Shelby sees tax savings for village if town takes over Medina highway work

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 September 2014 at 12:00 am

SHELBY – Town Supervisor Skip Draper sees tax savings for village residents if the Town of Shelby assumes plowing and street maintenance duties from the village.

Draper presented his numbers this evening during a joint session between elected boards for Shelby, Ridgeway and the Village of Medina.

Draper believes villagers could see their tax rate drop by $2.46 per $1,000 of assessed property for those in Shelby, while other Shelby residents 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 after the meeting.

The village currently has five personnel dedicated to street maintenance and plowing. The village has about 50 miles of streets and 30 percent are in the town of Shelby and 70 percent in Ridgeway.

Draper, after talking with Shelby Town Highway Superintendent Mike Fuller, said the Shelby portion of village streets could be handled with an additional full-time worker throughout the year and a part-time seasonal employee for the winter.

Those two workers would cost about $90,000 for salary and benefits. The town would also have to add a 6-wheel dump truck with a plow and add a plow to an existing 1-ton pickup. Draper said that estimated $172,689 cost could be bonded over 10 years at a cost of about $18,000 annually.

The town would see $108,676 in added expense, but that would be reduced to $94,636 due to $14,040 in state highway revenue for plowing and sanding inside the village. Every $15,000 represents about 7 cents on the tax rate in Shelby. The $94,636 would raise Shelby’s overall tax rate by 45 cents.

Medina Mayor Andrew Meier thought Draper budgeted too low by not accounting for road salt and other expenses. Draper said he didn’t include Christmas lights, banners, trees and watering.

“Those numbers don’t seem very believable,” Meier said following the meeting. “We’re talking about taking over major services in the village.”

Ridgeway Town Supervisor Brian Napoli didn’t have a comparable proposal prepared but he said it stands to reason Ridgeway would have to add two full-time workers and seasonal staff given the workload would be about twice as much for Ridgeway compared to Shelby.

If Ridgeway adds two and Shelby one that would be a net reduction of two full-time workers from the current village personnel assigned to the work.

A highway consultant, Tom Lowe, looked at the needed manpower for the two towns in a recent study. If Shelby and Ridgeway assume village highway work, Lowe suggested five workers for the two towns to do village roads, Meier said.

The three boards set Oct. 6 for the next meeting to discuss the issue. Meier said it will likely take hundreds of hours of work to fully analyze the issue and prepare a takeover for the towns to handle village highway work. But first the towns need to be specific about what they’re proposing to take over, Meier said.

Draper would like to see the towns work at taking over all non-emergency services from the village. That would bring down the taxes in the village and eliminate duplication of services between the village and the two towns.

He would like to see an agreement in place before the village budget is approved by May 1, 2015. He thinks the towns could be plowing village streets in the following winter.

Meier favors a dissolution plan that he said spells out in great detail how some village services, including plowing and street maintenance, should be taken over by the towns. Some village residents are circulating petitions to bring dissolution to a public referendum.