Bailey Et AL versus Village of Lyons Board of Trustees – Motion to dismiss pending

OneLyons has filed a Notice of Appeal in the case Bailey et al Versus Village of Lyons.  We have started the appeal process due to what we see as bad precedent set, as we’ve previously described, and error by the court that we feel cannot be left standing without challenge.    For many in the community they will wonder why this matters now, when the Village technically won and was granted leniency.

Please review the case as presented in answer to most of your questions.

This week, 11/17/2013, Village Attorney Art Williams filed a motion to dismiss the case on the grounds that further appeal is moot as the Village of Lyons has now complied with court order.  OneLyons will answer the motion.  The court will hear the case December 2, 2013 at 1000hrs in Rochester.

If OneLyons fails, the court case and $1,000 of our personal cash and donations was for naught.  We have pursued this on behalf of all taxpayers – putting our $ where our mouths are.  One our Reply to the Motion has been filed, we will update the court page with information.  Check out that page for more details under the detailed info page.

OneLyons files Special Article 78 Petition to compel Village of Lyons to complete statutory duties

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Citizens group OneLyons representatives who signed Article 78 Petition

Here is our Official Press Release:     OneLyons June 28 2013 Press Release of Article 78 Case0001.

Acting Supreme Court Judge Nesbitt signed the following order compelling the Village to appear and explain why an order should not be granted finding the Village in violation of State law.  Also attached in this file is the proof of service and affidavit of truth:      Onelyons Article 78 case 759060001.

Here is a copy of our complete case that was presented to the court and served upon the Village:     Article 78 petition for June 28 2013 FINAL, MMS – Guide to GML 17-A – Consolidation and Dissolution of Local Government (3).

 

FACT CHECK TIME: 4/11/13 Mayor Statements vs FLT 4/10/13 Investigative Article —>

Rulings: Fact checking Mayor Kleisle objections to FLT 41013 article

  1. Grant language requires that alternatives to dissolution are to be drafted = Partially True with explanation   The LGE grant process gives the option of applying for funds to research alternatives to dissolution AFTER completing the required dissolution plan as requried by GML 17-A.  PER the Mayor’s statements to FLT Reporter Jule Anderson, the MAYOR is the one who added this language to the grant application.  This is now required that the village consider alternatives.
  2. Mayor’s assertion that village board approved the creation of two plans on 9/11/12 board meeting = FALSE Mayor was approved to execute contract and submit a request for grant funding.  No discussion of actual approval of the language of the final grant funding is found in the village minutes.  However, an EMAILobtained via FOIL shows the Mayor acknowledges verbally obtaining permission from the Village Board on 9/26/2012 and notes a formal approval will be obtained 10/9/2012.  None is noted in the 10/9/12 minutes This appears to be an illegal act under the OPEN MEETINGS LAWS and is representative of behavior ONELYONS has challenged the village about. 
  3. Mayors assertion that MYRA Fedyniak of LGE required her to put the language into the proposal = Inconclusive          Review  of EMAILS does not support Mayors assertion here, but we note that Mayor reports she met in person with Myra Fedyniak.  We have no written correspondence to support the claim at this time.
  4. Trustees Vanstean and Alvaro deny knowledge of Mayor plan to create two plans, Trustee Greco asserting this was always the case = FALSE     Review of EMAILS 9/26/2012 by Mayor Kleisle report that she briefed the board the previous evening and received their approval. 
  5. Dissolution Committee Chair reporting at 3/21/2012 meeting that the requirement for two plans was IN THE LAW = FALSE     REVIEW of GML 17-A shows that this is not required in the law.  We don’t know how the chair received this information.
  6. MRB Diana Smith 4/11/13 assertation that this was clear from the beginning that there is ONLY one plan, and that alternatives would be part of the plan = FALSE     REVIEW of all Village Board meetings and all Dissolution Committee meetings does not support this assertion.  OneLyons Member DeWolf FOILED the Village of LYONS and received emails and the LGE plan, which revealed this information to us. 

OneLyons will be copying our research to the FingerLakes times encouraging a skeptical review of our findings here.  We also challenge the mayor and village board to challenge our findings and back up any challenges with proof. 

