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City and town will draft consolidation plan — Could go to vote by November

By Philip Anselmo

We received the following press release from the city of Batavia:

The City of Batavia and the Town of Batavia today reported the results of a joint public meeting between the City Council and the Town Board held on December 17.  The joint meeting was held to receive a report and recommendations prepared by the Center for Governmental Research (CGR).  CGR has been engaged to conduct a City and Town Consolidation Study under a Shared Municipal Services Incentive (SMSI) grant funded jointly by the City, the Town, and New York State.

The joint City/Town Consolidation Study Committee supports CGR’s report and recommendation to proceed to develop and present a draft consolidation plan to the City Council and Town Board by July, 2009.  If the plan is approved by the two elected bodies, the plan could be presented to the voters of the City and Town in the November, 2009 general election.

CGR and the Committee made a presentation to the joint meeting of elected officials to discuss the initial recommendation.  The Study Committee will begin to develop the plan starting in January, and agreed to update the joint boards every few months, to ensure that the process is open and transparent.  At the end of the presentation, the joint boards applauded the Study Committee for its work to date, and endorsed moving forward as discussed.

Charles Zettek Jr., CGR’s project Director, noted that there are several key factors that are aligning in favor of consolidating the City and the Town at this time.  These factors include:  1. the severe fiscal crisis that is going to drive changes to keep costs as low as possible, 2. new financial incentives from the State to consolidate local governments, 3. strong support by the City Council President and the Town Supervisor, and 4. recent events that have shown that consolidation works and benefits the greater community.

“There is no question that if the City and Town of Batavia become a single new government, this will put Batavia in the national spotlight” Zettek said.  “Everyone recognizes that fragmented local governments in New York and across the northeast and Midwest are inefficient. Communities across the country will look to Batavia as being the best example of how to consolidate a city and town to create an efficient government designed for the 21’st century” Zettek said.

City Council President Charlie Mallow summarized the consensus of the two boards by saying “Both boards want to develop a detailed consolidation plan that can be presented to the voters next fall.”   “We both realize that consolidating the City and Town will provide significant cost savings that will reduce taxes” Mallow said. “The plan will spell out specifically how services will be provided, how much will be saved and other efficiencies.”

Town Supervisor Greg Post stated, “If you look at the master plan that was done 40 years ago, it viewed the Town and City as one community.  Now we have the opportunity to make that vision a reality.”

City Manager Jason Molino told the joint boards that the Committee is going to have an incredibly busy six months, reviewing all the operations and coming up with a plan to present to City Council and the Town Board.”  “However, the end result will be a definite plan so that the voters will have the facts and options they need to decide if they want to create a new consolidated government”.

Charlie Mallow

The timing of the release could have been a lot better. Never the less, this is a major initiative and would put our community in the driver’s seat with a competitive advantage for years to come.

Dec 22, 2008, 11:17am Permalink
scott rytlewski

be very careful cgr they will give you a smoke and mirior look, check there web site and see the albion gain study all assumtion base on nothing with only a 4 percent saving and no ans, any one ever ask cgr why there a non profit with 70.000 a year salarys to the studyers this study stuff is the biggest scam in the world its worst than many level of goverment and by the way when i ask charlie zettek these question all he did was look at the ground had no ans that why it will never fly in are area to the north

Dec 22, 2008, 5:50pm Permalink
John Roach

This consolidation is long overdue. It will reduce taxes over the long run, expand fire and police protection and make this area more competitive for new business It is too bad that it took an economic crisis to make everyone see that there are too many levels of government in NY.

It’s great that the people in the Town and City of Batavia are taking the lead for less government. There have been other examples in other parts of the State, but not on this scale. There will always be a few people who will see there personal agenda jeopardized by consolidation, but they can be dealt with.

This was good news.

Dec 23, 2008, 5:33am Permalink
scott rytlewski

you are correct that this is a good thing but the only suscess that they CGR can document are in towns and villagers of these than 2500 people i think the people should ask some really hard question at any public meeting start

1) how will this be governed
2) who stays in the dpw the elected supers or the civil service supritendent
3) how will senority work for employees and is there a pay cut or pay raise or job lost these questions will be valid in every section
4) if the city has 3/4 of the assets does the tax payers lose out

these are just some of the question i asked and all the ans where looking at the floor

Dec 23, 2008, 11:23am Permalink

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