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There are 534 reasons why the NYS Government Reduction Act should matter to every taxpayer in NY State.



Note: Since the last census, 10 years ago, 21 New York State Villages have decided they will stop the Village Tax Madness by Dissolving & Combining with their Townships
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You have asked... and here's the answers.

Questions about where the ECNA Town & Village data is coming from and how we made the graphs have been coming in for 2 days now.

Many canal residents want to know if what they are seeing is accurate...the answer is yes, this is what the data shows. To end the questions I will take a moment to explain how the ECNA was able to collect and display the graphs you are seeing in the Forum Board.

Thank you to all who commented or emails asking for "verification on our facts"... always make sure those supplying data can back up their claims.

Since our intended analysis was for Canal Towns WITH Villages we found a great list of all original and newer municipalities along the Erie Canal.  It was from a Book titled Erie Canal Legacy by Olenick & Reisem and shows architecture in NYS along the Erie Canal. The book listed municipalities from City size to small Hamlets, 106 locations in all.

Our goal at the ECNA, is to show if there is a case supporting the NYS Government Reduction Act along the Erie Canal. This 2010 NYS Law is trying to eliminate inefficient and unnecessary layers of lower government agencies, mainly Villages or Hamlets (if incorporated). We reasoned if the data doesn't support doing village reductions, it should show, but if the data supports Village Dissolution that should also be apparent as well. And if reduction is the best answer for NYS Residents than the ECNA will back that effort fully.

Here's how we did our analysis... it starts with a Master Data Table







Once we have the data collected we start using Microsoft Excel Graphing to show what are outliers, data points that are far exceeding others in the same data set, on both the high and low ends. We used current data if possible, but also used Census Data from 2010 for population numbers. Wiki is a great source for Municipality sizes.

Town & Village budgets numbers are a mix of older years, 2017-18, and others are recent 2019-20. Most of that depended on how transparent each Town or Village was with their Annual Budgets. The ECNA did contact a few Villages for budget info as well since they were least transparent. While some Town & Village budget numbers may be off by small amounts the overall data will not be affected greatly.

Just want to be clear.. we didn't take budget numbers to the "penny" because pennies don't matter when you thousands of dollars are being wasted.

Here's what some of the graphed data look like... and we recently updated for the Village of Holley, NY




As you can see the numbers do not bode well for Erie Canal Villagers. Those graphs have very different monetary amounts, Thousands to Millions of dollars per Sq. Mile. Most Villagers along the Erie Canal, as well as Town Residents, rarely get a comparison view of how their towns stack up to others in cost, size etc. But if you were trying to understand if your tax money was being spent wisely & efficiently how else could it be done?

One of our favorite views of data is Cost by Resident...because at the end of the day that is what matters to a taxpayer household. And this graph shows EXACTLY why the State of NY came up with this Government Reduction Act. If someone bought a house in a Village, they are now trapped into much higher cost than the folks in the Town around them. Until the Govt Reduction Act their only recourse was to move. Now they can rally, petition the Village for a Dissolution Vote and start the process of making Town AND Village Taxes more equitable to all.



Here's more graph data that we like to show... it's a potential of savings based on historical numbers by simply dividing the Taxes Saved by the number of Households in a Village. Actual saving for Villagers would be based on the assessed value of the property used to create the current Annual Village Tax bill for each household... but it does show savings. And we also compared Towns to Towns & Villages in a special graph.




IN CONCLUSION:
So there you have it... it's starts as an idea, it gets put onto paper, and data is collected. After that it just analyzing and comparing to see who operates the best, who's wasting taxpayer money needlessly and where changes and improvements could be possible. You can view the data like we do, make your own determination on what it means, but in the end the data proves, with doubt, that Village Municipalities may have outlived their usefulness and now have become an UNFAIR burden to those who live withing their small footprints.

Something to consider when residents & neighbors in your Erie Canal Village knock on your door asking for signatures to Support NYS Government Reduction and dissolve the village to stop the tax madness.

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The answer to Mr. Caswell's concern is simple...and already been addressed here in New York State. It's called the NY Government Reorganization & Citizen Empowerment Act (NYGRACE) a new law to help residents out when excessive government is making it too costly for NY Residents.

