Lyons dissolution process – flawed. Hope for future.

http://www.democratandchronicle.com/…/lyons-villa…/78088552/

Onesided reporting in this case. Author never contacted anyone from OneLyons for commentary. A 62% village savings and 7% town savings is worthy of reporting, and the Wayne County Sherrifs not only hired 8 deputies to beef their force, but also have 10 members of the force who live inside the former village limits. The former village pd only had 3. The WCSD and NYSP have done a great job in the lead up to taking over the last 6 months. Lyons Town Supervisor Manktelow is correct, the law needs some changes. Village governments are usually not seeking to dissolve themselves willingly. Villages have pecuniary interests and fight the process, yet are given reins to most of the process. The dissolution plans should be entrusted to the town governments, the certification of petitions should be by an independent source such as the county board of elections, and the failure of the judiciary to enforce clear wording of statutory and legislative intent should be addressed. Supv Manktelow is incorrect in his verbiage though – this was a dissolution of village government, not a consolidation, thus the reason that town residents could not vote. In a consolidation, all voters get a say. In Lyons, high taxes, unresponsive local government, hubris among officials, and lack of transparency were among many issues that led to local dissolution factors. The future of Lyons is not one of clouds, but instead a chance to change our “default” future of small towns and villages collapsing. In 2011 Lyons ranked #1 in taxes in the USA per USA today, and now will instead be able to work to keep local businesses, reduce regulatory burdens, repair neglected 100+ year old infrastructure, and hopefully create a new business friendly and resident friendly atmosphere. OneLyons leader Jack Bailey has made himself available for comment/interviews if anyone is interested.

Vision Statement re-posted

Our vision is to create a community where taxes are reasonable and fairly shared, restrictions on business development and personal property are reasonable and as minimal as possible, and the government that represents us is responsive to us and treats us equally and fairly. We believe that Lyons is a community that encompasses all of the village and town of Lyons.  Dissolving the village of Lyons will not result in the loss of our history, heritage, culture, or common beliefs.  The benefits of a unified government may better prepare our community to attract businesses and citizens to live here.  We will have one set of zoning rules, codes, and laws that are predictable and not overly burdonsome.  We will have a more equitable distribution of costs that will benefit everyone as they tend to be more involved in the process of government.  Our public services will be unified in purchasing and efficiency, thus eliminating waste that hurts those on fixed budgets.  Together, we can unite under one government and work to solve our issues.

Commentary:

The dissolution of Lyons was both a success story and an illustration that our foundation of government is from the consent of the governed, and was designed with checks and balances which have been eroded over time.  Initiated by electors, and affirmed twice by ballot, the voters of Lyons chose to ignore fear and change the status quo by voting for dissolution of village government.  Twice the judiciary was asked to do it’s part in maintaining checks & balance, and twice the judiciary chose to give unwavering deference to local government.  We look forward to engaging the state legislators to improve the process for future municipalities, and for increasing the focus on transparency, accountability, and integrity in governmental officials and actions.  Finally, we look forward to implementing the vision we initially laid out and working to unify and rebuild our community and it’s infrastructure.

It’s time to unify together and tackle the issues in our community together.  Our government on all levels needs to be held accountable, demanded to be transparent, and act with integrity in all functions it performs.  It’s time to rethink every law, code, tax, expense, and burden we put on business and residents.  The status quo has been broken, now let’s move forward together.

 

Updates, Fire District, and water loss continues at 21% loss for 2014!

Summary of updates we are aware of as of May 30, 2015 – Please send us more info with references and we will try to keep updated.

Town & Village websites back up and running!

Town decided to let complete dissolution of the Police Department occur along with the Village of Lyons.  Town has asked and the Wayne County Sherriffs has agreed to provide policing for the Village and Town of Lyons.  OneLyons believes the Memorandum of Agreements and projected increase in town costs led to the decision as there were a number of town taxpayers actively campaigning against anything which would raise the town tax rate from what it currently is set at.

Town and Village have taken steps to form a Fire District to ensure uniform fire protection throughout the entire town with costs more evenly shared.  Tax exemptions will still come into play in all tax situations and need to be reviewed.

Review of Town Board meetings show they are relying heavily on closed door executive sessions to conduct business, which is an area of interest we all need to keep an eye on as an open and transparent government is critical to moving forward in Lyons.  Time to remind the board monthly of the commitments to transparency!

