»

OPINION: Think twice before dissolving your village

In March, I read an article where former Mayor Murray from the Village of Macedon stated that the Village Board did not give anything away, assets were sold above market value and everything was sold at auction, a new state of the art Waste Water treatment plant will be built serving three towns, and the Village Hall was not sold due to considerable work the building needs and high heating bills calling it “next to worthless”.

I have lived here long enough to truly know that the majority of the people that live in the Pal-Mac area are quite intelligent people.  So why there are a few individuals and groups that serve their own agenda and try to convince themselves that they have convinced the Pal-Mac residents in their calumniation. I am here to say, you have not succeeded based on an old saying: It is the silent majority that stays quiet.

A Few Facts:

  1. An engineering study report was completed by the Village of Macedon on the existing Waste Water Treatment Plant. It stated in order to be a “State of the Art and in full compliance with all the State Regulatory agencies”; it would cost a total of $7 million dollars.
  2. The newest proposal by the Town of Macedon board “State of the Art” Waste Water Treatment plant serving three Town’s would cost over $20 million which may include decommissioning costs and the cost of  converting the existing plant to a pumping station .
  3. Close to dissolution, the Village and Town were now co-owners of the Waste Water Treatment Plant. The Village was co-owner with a higher percentage of ownership (70%) for the Waste Water Treatment plant. Therefore, the plant, land, equipment, supplies, etc. that were valued over 10 million dollars should have been sold to the Town with the proceeds being divided based on the ownership interest percentages. The Village residents were denied over 7 million dollars.
  4. Commodity charges for the Village resident increased with Water from $30.00 to $60.00 and Sewer from $2.00 to $62.00. The Wayne County Water & Sewer Authority kept the base fee of $63.00 + $2.00 = $65.00 with an additional $60.00 commodity increase in Sewer. Also, the water usage baseline has now more than doubled.
  5. If the Village Hall is not worth anything and is in poor condition, then it should have been condemned.
  6. The existing fire hall was assessed in February 2016 for $150,000. There was never a proper legal bid or a real estate signed contract for the sale of the fire hall or any other Village owed asset. Three individuals came to the Village board offering to purchase the Fire hall at the assessed value. One person even offered to write a check on the spot for $130,000. They were all declined by the board because the board said it was selling the building to another fire company for $100,000.
  7. The newly formed fire company was already housed by taxpayer’s monies at other locations that served the Macedon residents well. In my opinion, there was no need for another location or a bigger and better option. According to all the Town/Village board minutes, the newly formed fire company had great response time with Fire/Ambulance. Therefore, the existing Village of Macedon fire hall was sold below fair market value.
  8. The fire equipment that was being used by the former Village of Macedon Fire Department was acceptable and met safety standards, yet according to the new Mayor and Village board members since May 2016 had sold the fire equipment below fair market value due to “they were worth next to nothing and in poor shape”.
  9. Nothing in the minutes or the financials show that any of the Village assets were appraised and in the Real Estate hands for selling.
  10. The statement, “We didn’t give anything away, everything sold was done so at auction”, is a misleading statement. This statement makes you think the Village sold everything at auction. In reality, anything that was not given away was sold at auction.
  11. The One Macedon group friends were given the opportunity to take things of “no value” for free and were seen doing it by the residents as some of the Village board members “closed their eyes”.
  12. The New York State Dissolution Plan states any of the Village assets that are not sold, are given to the Town government for free. All the land parcels, parks, buildings, heavy equipment, tools, etc. that were Village owned were given to either the Town or the Wayne County Water & Sewer Authority for free.
  13. The Village residents have always been Town residents, the Village residents paid for all these assets and the Town residents are now getting everything for free. With dissolution, the Village residents will still need to pay special district taxes. The sale of the assets would have gone into a special debt district fund to offset the special district taxes or reduce any bond costs in the water/sewer projects.

In conclusion, time will tell the real story but I choose to continue my path of happiness and wish only the well for the Macedon residents. I truly have accepted the dissolution of the Village of Macedon because I am always reminded of the truly goodhearted people that surround us to make a truly positive difference in this world.

 

Marie Cramer is a Macedon resident, former-Mayor, and columnist for FL1 News. Read her ‘Just Saying’ column each month exclusively at FingerLakes1.com or on the FingerLakes1.com App for Android and iOS.

Also on FingerLakes1.com