The Caswell home lies in Town of Perinton, AND the Village of Fairport, which earns him, like most Erie Canal Village residents, a "double" tax payment. One to the Village and the other to the Town/County. And of course there is the School tax as well.

And Mike Caswell is not alone... just about every resident in Pittsford & Perinton is paying way above the average for Town Municipal services compared to similar townships along the Erie Canal.

The problem is that canal Village Municipalities will ALWAYS be disadvantaged in serving the public efficiently, compared to the Townships those villages are part of. This is especially true for Villages along the Erie Canal, some of the oldest in New York State. It's a result of "redundant" government & overhead needed to manage an area of land.

The graph below shows there are two Towns who need to explain why their costs are so much higher than the others with similar demographics.  Village Officials should take notice that this type of information will not sit well with the small groups of residents they serve. Can anyone working in Leadership of a Village explain the benefits of staying incorporated as a Village given how lopsided this data looks for them?


Towns & Villages are compared by Annual Budgets. Physical size of the Towns & Villages and the number of residents that live in these areas are listed by name, with area highlighted in red and associated populations as a separate graph bar.



As the graph shows there are areas of concern comparing Town to Town data. Seems  a few towns are not running very effectively in how the residents are served, and what value residents are receiving for Tax Dollars they spend.

Also what is shown is how disproportional the Villages Annual Operating Cost are in comparison to the Towns they are located within. Combined Village budgets exceed those of the towns even though those Villages have far less area to manage, about 5%, and only a third of the total population that Towns have to care for.

Here's a cost breakdown PER RESIDENT for Towns & Villages between Buffalo & Syracuse



Because of situations JUST LIKE THIS,  New York State passed a law in 2010 (NYGRACE) to empower citizens to start their own efforts to reduce government layers and reorganize local municipalities to gain efficiency and lower overall taxes paid. Because of the obvious fact that some Village Officials may be reluctant to "dissolve themselves" away, NY State enabled Village RESIDENTS to ask for a Vote of Dissolution that could force the Village to consider the proposal. It's meant to help eliminate the burden of small VILLAGE government on NY Citizens by giving the power back to them to push for Reorganization or Dissolution of unnecessary layers of bureaucracy.

This website explains the purpose and idea behind this consolidation.

https://www.dos.ny.gov/lg/publications/ConsolidationDissolutionLaw.pdf

There have been studies on the NY Govt. Consolidation process and several Villages have voluntarily dissolved to save their residents undue hardship, They have consolidate services, and now have their Townships take the lead role in managing municipal services for the residents living in those villages. Some villages have put the Village Dissolution question up for a vote, as directed by the NYGRACE Act. Some village votes have resulted in Villages dissolving, and others have not, when voting was in favor of keeping villages in place.

How could anyone could ignore the obvious fact that Villages Leaders are overcharging their residents compared to what the Townships have already demonstrated is possible? Is it good business for those Villages to turn a blind eye to this fact? Is it in the best interest of the residents those Village Leaders serve to ignore the fact they have perhaps become more burden than benefit?

If given a choice, most Village Officials will be unwilling to put themselves out of a job and dissolve their villages voluntarily. That is covered in a nice study on this topic, by the Rockefeller Institute of Government.

https://rockinst.org/issue-area/dissolving-village-government-in-new-york-state/



Here is a website devoted to explaining the various branches of NYS Government and the role of County, City, Town & Village,

https://www.dos.ny.gov/lg//handbook/html/village_government.html 

Finally, there is a NYGRACE Handbook Guide that is available to help facilitate the dissolution & consolidation of a Village. What is interesting to note is the section on Taxes.

https://www.brockportny.org/files/NYCOM_document_on_dissolution.pdf 





Here's a nice website as well... it outlines the importance of preparing a proper petition for a public vote and why. 

http://labergegroup.com/2017/02/08/village-dissolution/ 




MOVING FORWARD WITH VILLAGE DISSOLUTION:

Sadly, the issue of poorly run, inefficient, village governments is once again just going to divide neighbors, put villagers at odds with each other and maybe pit Town vs Town or Town vs Village. Many opposing canal change will make their own 'facts' up, deny the issue with Village Operation cost, and try to play on the sympathy of Canal Life being "lost". That was the case with the recent work being done by the Canal Corporation on it's Erie Canal Earthen Embankment Integrity Program work, some will fight just "because".