The 2014 Annual Water Report for the Village of Lyons has been filed.  Total water purchased was 128,905,000 gallons, with unaccounted for water being 26,861,000, which meant a total loss which is subsidized by rate payers of 21%, or 21 gallons lost per 100 gallons purchased.  The underlying problems continue in Lyons with years of infrastructure neglect, and unfortunately that will cost water users dearly in the coming years as the Town and Water Authority are forced to take measures to resolve this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OneLyons Appeal – Dismissed as moot

4th Dept Appeals Decision Bailey v Lyons

OneLyons has released the following press release to the media:  4th Dept Appeals Decision Bailey v Lyons PRESS RELEASE.

OneLyons is very disappointed in the decision, but have been affirmed by the overwhelming vote of the community that had the courage to speak up and vote twice!  As we noted, it is now up to the legislature and governor to fix the problems with this law and not defer heavily to the financial and political clout of NYCOM and entrenched politicians.

We encourage the community to monitor and stay engaged with both the town and village to make your voice heard during the remainder of the dissolution process.  The website is www.villageoflyons.com .  The Town has been holding meetings on Wednesday evenings and those meetings are completely open to the public.

Similar Petitions to Lyons case thrown out in Seneca Falls, In Lyons process moves forward with Town.

The Town of Lyons is looking for citizen engagement and attendance at it’s regular and work shop meetings.  Please consider your assistance to this process.

OneLyons observed with interest the Seneca Falls court case listed below.  The Judge in that case threw out the petitions for the exact same reasons OneLyons challenged here before Honorable John Nesbitt.  We look forward to reviewing the full case and commenting further later.

OneLyons pending Appeal before the Appellate 4th department is due Friday May 9, 2014 and will be updated when we have results to share.

http://www.fltimes.com/news/article_097383f6-d20b-11e3-b5ec-0019bb2963f4.html -

Judge voids Seneca Falls petitions calling for vote on town hall
project funds
By DAVID L. SHAW dshaw@fltimes.com | Posted: Friday, May 2, 2014 11:04 am
SENECA FALLS — Acting State Supreme Court Justice Patrick Falvey has thrown out the petitions calling for a referendum on the
Town Board’s decision to transfer $2.55 million so that it can pay for a new town building.
In Yates County Court Thursday, Falvey upheld two of the technical objections to the petitions listed in a complaint filed by Town
Board member Chad Sanderson.
Falvey explained that the flaws which made the petitions void, according to state election law and town law, were:
The wording of the preamble or heading of the petition did not include words that the signers attest that the addresses listed opposite
the signatures were accurate.
• The witnesses to the signatures did not attest that he or she physically observed the signers put their names and addresses on the
petition.
Arguing for Sanderson, who was not present, was attorney Steven Getman of Ovid. Getman said “active participation in government is
admirable, but you must follow the law to give the petitions power.”
He cited court cases to support the five reasons Sanderson said the petitions should be voided.
Petition drive organizers Joyce Brady and Susan Sauvageau appeared without an attorney. Sauvageau, with Brady’s consent, argued
against the objections and in favor of allowing the vote of 350 town resident to be meaningful.
“We feel the petitions clearly ask for voters to vote on this important matter,” Sauvageau said.
She told Falvey that she consulted town law and election law in preparing the petitions and failed to find any specific models or
guidelines for a referendum petition.
“I believe we substantially complied with the law. The addresses were opposite the signatures,” she said, arguing that they should not be
thrown out on technicalities when the meaning and intent was clear.5/2/2014 Judge voids Seneca Falls petitions calling for voteontownhall project funds – Finger Lakes Times: News
http://www.fltimes.com/news/article_097383f6-d20b-11e3-b5ec-0019bb2963f4.html?mode=print 2/2
Seneca Falls Town Attorney Patrick Morrell and Town Clerk Nicaletta Greer attended Thursday’s proceeding. Morrell took no specific
position on the objections or the petitions, speaking only to the issue of service of court papers on the town.
Afterward, Brady said the desire of 350 people to have input into the use of taxpayer money was being rejected by the ruling.
“These are technicalities a layman could not understand,” Sauvageau said, adding that an Albany-area attorney, Frank Hoare, may be
retained to file an appeal. “A lot of time and effort went into these petitions.
“It’s disappointing. There was a lot of interest and far more signatures than were required were obtained. It was a true bipartisan effort.”
Sauvageau said once the Town Board transfers money from a reserve fund to the general fund, voters won’t have a say in the use of that
money.
Brady and Sauvageau said the Town Board could do the right thing and schedule a referendum on its own, but both doubted that would
happen.
Getman said Sanderson spent his own money to save the town the cost of staging a permissive referendum.
“I see this as a win for the taxpayers of Seneca Falls,” Getman said. “The town has conducted this process in an open manner.”
While the board has decided to build a new town hall, officials continue working on the design. They have narrowed the locations to a
town-owned parcel on Ovid Street and the privately owned former Westcott Rule Co. at the corner of Spring and East Bayard streets.
The board says the $2.55 million it wants to transfer into the general fund will cover the cost of the building

