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Ridgeway and Shelby say village dissolution process has been flawed

Posted 14 April 2014 at 12:00 am

Press release, Towns of Ridgeway and Shelby

Editor’s note: This is the full press release put out by the towns and their PR consultant, Mindful Media Group, in response to the dissolution plan for the village of Medina.

MEDINA – More than eight weeks have passed since the towns of Ridgeway and Shelby joined together in a combined effort to provide their residents with clarity on the topic of the proposed dissolution of the Village of Medina.

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. 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.

The mayor has publicly criticized the towns for not cooperating. Neither town has been invited to participate in the Dissolution Committee.  They were not invited to the most recent press conferences announced by the mayor, nor were they provided any documentation on the proceedings by the mayor’s office.

A Ridgeway board member volunteered to serve on the Dissolution Committee and was rejected by the mayor, who solely handpicked each member of the committee.  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.

While it is accurate that officials from the towns of Ridgeway and Shelby were in shared services talks with the Village of Medina (2012-2013), it is untrue that the towns refused to collaborate with the mayor. Talks broke down by September 2013, after June’s Shared Services meeting, when it became apparent that Mayor Meier was only interested in having the towns share in the tax burden, rather than mapping out an efficient shared services merger.

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 towns have been proactive on the matter. In December ’13 and March ’14, letters were sent to area residents about the proposed dissolution plan. In March, a 24-hour Cares & Concerns line (716-507-8533), website (www.2Towns4ThePeople.com) and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/DissolutionFacts) were launched. The goal of both towns is to present additional data and factual information obtained, bringing to the forefront the true nature of the issues that will impact the community.

The Towns of Ridgeway and Shelby have done what they set out to do eight weeks ago; effect a change in the way the mayor manages the information and communicates on the topic of dissolution. Ridgeway and Shelby’s commitment to their residents will not stop there.

Only after both towns launched public campaigns to better inform residents did the mayor call a press conference (April 10). While the mayor’s newly-established OneMedina.com website is devoid of content, Ridgeway and Shelby’s website www.2Towns4ThePeople.com has been operational for months and full of data, links and comprehensive information on the proposed dissolution plan.

The towns were also successful in obtaining and posting the Dissolution Committee’s Approved Minutes from 2013, which were not made available to the public prior to their efforts.

The 24-hour Cares & Concerns line, Facebook page and website have been utilized by over 1,909 residents to date. Both towns wish to encourage everyone to learn more about the issues.

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.

Visit the website (www.2Towns4ThePeople.com) and Facebook page for daily contributions from the towns of Ridgeway and Shelby on the topic of dissolution.