Many Canal Villagers will fight change tooth & nail, not because they think it's best to keep an expensive Village in place. They will resist this change, like most, because they are scared of the "unknown".

What would life be like without the Canal Village they have had all these years...? I know the answer to that one...

Life without Brockport, without Fairport & Pittsford, life with any NY village DISSOLVED will be far less expensive for the residents & taxpayers unfortunate enough to have homes within the limits of an Incorporated Erie Canal Village

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Village and Town Taxes / A new wave or is it a tsunami?
« Last post by Michael Caswell on February 20, 2020, 05:19:25 pm »
My property is on the canal, with a great view. I expect to pay a little more for that privilege, but the recent hike in property tax because of what I consider a frivolous waste of money on the school budget ( a mere $65,000,000), I started to look at what was going on.

Monroe public records show that in 2004, the taxes on my house were $3050. In 2014 they were $11266, in 2019 they were $13129.  Those increases average out to a rise of $635 each and every year, and this is before my share of the $65,000,000 is added.

Where will it end?  Is it going to stop? Please tell me someone is going to apply some brakes here and apply some common sense and stop these increases!

No answers?  None of our government officials have anything to say? No ideas?

If that is the case, then lets assume the increases will continue at a similar rate, a rise of $635 each year.
* fairport taxes.xlsx (10.14 kB - downloaded 5 times.)

In 2030 the taxes on my property will be $18934 a year, or $364 a week.

I think this will make my property's value decrease as there will be many less people willing to take on this burden. At the least, it will negatively effect my property and it won't increase as fast as many others.  It's an inheritance my children probably don't want, and likely many other families in the village will feel the same way.
People are leaving New York in droves because of these outrageous taxes. I'm too old to want to pick up and move, and why should I? I like my house and spent lots of time getting it the way I wanted it. But, I, like so many others, never expected this tax Tsunami to hit me.

I know several neighbors who have moved or are thinking of moving because of these outrageous taxes. Many seniors are on a fixed budget, and have been effectively thrown out of their homes. Doesn't anyone realise how devastating this is?

https://ecna.createaforum.com/village-and-town-taxes/the-ny-government-reorganization-citizen-empowerment-act-to-the-rescue/msg950/#msg950
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General ECNA Discussion / Updated ECNA Website is up and running, Check it out
« Last post by Doug K on February 16, 2020, 08:09:28 pm »
It's finally coming together, if you haven't seen it take a look, the new "improved" Erie Canal Neighbor's Association website

https://ecna.us/

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I've included the post from Facebook, just so folks will not think the ECNA is "reading" more into this post than what's there.



Not sure where to start but to say that once again the minority speaks and believes THEY have the answer... when they don't even understand the issues.

Complex issues, like NYS Canal System Safety, are solved by asking many questions and also understanding what's NOT being stated, and for what reasons. This group, it's leaders, and all who subscribe to this rhetoric of safety denial, simply don't care about their communities, for what reason, we don't know.

Once again what you hear is simple in their post... The STCC doesn't like the message, or the messenger, and it seems they have Pittsford Leaders agreeing

This fact has become rather obvious as times goes on...

Case in Point... Unsafe Earthen Embankment Dams.

Having unsafe earthen embankments in our communities is NOT a good thing, and it's not something people can simply "ignore" because they don't want to talk about them or because they don't like the answer on what makes them safe again. That is what this Facebook group and it's Leaders have done, and now they want to convince town & village leaders in Pittsford to do the same.

This group must not think that the safety of residents in these towns matters much, most likely because they live above the flood zones.

They also must not believe that homeowners, who's properties border the canal, have a right to peace of mind knowing their "neighbor's property" next door, won't flood them.

They must not care that people living below unsafe embankments, and in the Flood Hazard Zones those dams create, may be burdened with Flood Insurance premiums to insure they are compensated in the event of a canal breach.

In fact this group still doesn't want to discuss public safety at all, mainly because it puts the existence of their entire group & cause in jeopardy.

