Lyons Village Town Board – July 25, 2012
A SPECIAL MEETING OF THE VILLAGE OF LYONS BOARD OF TRUSTEES HELD ON WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012, AT 10:30 A.M. AT THE VILLAGE HALL, 76 WILLIAM STREET, LYONS, NEW YORK.
Mayor Kleisle introduced and welcomed everyone in attendance.
An open discussion took place regarding the dissolution of the Village of Seneca Falls. Mayor Kleisle opened the discussion by asking Ms. Smith what she would have done differently. Ms. Smith stated she would have communicated more strongly to show the value of Local Government, what is being worked on, and the services the Village provides are valuable.
Ms. Sowards stated this is an educational process; informational workshops need to be held for the public to understand everything that is being considered. Once the dissolution happens, everyone is at the mercy of the Town Board.
Some things that happened in Seneca Falls:
• Sewer rates went up 268%
• Town tax payers paid 0%; town tax increased 500%
• Residents now have to pay for trash pick up
• The Town Board can decide at any time to eliminate the Police Department
• Tax rate reflects over $500,000 in state aid annually, which may or may not continue; it’s based on state financing
• The Town of Seneca Falls acquired over $2,000,000 in assets; left the debt to the Village residents
• Village residents pay a debt service district fee included in their tax rate
• Cost of the study was $50,000, with an additional cost of $626,000 to have property appraised, employee benefits, PILOTS, easements, and contracts reviewed. All that became part of the debt service for the Village residents
• Village Labor contracts are not honored by the Town, and they are under no obligation to hire Village employees
It is important that residents recognize that water and sewer funds are self-supporting and not part of the impact on taxes.
Village Attorney, Arthur Williams, questioned the retiree’s medical benefits. In Seneca Falls, the retirees did slide over as debt service. This is a determination of the Town Board. They do not have to honor this.
Ms. Smith also commented the Town of Seneca Falls receives $3,000,000 a year from the landfill, which lowers the tax rate.
A key point, in every village dissolution, is getting the town to decide which services it will provide on a townwide basis once the village is dissolved, and then identifying those village services that will be eliminated or will be financed via special districts created to encompass just the boundaries of the former village. The town needs to take part and make these determinations to avoid confusion because once and if the village dissolves, it is the town that makes all of the decisions.
Mayor Kleisle thanked Ms. Smith and Ms. Sowards for coming to discuss their experience. She also thanked Ryan Colvin for allowing them to come to speak to us.
Meeting adjourned at 12:12 P.M.