Moving Lyons Forward!

Final Vote:  519 (60%) YES – UNITE / 353 (40%) NO

The voters of the Village of Lyons have voted a second time by a significant margin for the dissolution of the village government and unification of the Village with the Town of Lyons. It is now time for our Town and Village officials to work together for a coordinated and smooth transition for unification that will benefit our whole Lyons community by January 1, 2016.

OneLyons plans to stay engaged in this process and looks forward to serving the community in anyway we can. We would like to thank all of those who guided and supported us in this long process to bring tax relief and fairness to the Lyons community.

May God bless the efforts of all who seek and work for the health, vitality and prosperity of the whole Lyons community now and in future years.
– OneLyons

Initial Vote Results = 165 Vote Margin YES to dissolve.

We are cautiously optimistic about the initial results.  The initial results show 783 Ballots were cast with 474 Yes, 309 No.  That is a margin of 165 votes, or 61%.  There will be a hand count audit tomorrow by the Board of Elections, and an audit of the Absentee Ballots on Thursday.  We look forward to receiving the final results.  We believe this was an informed ballot, and we look forward to working with the Village and the Town in moving forward in this process.  A more formal press release will be released after the Absentee Ballots are counted and certified on Thursday.

As we move forward, we ask everyone to review our initial VISION STATEMENT and help us work to achieve that as we now come together to engage our Village and Town Officials to begin the process of dissolution and working to re-unite our community:

Our vision is to create a community where taxes are reasonable and fairly shared, restrictions on business development and personal property are reasonable and as minimal as possible, and the government that represents us is responsive to us and treats us equally and fairly. We believe that Lyons is a community that encompasses all of the village and town of Lyons.  Dissolving the village of Lyons will not result in the loss of our history, heritage, culture, or common beliefs.  The benefits of a unified government may better prepare our community to attract businesses and citizens to live here.  We will have one set of zoning rules, codes, and laws that are predictable and not overly burdonsome.  We will have a more equitable distribution of costs that will benefit everyone as they tend to be more involved in the process of government.  Our public services will be unified in purchasing and efficiency, thus eliminating waste that hurts those on fixed budgets.  Together, we can unite under one government and work to solve our issues.

Village of Lyons – $3 savings on a $50,000 home in 2014 versus $460 for dissolving…. and still losing 24 out of every 100 gallons of water purchased…

The Fingerlakes Times reported the Village plans to save taxpayers $0.06 per $1,000 assessment for 2014The dissolution plan calls for$9.21 per $1,000 savings starting in 2015 if we vote YES.  NYCOM told us 9/25/2012 that there is a guaranteed savings of $4.78 per $1,000 assessed because that’s the amount we subsidize the town taxpayers and would be removed.

For a $50,000 assessed home, the Village plans to save you $3 in 2014.  Dissolution would save you $460.50 starting in 2015.  The Alternatives to Dissolution pushed by the Village depend upon them following their promises and would save $87.

The Village of Lyons has released it’s required annual Water Report for 2013:  Village of Lyons Water Report for 2013       Results show we are still losing 24 per 100 gallons of water purchased, for a total calculated loss of 28,532,000 gallons in 2013.   If this was a residential or commercial customer in the village, the 1st 5,000 Gallons were covered in the basic charge, the rest would have cost $199,689.  The village doesn’t post what our cost to buy the water per gallon is, so can we assume that Lyons lost almost $200,000 in preventable loss due to our poor infrastructure in 2013?