OneLyons continues to believe that the relationship between MRB and the village is extremely cozy and questionable.  There are many financial and ethical conflicts of interest present.  From the emails, and from the confusion, we can begin to now see and realize the results of this cozy relationship.  MRB was advising the Mayor on the process since at least 9/7/2012 in a direct relationship on how to proceed.  MRB actually CREATED the part 3 and WORK PLAN of the LGE Grant, and strongly guided the wording of the RFP that was put to bid.  Is it surprising MRB won the contract?

Further, the emails obtained via the FREEDOM OF INFORMATION LAW (FOIL) show that the Mayor held an illegal session of the board for the purpose of obtaining consent, and that the anticipated 10/9/2012 follow up approval of the language of the Grant was never entered into the minutes!  This is a violation of the OPEN MEETINGS LAW and clearly the behavior OneLyons has been campaigning against.

OneLyons looks forward to more media involvement.  We believe that such scrutiny helps open the doors and clear the secrecy and distrust.  We will be forwarding these findings to the FLT and INVITE the public to sign in and comment below this post:

Village grossly inefficent? Updates on Sewer/Water. 68 days left….Fact checking the FLT?

(0915hrs 4/18/2013 update)  —>  Village Timeline given to Employees, including Plan to put this to another referendum!!!    DOC260 Village handout to village employees on timelines      – Village came through on this FOIL request within 5 days as required by law, and explained the situation regarding other delays.  Essentially, most records are not scanned in upon receipt, and those that are spiral bound must first be copied, then scanned creating duplicative inefficient workloads that slow village business down.

(4/17/2013 Update)  The village has been stalling on providing the FOIL requests regarding Sewer Studies and emails.  They’ve given a May 3, 2013 date for possibly releasing the records.  Don’t get excited:  What tends to happen is they delay the release by suddenly claiming they forgot to charge for the records and must charge at the lowest hourly rate to copy them at $22 per hour, plus $.25 per page.  The amended FOIL law @ http://www.dos.ny.gov/coog/foil2.html encourages the village to freely post relevant information like this for the public to review.  Our village has scanners capable, but notes that it takes them 20 days to search for records and scan them due to their methods of filing.  When OneLyons discusses efficiency and responsiveness of government, its examples like this for the public to consider:  NYS had the records requested sent within 3 days, the Village of Lyons averages 20 – 27 days…..  WOW.  Our experience with Town of Lyons was responsiveness to FOIL within 2-5 days, which is the expected norm for an efficient government.

Keep up to date with village minutes on their website at www.villageoflyons.com.  <<Current debt reported by Village as of 2/21/2013:  $1,568,007.84.  or $880 per tax parcel, but remember almost $35 million in exemptions are enjoyed by 300+ property owners including Federal/State/County/Town/Village and other tax exempt properties…. so taking out 350 properties leaves possibly 1432 properties shouldering the tax loads @ possibly 1094.98 per property>>> (Relevant in this debt are projects related to water and sewer:  Route 31 water project from 1995, Cole Rd Sanitary Sewer from 1995, Waste Water Renovation from 2002, Phelps St Sewer Line from 2006, and Water Meter Installations in 2012.)

Keep up to date with the Dissolution Committee at MRB’s website setup for them:  www.lyonsdissolution.org

At the March 12, 2013 Village Board meeting, MRB was authorized to submit grant requests on the village behalf with a goal of obtaining grants to build new sewer lines to Newark.  We then discovered that the village had commissioned a study of the sewer plant and operations but not shared it publically — Obviously OneLyons began digging….  What we know so far is that our Sewer Plant is rated low on the state’s Risk list at 68 out of 72 plants.  We’ve received back in less than 5 days the FOIL requests from NYS — Here is the results of our recent Sewer Inspections:  2012 Inspection sewer plant, 2011 Inspection Sewer Plant  What we are trying to find out is how shutting down a sewer plan that we still owe $695,000 on (Upgraded in 2002 for $1.8 Million) and turning all over to Newark, will fix the underlying infiltration problems of the sewer collection system that serves almost 1700 residences and business inside the village?  NYS has notified the Village since 2011 that they have Sewer infrastructure problems to address…..  they commend the Sewer Plant operators and chastise the village administration….  What has the village done since 2011 to address this????

