MEDINA – The elected boards of the Village of Medina and the Towns of Ridgeway and Shelby sat down for a joint meeting Monday for the first time in roughly a year. When the boards meet next Sept. 2, it is possible that they will be taking a look at a shared services proposal from the towns.
Monday’s meeting resulted in an agreement to have the village provide both towns with budget numbers for non-emergency services so that the towns could assess how to best take over duplicated services and in the process reduce the high village tax rate.
While there has been talk of dissolving the village, it has become clear that the towns’ preference is to focus only on shared services, Medina Mayor Andrew Meier said.
Ridgeway Supervisor Brian Napoli and Shelby Supervisor Merle Draper said dissolution is a village plan and consolidation would be done by the towns and not the village.
Meier expressed frustration at the towns’ reluctance to talk about the village’s dissolution plan on Monday. He noted how the towns have maintained various social media platforms to talk about dissolution from afar, and that it was insulting to the committee that worked on the plan to not discuss it in an open forum.
Napoli said he would not talk about dissolving the village because Ridgeway was not part of the plan’s process.
Shelby Trustee Steve Seitz suggested moving forward and leaving the past in the past. Draper echoed that, noting, “The elephant in the room is the village’s $16.45 tax rate. What can we do to lower it?”
Draper explained how village residents receive a heightened level of services, but roughly $6.30 of that tax rate comes from services the towns already provide in some way.
“We need to take a hard look at shared services and exhaust those talks,” Draper said. “There is potential to save now and that’s where we should start. If, down the road, we need to explore other areas, we should do that.”
Ridgeway Trustee Jeff Toussaint said it was in everyone’s best interest to analyze a full sharing of a service and to see that analysis through to its conclusion. That way, the best determination could be made as to how much of a help it could be in bringing down the village tax rate. Its other benefit, he said, would be to “show we can all work together.”
Draper said that his radical concept would see each town take over its share of entire duplicated departments, but he would need to go through the numbers first. When he asked for the budget and other associated numbers regarding those services, Meier said much of that work had already been done in both the consolidation study and in the most recent dissolution plan.