The advertisements from the “Save Lyons” group remind taxpayers that we all know what our taxes will remain if we vote no….  we will be one of the highest taxed villages in the USA, and the highest in Wayne County.

Voting YES gives us a definite savings of close to $5 per $1,000 and a real chance to truly change our future and come together to address the issues in our community and make it a sustainable place to live and have business in.

 

If you could save $460 or $87, which would you choose? The solution is dissolution!!!!!

OneLyons 1st Mailer 20140001   – Our mailer we sent out.  Dissolution IS the Solution!

Why should individual property owners, residents, and tenants in the Village of Lyons consider a YES vote on March 18?  How much savings are we actually talking?  At the $9.21 per $1,000 savings projected by the Village of Lyons Board of Trustees in our current dissolution plan, a homeowner assessed at $50,000 would save $460 per year.  That’s the equivalent of 115 gallons of gasoline priced at $4 per gallon.  What else could that homeowner use that $ for?  Heating homes?  Groceries?  Rent or Mortgage?  Prescriptions?

Further, ask yourself if history supports the promises that the Village Board would follow through and save $1.74 per $1,000 by adopting the Alternatives to Dissolution?  The Alternatives to Dissolution would save taxpayers a whopping $87 per year for a $50,000 assessed home!

If this dissolution vote fails – what motivation would there be for the Village to change it’s behavior and push for efficiencies?  Why would they now start obeying the Open Meetings and Freedom of Information Laws?  Do you think the secrecy of Executive Sessions, Special Meetings, and Arbitrary Enforcement of Laws and Codes will change for the better if this dissolution vote fails?

OneLyons invites the community to educate themselves ahead of the planned vote on March 18.  Here is the dissolution plan originally adopted by the Lyons Village Board:

dissolution_plan of Village of Lyons 2014

Here’s the amendments they ultimately made to that original plan on November 4, 2013:     Village of Lyons Dissolution Plan 2014 Addendum

Here’s the original 2011 Savings and Consolidation Study performed by CGR which the Village ignored and led to the dissolution push.  Lyons – Final Report – Updated 12-23-11

http://www.empirecenter.org/AboutUs//EmpireIdeas/2014/02/empireideasstreamlining.cfm – Overview of how taxpayers and citizens can work with local governments to save $.

Please contact us on our webpage form if there’s more information you want but don’t see here!

Please consider a YES vote March 18 – Tell your friends and neighbors.  Remember to check out our other pages here for more information.

 

 

 

OneLyons Votes No on Appeal, commits to March 18 Ballot.

OneLyons has voted on whether to appeal Judge Nesbitt’s decision.  The group is distraught and conflicted about how the integrity of the process was compromised, and that the Court deferred greatly to the village government.  However, the group also felt strongly in the prinicple of the ballot and ultimately decided to leave this to the people of Lyons.  Time to send a message.  Vote March 18, 2014 from Noon-9pm at the Lyons VFW.

The group had deliberated over the last 3 days, a final tally was taken last night.  It was a difficult and tight vote that really caused some anguish within the group.  We are 100% unified in concern and dismay with the Village Government’s behavior and ethics during this and the Supreme Court’s uncompromising deference towards local governments.  Our research post court case revealed that because Town Law was modified in 2009, Acting Judge Nesbitt was correct in his ruling that our cited case law regarding the missing pre-amble did not qualify for GML 17-A.  However, we did discover that the strict compliance standards regarding witness statements, duplicate signatures, non-village resident’s signing, and people witnessing their own signatures were still valid reasons to overturn the petitions and overturn the Village Clerk’s certification.  We discovered that using only the strict grounds of standing law and case law 143 signatures would be overturned, and if we used the exact parameters the clerk used on our petition in August of 2012 then over 180 signatures would have been invalidated.

Thus, in our reviews of the Court’s decision we fail to understand how justice was achieved in this case and believe it falls back upon the people of Lyons to decide for themselves whether the process had integrity and the case was worthy.

The consensus among our group was that this fight is not just ours to carry forever and Appealing on principle may serve to alienate the very people this fight is actually for.  We felt a clear majority needed to affirm an Appeal, not just a simple majority.   We’re fighting for the taxpayers of Lyons and for transparent government ran with integrity.  For our group, the last stand will be March 18, 2014.  We now turn this over to the residents of the Village of Lyons to decide their futures.