So they pedal their message to any and all who are like them, resistant to change and ignorant of the facts & truth regarding Earthen Dam Safety. And they don't go to their own neighborhoods to do this, they choose instead to go to communities they don't live in but have convinced those Town's Leaders to follow their message "because is best for everyone". It's certainly not better for homeowners who have to disclose an "unsafe canal dam" next to their property if they want to sell it someday.

This "environmental" group is pulling the wool over everyone's eyes, and don't care a bit about any facts but the ones they make up.

The tactics of the Stop the Canal Clear-cut group didn't work in Brockport, or Medina, and it didn't work in Albion either. Those communities each had visits by the STCC group, or it's members, and "opted out" of their message. These west-side communities chose the path of public safety for their canal neighborhoods, over a message to ignore the words "unsafe dams" that the Facebook group has been spreading since it started.

MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS:

Has anyone else wondered why these Stop the Canal Change (STCC) Leaders are going two towns over from their own canal community to talk about the canal, when their own town has 11 miles of it passing through?

Has anyone asked why they are coming from Fairport to the Pittsford area to spread their message?

Why aren't they trying to convince their own community leaders about all this "terrible work" from the Canal Corporation? Why are they not talking to their own Mayor & Supervisor about fighting the Reimagine Canals Program or resist getting unsafe canal embankments repaired?

Well that's simple...   Fairport & Perinton have learned that improving PUBLIC SAFETY isn't something you try to argue against. The Fairport Office of Community & Economic Development has already come out in FAVOR of the efforts to Reimagine the Canals as a safer, more profitable business model for NY State. The Village Officials in Fairport understand that unsafe embankments can't be allowed to remain in our communities, those unsafe earthen dams are keeping Erie Canal Neighbors in Perinton & Fairport under the threat of flooding, holding their quaint canal town hostage until the safety issues get repaired.

Go look for yourself, here's Fairport's answer.. Support the Reimagine the Canals work... for the best interest of Fairport.

https://fairportoced.org/ 

https://twitter.com/FairportOCED




Pittsford's residents, both Town & Village, should be VERY alarmed when people come from neighboring towns & villages trying to convince Pittford's Town & Village leaders that the canal is "safe" and that any efforts to improve it are a "bad thing" to do. These residents should be asking the same questions the ECNA has been for almost two years of this group...

What is the Stop the Canal Clearcut's answer to fixing UNSAFE NYS CANAL EMBANKMENTS that are threatening the safety of all Erie Canal Neighbors?

Folks, don't hold your breath waiting for that answer, all you will get is a denial of the truth about NYS Canal Safety, by a group & its leaders that don't want to face facts. If that happened then they would also have to explain to their followers how "blind" they have been to that truth about safety.

The Leaders of the STCC boost about a group 600+ strong.. that's quite a bit of disappointment if the leaders have not been forthright about the most important topic of all when it comes to the Canal... that the waterway & all it's structures are safe for the surrounding public to use.

The Canal Corporation HAS already given us ALL a message, Constructive Notice... The NYS Canal Embankments are UNSAFE, anyone living near it should take heed of the warning.

ERIE CANAL CHANGE
NY State has seen a constant churn of change along the Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor for over 200 years. It started in 1818 when the idea of a canal crossing the state first became a reality. That churn continued through 3 expansions of the waterway, with the last one taking place about 100 years ago when the NY Barge Canal was made. Now our generation, in 2020,  is faced with new simple truths about this 200 year old canal system... It's unsafe, falling apart, and losing money... and something needs to change.

We can either change those new truths and fix the canal, or think it's all a farce and listen to a group advocating for NO CHANGES.

Embankments will still be unsafe until the RIGHT choice is made...


Pittsford Residents... this is what change means to your community... this is what the Reimagine the Canals programs wants to bring to your town & village. This is also the same for Fairport... this is what the new owners of the NYS Canal System have in mind to resurrect the canal

https://youtu.be/VAHWJyMVtDc


But this lovely Canal Winterscape might NOT become a reality for Pittsford, if this Facebook Group has anything to say about it. And they are working very hard to convince your Mayor & Supervisor to follow them down this rabbit hole into still more STCC Rhetoric

It's up to you Pittsford... Brighton...

