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: