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Idea of one Batavia gets more favorable airing in second consolidation meeting

By Howard B. Owens

Last night's consolidation meeting at Batavia High School wasn't much like the consolidation meeting earlier in the month.

Where the previous meeting was dominated by Town of Batavia residents who forcefully opposed even the suggestion of getting hitched to the city, last night there were many more reasoned voices, both from town and the city.

Outside of Ed O'Neil citing a straw poll that seemed to indicate widespread opposition to consolidation, the majority of speakers where either more interested in asking questions and at least entertaining the notion that consolidation might make sense.

If all you knew was the first meeting, you would feel assured that any consolidation vote in the town would go down in flames. If you listened fairly to last night's crowd, you might think, "well maybe this thing has got a chance."

Not, mind you, a strong chance, but a chance.

"We have a lot of different opinions here in this room tonight, a lot of different thoughts," said town resident Rick Gilmartin. "I think we can all agree on one thing -- it's that taxes are a burden in this state. If we can find a way to have less government instead of more, and if there are efficiencies to be gained by consolidation, then I think we need to look hard at that."

More than one person pointed out that for all the concern from town residents about city debt and expense becoming a burden for town residents (which shouldn't happen under the proposed tier system), the town is fairly dependent on the city for many services and facilities, such as the library, water, UMMC, GoArt, a good number of tax-exempt church properties and many businesses that town residents frequent.

There already is one Batavia. There just isn't necessarily just one government.

Here's a few audio highlights from the meeting:

Paul McCullough

I would hate to burst anyones bubble on what services are provided by the City of Batavia but...

the Library is part of the NIOGA / City School district - not the City of Batavia - it just happens to be in the city limits

UMMC is a hospial not a City of Batavia "department" - it is a independant non governmental organization - it just happens to be within the city limits

Water - isn't it run by the County / Monroe Water Auth? I thought the city got out of the water "business" and leases the plant to the county?

GoArt? - that is a artist / museum (very nice one too) but that is not part of the city - again it just happens to be IN the city limits.

Howard - please try again on what "true" city services the town uses

Jul 2, 2009, 8:50am Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Paul, if not for the city, there would be no place for UMMC, GoArt, the Library, etc., and these are services that depend on the city infrastructure and support (such as police and fire) Those are community services are used by town residents that are in the city. The truth is, we're hearing a lot from town residents like the city is of no nevermind to them, but their quality of life would decline greatly if the city completely fell apart. They depend on the city, too. And by city, I mean as much or more geographic boundaries, not just city government.

Jul 2, 2009, 8:58am Permalink
cj sruger

Paul is right, true these things came about because of the city, however just because people from out side the city use them, does not mean they depend on them, Look at your poll on the Library, for example. Either way this looks like a bad deal for the town.

Jul 2, 2009, 12:23pm Permalink
Dennis Edson

Howard, the infrastructure is very bad in the city.Even the trees planted on Ellicot are half dead.No homeowner would tolerate such a job but because it's our tax money people dont think it's real money.No one will hold the contractor accountable because of the cozy relationship between the city and the few businesses remaining.Batavia also can't afford to pay Police 6 figures to write tickets and speed up and down Porter Ave then act surly and arrogant to people they think are beneath them,which is almost everyone.

Jul 2, 2009, 1:47pm Permalink

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