RUSHVILLE — Another marathon meeting Monday gave nearly 100 village residents a few more details about how dissolution could impact them. Village officials and MRB Group, the village’s municipal consulting company, gathered with residents at Rushville Hose Company in attempt to field questions and dispel what they called “misinformation” they say has been circulating on social media. “We’re here to put an emphasis on facts, and separate speculation from what we actually know,” said MRB’s Diana Smith, one of the night’s two presenters. “This is a tough topic and it tends to be emotional.” Looking on were three Ontario County sheriff’s deputies who, as it turned out, had little to do in terms of crowd control. Several previous meetings had devolved into shouting matches between residents on opposite sides of the dissolution and village leadership issues. Smith launched the presentation by rebutting accusations that had appeared on social media alleging MRB Group had a conflict of interest in its presentation of dissolution pros and cons. “Our goal is to ensure that residents are informed; that they hear all sides of the issue. All sides. Not just one,” she told attendees. “Some of the statements that have been made in postings are alarming, outrageous, untrue, and inaccurately question the integrity of MRB Group and its personnel.” The rest of the focus Monday was pure nuts and bolts. Like if residents vote to dissolve the village, village-owned assets would become the property of the town in which they’re located, Smith said. The 0.6-square-mile village is split, with the north side in the town of Gorham and county of Ontario. The south side falls in the town of Potter in Yates County. So about half of the properties would become Gorham’s responsibility and the other half Potter’s. Properties currently owned and maintained by the village include the Rushville Hose Company, wastewater treatment plant, water treatment plant and outbuildings, cemetery, village hall, village barn, village park, reading center, a municipal parking lot, two water towers, and two buildings just off Main Street. Those towns would also become responsible for providing services like municipal property and vehicle maintenance; water and sewer services; street lights; code enforcement; street, crosswalk and park maintenance; brush pickup; snow plowing; holiday decorations; history room operation; trail maintenance; and storm sewers. Or not. Towns could continue services as they now exist, or they could choose not to. Six paid village employees could be retained by Gorham and Potter, with their roles redefined. Or not. It’s entirely up to the towns to decide. The mayor and four trustees would be out of jobs, saving residents $18,224 annually in salaries, social security taxes and dues. The 30 volunteer firemen would also face a choice: The fire department could incorporate, or it could form a fire district, which would make it a taxing jurisdiction, able to tax the residents it serves. And speaking of taxes, because Rushville falls into two towns in two counties, property tax rates per $1,000 assessed valuation will be different for Rushville residents, depending on where they live, Smith said. This year, Rushville needs a $153,223 tax levy to fund its preliminary $475,875 budget. This year, everyone is assessed at the same tax rate. But post-dissolution, because Ontario County shares sales tax with its municipalities, its residents will see lower property tax rates than residents in Yates County, which does not share sales tax revenue. On the positive side, if Rushville dissolves, both towns could receive Local Government Citizen Empowerment Tax Credit (CETC) annually, which is 15 percent of the combined amount of real property taxes levied in all of the involved municipalities within Gorham and Potter, not to exceed $1 million. As long as CETC is approved annually by the New York State Legislature as part of the state budget. Tax rates would likely go down for village residents, if they voted in favor of dissolution, Smith said. But by how much? And would village services be impacted? "To answer that would be sheer speculation — nothing more than conjecture,” said Smith. On June 27, registered voters who reside in the village may vote for or against dissolution. The vote, held at Village Hall on Main Street, will be conducted by a third party. Ironically, the towns that would bear the weight of dissolution’s impact have no say in the matter. The 213 Rushville residents on the north side of the village would make up just 5 percent of the town of Gorham. But the 464 residents to the south would fill out one-quarter of Potter’s total constituency. What’s the impact on those towns? “There are too many ifs,” said Smith. Rushville Mayor John Sawers called the event “one of the most positive meetings we’ve had in a long time.”

“We had a few new people who came tonight,” said Sawers. “Most of the faces I knew, but there were 10 or 15 I didn’t know.”

 

By the numbers

Village of Rushville:

677 Residents 0.6 Square miles 3 Linear miles of roadways 10 Village-owned properties 213 Village residents who would become part of Gotham 464 Village residents who would become part of Potter $475,875 Preliminary budget general fund 2017-2018 $153,223 Tax levy 2017-2018