We know that shutting down the water plant and buying all water from the Wayne County Water Authority did save the Village Board $ on gallons per 1,000 purchased; but still has not fixed the underlying water loss.  Also remember, we are now dependent on our water supply soley via ONE pipe from the village of Newark that we also share with the County Jail/Nursing Home and they have priority.  The village has taken steps to address the issue after heavy scrutiny since 2009.  1) Borrowed $440,000 to replace all water meters in system, waiting for commercial meters to be changed next.

Don’t forget their budget, which contains the exact numbers above:  V of Lyons 2013 to 2014 Budget

Coming up next week:  Fact checking the fact checkers… did FLT mess up like Mayor claims, or was the reporting accurate?  Did the Mayor mislead the village board and the community as the newspaper seems to allege?  Clues to these answers are sprinkled in the village minutes and the FOIL results, we are researching and tying it all together for future release….

 For those interested in joining the mailing list… KEEP Scrolling down to our original posting!

Mayor challenges, backs down when asked to explain NYCOM and counsel to ignore NYS Law

At the February 12 Village Board meeting, OneLyons members reported that Mayor Corrine Kleisle ”chastised” our group for providing inaccurate information and opinion.  A follow up letter was sent by member Andrew DeWolf looking for clarification.  (Email exchange of Mayor challenging but declining to elaborate).

OneLyons invited the mayor or her NYCOM representative to discuss the formal position of NYCOM in advocating that NYS Law doesn’t have to be followed.  Please review for yourself the formal position and literature the village is using to guide this process:  MMS – Guide to GML 17-A – Consolidation and Dissolution of Local Government (3).  Remember, NYCOM considers themselves the largest lobby for village officials in NYS and the fees they are paid come from village taxpayers.  Thus, NYCOM’s position in this would refute the spirit and purpose of an “ELECTOR” initiated dissolution.

OneLyons received further information from that meeting which is being researched. .  From the witness accounts we have, it appears the Mayor overrode the counsel of the village attorney and our newest trustee and forced a vote to affirm MRB group as the consultant.  OneLyons has concerns about MRB group because of financial and political conflicts of interests.  See previous postings and explanations on or blog and in our detailed pages on www.OneLyons.com.

OneLyons advises it’s members we will be meeting next week to discuss this further and seek the counsel of our entire group.  Please contact one of the group’s leaders for information.

Media Press Release – OneLyons

OneLyons Leader Jack Bailey has invited the media to become educated and involved in the dissolution process in Lyons, and spoke with newspapers yesterday.

OneLyons Major Points of Concern – Lyons Village & Town Residents:

