The Village of Williamsville Citizen Study Group, composed of all volunteers whose only concern is how much we pay and what we get in the village and how much we can save and what will still have if the village is dissolved held our third community meeting yesterday.
At the meeting we discussed our most recent report. Here is what we know:
Village residents are not double taxed by the Village and Town.
Village residents pay a Village tax for services supplied by the Village and a part Town tax for services supplied by the Town.
Village residents do not pay special district taxes like Town residents.
Village residents pay on average $170 more per year than Town residents.
The largest Village expenses are sewer, water and garbage.
The salary of Village Trustees and the Mayor are .4% of the budget.
If the Village is dissolved...
Village assets including: Village Hall, The Mill, The Historic Meeting House, DPW Buildings would be sold to the Town or a third party.
Village debt will be paid by Village taxpayers.
The Town Community Plan, Zoning Board and Building Code would determine village character and plans for future development.
Village Committees would not continue.
Representation would go from 1 representative in 1000 residents to 1 resident for every 17,000 residents.
Sidewalk plowing would be discontinued and residents would be responsible for snow removal on sidewalks in front of their homes.
Village parks would become Town parks.
The garbage contract would remain the same, but refuse “pick up services” for metal and leaves would change.
Sewer Services would continue.
Water service would be turned over to the Erie County Water Authority.
Storm drainage service would remain unchanged.
Fire protection would continue.
Police protection would be provided as before.
Village residents would not save the entire Village tax bill, since a majority goes to pay for sewers, water, garbage, roads, plowing and fire protection.
Based on structured interviews with village and town elected officials, since it is the village board that would write the dissolution plan, the Town Supervisor who would negotiate details on behalf of the town and the Town Board who would approve aspects of the plan that effect the town. After analyzing and triangulating the data in search of consistencies and inconsistencies in responses we think:
The Village has two choices for properties and assets: Sell them to the Town or sell them to a third party. In either case, the Village would not get full market value for the properties. The sale of properties to the Town could reduce the debt to be paid by Village residents.
Village residents would pay Village debts until retired. The Town would not ask Amherst taxpayers to pay past village debts or debts for sewer and water infrastructure necessary to dissolve the Village.
The Village Code would expire within 2 years of dissolution. The Town of Amherst Community Plan, Zoning Board and Building Code would not adequately address future development in the Village.
Fire protection would remain unchanged. The Town would create a fire district consistent with the current area covered.
The 5 Village parks would not be sold without permission from the State of New York. Village parks would become town parks. There are currently more than 30 Town parks that compete for resources and improvements based on need and financial resources. Capital improvements to parks would be diminished due to increased competition for resources with Town parks.
Sewer service would continue either under the Town as a special district or through a Sewer District encompassing Amherst, Clarence and the Village of Williamsville, if negotiations are successful.
The Erie County Water Authority would take over the Village water system. Rates for water would decrease, but capital improvements would be needed. In dissolution, the Village’s negotiating power would be diminished and capital improvements to the system would be determined by ECWA. The cost for improvements would be paid by Village residents.
Snow plowing in the village may be less responsive. The Village snow plowing routes complete snow removal in 6 hours. The Town snow plowing routes complete snow removal in 8 hours.
Village residents would not see significant tax savings through dissolution since specials districts would be created and current debt would remain with village taxpayers. The tax savings from dissolving the Village would be determined by the profits from the sale of assets, the elimination of services and the jobs that go with them.
As always, we want an open, honest public conversation on the facts so informed residents can make a decision on the form of their government based on the services provided and the cost.
To read the full report check out our web site - www.willvillstudy.com
Village of Williamsville Citizen Study Group