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Charter Task Force presents proposal for moving forward with city and town consolidation

By Howard B. Owens
Apr 24, 2012, 9:51am

A proposal to merge the city and town of Batavia is moving forward and at the start of Monday's city council meeting, the Charter Task Force Committee presented its proposed city charter and timeline for public hearings and public vote.

Chairman Chad Zambito (above) made the presentation, telling council members that the committee settled on a council/manager form of government with ward representation combined with at-large council seats (much like the current City of Batavia).

There would be four wards and five at-large seats.

As initially proposed, the new city would have a tiered tax structure with the current city having a tax rate to help pay for current city services -- primarily fire and police protection -- and the current town having a separate tax structure to maintain its current level of service.

The timeline toward possible adoption:

  • The town board and the city council must each pass a resolution asking Assemblyman Steve Hawley and Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer to introduce legislation to make consolidation possible;
  • May 17, info session at the town hall;
  • May 24, info session at city hall;
  • May 31, public hearing;
  • June 4, public hearing;
  • June 11, public hearing;
  • June 21, public hearing;
  • In July, public input reviewed, documents edited and corrections made to proposed charter;
  • August, revised charter introduced to city and town officials, city and town hold public hearings, city and town vote on charter and ballot initiative;
  • September, ballot initiative must be submitted by city and town by Sept. 9;
  • Nov. 6, Election Day and voters in both city and town can vote on ballot initiative.

If approved:

  • Town and city boards, appointees and employees remain in place until Jan. 1, 2014;
  • The task force recommends a consolidation committee be formed comprised of elected officials and residents from both the city and town;
  • Election of new city council in November 2013, with at-large seats elected to four-year terms, and wards started with two-year terms (a four-year term election for wards starting in 2015).

Currently available documents related to the proposed consolidation can be found on the consultant's website.

Ted Wenzka

I attended the council meeting and it created questions. I sent my questions to the Task Force and received answers. See below:

1. Where can I go to obtain the powerpoint slides shown at the April 23 presentation?

[Scott's Comments] We will upload the PP slides to the website today or tomorrow. I need to get a final version of them from the Task Force and then we’ll post them.

2. Where can I go to obtain an updated copy of the Consolidation Study Committee Report? The 2009 report is not up to date. The \"Governing Body\" section is not per the April 23 presentation. Makes me wonder what else is not up to date in the 2009 documents.

[Scott's Comments] There is not an “update” to the 2009 report. The Task Force used the Committee Report and the existing City Charter as the baseline for its deliberations on the new City Charter. In only a few instances has the Task Force deviated from the 2009 Committee’s recommendations. The form of government is one of those areas. The number of wards was the other primary area. The Task Force will be posting the full draft charter on the website in the next day or two and that should allow you to review and compare against the recommendations of the 2009 report.

3. With the consolidation, what happens to the existing City Hall and Town Hall? If city and town consolidate to one governing body - no need for 2 separate buildings.

[Scott's Comments] The Task Force has not considered what will happen to the municipal buildings beyond the recommendations of the 2009 study. The matter would become part of the transitional planning for the two communities in the event there is a merger.

Apr 24, 2012, 2:11pm Permalink
cj sruger

The town residents will never vote for this. Its not gonna happen, They are waisting there time and money. Next they will try to find a way around having the people vote on it.

Apr 24, 2012, 4:52pm Permalink
Mark Potwora

This has never been done in the history of New York State..This has no chance of happening..Why waste any tax payer dollars on any of this..The only people who will make anything on this is the Lawyers and Consultants hired to promote this....After a year this is all they have....There are less mandates from the state when you are a town vs. a City....Why would people in the town give up the right to vote for their Town Supervisor and be forced to have Malino call the shots for the town....

Apr 24, 2012, 6:11pm Permalink
Michael Pullinzi

Anyone who has watched ANYTHING City Council has done in the last ten years should know enough to want nothing to do with the City. City Council has run the City into the ground with one bad misinformed decision after another. Now they want to drag the Town down with them to try and bail them out. Take a look at the traffic circle behind Wendy's, the twelve foot+ high ceilings in City Hall, try doing business in the City, etc. etc. etc. Nothing to be gained by Town residents and EVERYTHING to be lost. City residents are best advised to throw the bums out and start over. I am hoping the several new City Council members do act to turn things around and not just become more nodding heads.

Apr 24, 2012, 7:18pm Permalink
L. Selapack

I definitly would not like to see more of my Tax payer money go to the City. They have proved they can not manage what they have now, so why would we give them more to waste? Our Town Leaders have proved they can manage this Town with out driving it into the ground and then looking to where they can get more money from. The people of this Town can see what the City Leaders have done to themselves. We do not need to Share services with the City..We are doing just fine without their Debts. They made them, I do NOT want to pay for their MIS-Management.
I Vote NO.

Apr 25, 2012, 11:28am Permalink

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