Consolidation: Four most common questions...
Submitted by Philip Anselmo on January 9, 2009 - 3:40pm
Yesterday, we brought you some extracts from a report by the Center for Governmental Research on the potential consolidation of the town and city of Batavia. We would still encourage everyone in those municipalities to download and read the full document (it's about seven pages or so). In the meantime, we would like to present you with the four most commonly asked questions of the researchers as they interviewed leaders in the city and town on the topic of consolidation. Here's what they heard most:
1. "How can we ensure that city and town residents and businesses are fairly represented in the new government?"
2. "How can we ensure that the current costs and obligations of the city are not unfairly transferred to current town taxpayers?"
3. "What would happen with fire and police services?"
4. "What is the process for approving the creation of New Batavia?"
Answers to all of these questions, to a certain extent, depend on the plan that has not yet been planned. That being said, the Center for Governmental Research has some answers to help appease folks in the meantime. That is particularly the case for questions one and three. Amusingly, the CGR recommends a charter review committee works out those details in time for the November vote. We say amusing, because the city has been working on its own charter for quite some time now, and all of the work would essentially be null and void if a consolidation goes through. Daily News reporter Joanne Beck explored this irony in a recent article in that paper.
As for the other questions... Question two—will the cities burdens become the towns—has been the most frequent that I have heard. Basically, CGR says that consolidation of the city and town "can be expected to yield both short term and long term savings" for everyone. To me, that makes it sound like a non-issue.
Question four—approving the creation of New Batavia—is a real hoot. Quite simply, there's nothing that says the consolidtion has to be voted on by residents. However, the state Legislature does get a say.
As for the next steps...
Number One: Develop a plan! (Seriously, that's number one.)
Number Two: Get some money, because you will need it.
Number Three: Get more input.
There you go. Is everybody ready?