  1. The Dissolution Law has some flaws that leave OneLyons concerned about the process and results:  In an ELECTOR initiated dissolution, it’s the voters who want the change, not usually the village governments who tend to be hostile to the concept.  For some unknown reason, the legislature gives the responsibility of a dissolution plan to the potentially hostile village government, and not to the Town who will have to deal with the aftermath.  In the instant case of Lyons NY, the village government was and is unified in opposition to dissolution.  Thus, electors have every right to be concerned that a real effort in savings and performance optimization would not be a priority of the village government tasked with following through on the dissolution plan.
  2. In Lyons, the Anti-Dissolution mayor and board created a dissolution committee (thats directly subjugated to the village board) to come up with a dissolution plan and assist with selecting an engineering consultant to perform a comprehensive study of the village and town and make reccomendations.  OneLyons believes that the committee makeup does matter to the final plan because they will be the ones reviewing all possible scenarios and deciding on best practice reccomendations.  If one is starkly against dissolution and wants to see this process fail, then how can we expect a good faith effort?   In Lyons, the mayor designated herself and her current chief of police to sit on the committee.  OneLyons concern with this is because of the inherent conflicts of interest present- The police chief answers in a direct supervisory role to the mayor and would not be motivated to go against her wishes, even if it benefitted the dissolution process.  Both the mayor and the police chief could be brought in as advisory non-voting roles, since they are both valuable assets with extensive knowledge, but OneLyons believes they should NOT be voting members of the committee.
  3. The selection of the “consultant/engineer” does matter to the integrity of the process:  The firm that the village has used for years was MRB Group.  As previously noted, MRB Group sent consultants to the village to speak against dissolution without revealing the major financial conflicts of interests of the speakers.  MRB was later granted further projects by the village, including a contract to assist the village with dissemination of pro-village literature and messaging that was anti-dissolution in nature.  OneLyons continues other options exist for consultants and engineers that don’t have known conflicts of interest in this village.  The Center for Governmental Research (CGR), was utilized by the village and town to perform a very comprehensive shared services/consolidation study that was published in 2010.  They worked at length with the village and the town to understand how each operated, and also have extensive experience with the dissolution process of other villages in NYS.  The firm Barton & Legoudice of Seneca Falls assisted with the Seneca Falls dissolution and is still retained by the Town of Seneca Falls, making their knowledge and experience relevant for consideration as well.
  4. OneLyons is further concerned about the pace of the progress of the village of Lyons.  In the fall at a public meeting on the Lyons Dissolution, NYCOMM Attorney Wade Beltrano advised the Mayor and the crowd that strict adherance to the law was not necessary and the state would overlook delays.  He noted that getting it right the first time was more important.  OneLyons agrees that doing it right is important, but also notes the pattern of behavior of the village suggests that ‘dragging it’s feet’ would also be inappropriate to the spirit of the law.    OneLyons reminds the media and the public about the two NYS Committee on Open Government Advisory Opinions regarding the behavior of the village in honoring the Open Meetings Laws and Freedom of Information Laws.  These repeating behavior patterns coupled with the public advisement of NYCOMM suggest that our village officials believe it is acceptable to ignore state law if they are a government doing so.  OneLyons requests that the public and the media assist us in monitoring the process and educating the public about all aspects of it.  Neither citizen nor government can be above the law, or our representative republic process fails us all.
 OneLyons invites media and public involvement, questions, and continued education about the processes of government.  We look forward to working with all parties to maintain integrity and accountability in this process.

Welcome to OneLyons

This site will help explain why we think it is a good idea to ‘dissolve’ the Village of Lyons and become ‘OneLyons.’  Our primary concern is the high Village Tax Rate coupled with cumulative taxes that have elevated Lyons to the #1 highest taxed Village in the Fingerlakes Region of NYS, and among the top taxed Villages in the USA!   See the news coverage of our recent meeting with Seneca Falls.  The Seneca Falls delegation unanimously affirmed that they would NEVER return to a two government system to provide the same services, especially given the cost savings and efficiencies now that the Town provides everything!  OneLyons Informational Meeting with SF – FL Times Article 110212

11/3/2012:  D&C Reporter Bennet Loudon did another excellent dissolution piece, check it out HERE

Compare the two final mailers, the village doesn’t want to discuss their record or the “facts” obtained from the village of LYons and NYS mostly through FOIL.  Please check our detailed information pages and references for yourselves, they are verifiable. 

Final mailer of save lyons group 110212

OneLyons final mailer 110212

New update 11/2/2012:  OneLyons successfully hosted an informational meeting with Seneca Falls current and previous administration and learned alot.  Some major learning points:  OneLyons Informational Meeting with SF – FL Times Article 110212

  • The best answer they gave was to the question, “Knowing what you know now, would you want to go back to having a separate Village and Town?” — every one of them said, “Absolutely not!”
  • Without having the landfill $, Seneca Falls still would have saved $7 per $1,000 assessed due to elimination of a layer of government, renegotiation of contracts, increased efficiencies, and contracting with private companies for some services.
  • No service interuptions occurred during transition, and no services were cut.
  • Police force was made a townwide force with reduced budget and more officers, higher call volume.
  • 5 DPW workers transferred to town and 2 retired, 2 clerks were retained.
  • The former village still exists, just not the village government.  No changes made to the village, still enjoying same services as previously at less cost.
  • Stay tuned for video of the meeting, and look for the FingerLakes Times coverage of the event.

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.

We have opened this discussion, it’s your turn to continue it.  We invite you to join with us as we learn about the difficulties facing this village and town and work to create solutions.  We invite you to contact us, attend meetings, and get involved in our democratic republic style of government.  Finally, we invite you to take a stand against the status quo and use your anonymous right to vote on November 6 to send a message and help us begin to unite and solve our common problems.
 

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