning the possible dissolution of the Village of Medina, the following article is offered by the Town Boards of Ridgeway and Shelby to provide effected residents with factual information.

There are many issues that must be taken into account should the village dissolve. Many of them will be guided by state law. Should anyone have questions and wish to verify any of this information, they may contact the New York Department of State, New York State Attorney General’s Office, and the Office of the New York State Comptroller. They are the main sources of information and answers for questions.

The decision of whether or not to dissolve is a matter for village residents. Should this issue be brought to a referendum, only the village residents are allowed to vote. Ridgeway and Shelby residents living outside the village are not eligible. Should the village residents decide not to dissolve, this issue may not be brought up again for at least four years.

Should the voters decide to dissolve the Village of Medina, the boards of the towns of Ridgeway and Shelby have 18 months to decide what additional resources are needed to provide town services.

Also, decisions would be made regarding separation of village assets, as well as absorbing them into the respective towns. The Village Board must submit a dissolution plan to the towns. However, the towns are under no obligation to follow it.

Below is an explanation of how different departments and services will be affected should the village decide to dissolve.

Police Department – If the village dissolves, there would no longer be a Police Department. Also, any contracts dealing with the department would be dissolved along with any collective bargaining unit. The reason for this is that, according to the Attorney General’s Office, there are no longer two parties to the contract.

If the residents wish to keep the Police Department, a solution for this would be to establish a Special Police District in what was the former village. This would be paid for by the residents of the former village as a separate tax levy.  Another solution would be to ask the Sheriff’s Department to expand and establish a sub-station in the former village.

Fire Department – Because the Fire Department serves only the village, it will not be taken over by the towns. Also, any contracts for services, such as union contracts, are voided and the union bargaining unit is dissolved. The reason for this is because if the village dissolves there are no longer two parties to the contract.

Should village residents wish to keep the Fire Department, a Special Fire District must be established, much like in the towns. Also, to pay for and support this service, only residents of the former village will be charged for it as a separate tax levy.

Ambulance Service – The towns would have to determine how to provide this service. This service could remain a part of the current fire department or a separate ambulance corporation could be established.

Water/Sewer Service – This is a difficult area and one in which even the State does not know how to answer. The reason is that when the dissolution law was passed, it never foresaw a situation where a village straddles two towns. As an example, how do you divide water and sewer infrastructure? How do you divide assets (trucks, equipment)?

Again, in order to do this, a Special District would have to be established and only residents of the former village will be charged maintenance and support. Any contracts, such as union contracts, will be dissolved as there are no longer two parties to the contract.

Another possible solution for this would be to establish a Water/Sewer Authority for the former village. However, according to the Attorney General and Comptroller’s offices, special legislation would be necessary from the State. Historically, this option would take a long time and have very little chance of succeeding.

Public Works & Village Administration – These departments would dissolve with the village. The town boards would have to determine how to provide any services necessary to residents.

Debt – This is a question that was raised when dissolution was first discussed and continues to be asked. What happens to any village debt should the village dissolve?

According to the New York State Attorney General’s Office, all debt created by the village, stays with the village. What this means is any and all debt created by the village will stay in the former village and will be paid by the former village residents. It will not be dispersed throughout the towns. This will be calculated and billed to former village residents as a separate tax levy.

New York State’s Role in this Process – New York created the process by which municipalities can dissolve, however, the final decision is up to the municipalities’ residents.

A Question Continuously Asked – Where do we go from here? The answer: stay informed, ask questions, attend meetings AND, if this comes to a referendum and you are eligible to vote – PLEASE VOTE!!!

Lastly, we value your questions and welcome your comments. You may contact your Town/Village representatives as follows:

Town of Ridgeway – meets the 3rd Monday at 7p.m. at the Ridgeway Town Hall, 410 West Ave, Medina (Phone 585-798-0730)

Town of Shelby – meets the 2nd Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Shelby Town Hall, 4062 Salt Rd, Medina (Phone 585-798-3120)

Village of Medina – meets the 2nd & 4th Mondays at 7 p.m. at the Shelby Town Hall, 4062 Salt Works Rd. Medina (Phone 585-798-0710)