Time to act for the best interests of your communities before the decision is given to others NOT from Pittsford

Go take a look at the Reimagine the Canals effort on our website  https://ecna.us/reimagine/
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Here's the latest from the STCC web page.

It seems Maier and Agte are still battling along with the mayor and town supervisor.

Elizabeth R. Agte
posted 12 feb

Virginia Borden Maier and I had a very informative meeting with Pittsford Town Supervisor Bill Smith and Pittsford Village Mayor Robert Corby. We all agree that NYPA has no business being in charge of the Canal Corporation, and that the Reimagine the Canal projects are smoke and mirrors. We keep circling back to why the governor is willing to spend $300 million on projects no one wants, and donít honor the historic value of the canal. Why would the state build new infrastructure when itís done a bad job of maintaining what we have? As we have said so many times in the past, and as the mayor said today, we have a 524 mile park that needs to be nurtured, not torn apart, or segmented and drained.
Image may contain: sky, tree, outdoor and nature


What amazes me is that they think no one wants this project to succeed, but they are SO wrong. The more people I talk to, the more I realize the message is getting out. Folks are liking the Re-imagine project and do understand why the canal corp is clearing these dangerous embankments.

What is it that these two men don't understand? Is it that they can't read the documents put out by FEMA, ASDSO and USACE?

I can understand a group of environmental "wannabees", with no technical expertise on this crusade, but these two community leaders joining in, that baffles me.

Are they not concerned about how these unsafe Canal Embankments may affect the people they are supposed to serve in their community?

Are they not concerned that the Towns People they represent may be required to get Flood Insurance if they live near or below these dams?

Are they not worried that "denying safety" doesn't resolve the FACT that Canal Embankments in their community are classified as Hazardous?

Ah well!
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Just an FYI: Work continues on correcting unsafe embankment dam issues along the NYS Canal System



Just out... a new, updated schedule for the NY Canal Corp's Earthen Embankment Integrity Program or EEIP for short. Here's a copy of the original schedule that appeared on their website page when it was released.




The new schedule seems to better define the period from the Release of the SEQR Determination on EEIP last October (2019) right up to when the  new Embankment Clearing Guidebook will be ready for the 2020 Embankment Integrity Work season (Nov - Mar)





For more information on the NY Canal Corporation, it's Embankment Program, or the work being done to Reimagine the Canals please go visit our new website at https://ecna.us/


EMBANKMENT INTEGRITY - https://ecna.us/eeip/

REIMAGINE THE CANALS - https://ecna.us/reimagine/

CANAL FACTS & INFO - https://ecna.us/canal-facts-info/

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How appropriate that this is the Merriam-Webster Word of the Day:

https://www.merriam-webster.com/word-of-the-day



Used in a sentence...The entire premise the Stop the Canal Clearcut Facebook group has built it's platform of resistance upon, has been a "CANARD" started by it's Founding Members.


What's Wrong with this Picture?
The issue from the start with the Erie Canal Embankment work has been simple. The Canal Corporation started talking about an embankment safety issue with it's neighbors. They explained about dams, safe dams, and how they will make their unsafe dams become safe ones. Most neighbors, those living BELOW these embankments in danger, listened and agreed that safety was the key, and the work had to be done.

Some people, who weren't included in the conversations because they are NOT neighbors decided they didn't like to talk about Dam Safety. They pulled the famous Triple D move... Deny - Distract - Dis-information. This group understood this was about safety, PUBLIC safety, but decided to change the subject. The have DENIED there is a safety issue from the start, they have DISTRACTED everyone by changing the subject to Trees & the Environment and then they started their DISINFORMATION campaign by ignoring current embankment dam safety requirements and building their "House of Canards"

All being led by the "Canardian in Chief"  Ms Agte herself. And once again they have started another whining campaign about this whole thing. All of this should be taken with a grain of salt...and that old saying applies... "Consider the Source"

Here's some advice from a group that is in the conversation with the Canal Corporation about Embankments:

Acknowledge there is a SAFETY issue on the Embankments along the NYS Canal System... that's where all conversations have to start
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