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Consolidation, or new charter, city will need to decide which to put on November ballot

By Howard B. Owens

The City of Batavia's two-year effort to amend its charter is running head-on into any idea of consolidating the town and the city into a single government in the near future, according to John Roach, chairman of the Charter Review Commission.

Roach said this evening that City Attorney George Van Nest informed the commission that state law prohibits any other measure from being on the same ballot.

That means city officials will need to choose - new charter or push for consolidation.

"If we thought consolidation would pass, we would pull the charter," Roach said.

The Charter Commission's term expires, under state law, on election day. If there is no vote this November, then the city will need to appoint a new Charter Review Commission and the two-year process will start over.

Roach noted there are some issues in the revised charter that will not controversial, are critical. Among them the need to drop the requirement for the city to employee a City Engineer, a position that is currently vacant and is apparently no longer needed.  Also, under state law each member of the seven-member planning board should serve seven-year terms. The commission is recommending reducing the board to only five members so terms will be only five years (yes, that's the way state law works, according to Roach).

City Council President Charlie Mallow, a strong proponent of consolidation said to him there's no question, consolidation should be on the November ballot, not the charter.

Asked about the risk of the town not passing consolidation and then the city would need to start over on the charter, Mallow said, "That's the risk you have to take. That's something as an area we have to reach for."

City Manager Jason Molino, who serves on the consolidation committee, declined to say which choice he favored.

"It's up to the elected officials," Molino said. "If they feel fit to put it forward to the populace then they will."

John Roach

I think the consolidation vote should be put off until May, to give this more time to be expalined in the Town.

Jun 23, 2009, 7:06am Permalink
Mark Potwora

John ..thats a great idea,at least that way all the work that your group put into the city charter review could be voted on..Hard to believe that Mr.Mallow would rather have all that work you all did go down the drain..Nobody sees any saving from this Consolidation.Were's all the job cuts that should come from it..It would be better to wait until next spring to vote one it...At least we can get our City Charter in order..

Jun 23, 2009, 9:07am Permalink

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