By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register — MEDINA — Discussions of potential shared services between the village and town governments will resume Monday, but Medina is still waiting for an announcement on grant funding that would provide an accelerant in the process of honing in on possible cost savings.
The village applied in July for a $50,000 Local Government Consolidation grant. Mayor Andrew Meier confirmed Thursday that the Department of State has not yet awarded the funding.
The grant would be used to cover a majority of the costs for a plan mapping out the implementation of a village dissolution into Ridgeway and Shelby or a potential single entity encompassing all three municipalities.
It is also an important step in giving village residents, who would have the final say on any major municipal alteration.
”We can’t put an abstract idea on the ballot,” Meier said.
While the plan would provide an important resource for local leaders, Meier, Shelby Supervisor Skip Draper and Ridgeway Supervisor Brian Napoli said there are areas where they can continue to explore efficiencies without any structural changes to their municipalities.
”We’re talking about ways, with or without dissolution, to more closely work together and save costs,” Meier said.
Members of each municipality’s boards will hold their monthly shared services discussion at 7 p.m. Monday in the Shelby Town Hall. The focus of the public gathering is to look at highway and water services.
Last month’s discussions led to narrowing in on the potential to share a single water clerk between the three municipalities and the need to bring in the views of each municipality’s highway department head man.
Napoli said that Medina Public Works Chief Pete Houseknecht, Shelby Highway Superintendent Mike Fuller and Ridgeway Highway Superintendent Mark Goheen already know how to make the most of each other’s services.
”What’s funny is that the state is asking us to look at these things, and we do a lot of it already without formal contracts and agreements,” Napoli said.
The joint-municipal committee is going through the recommendations issued last year by the Medina-Ridgeway-Shelby Study Committee one-by-one, but the effort is gaining momentum after getting off to a slow start in June.
Draper said that there’s no reason not to keeping pursuing consolidation of services.
”I feel it’s our duty as stewards of taxpayer money to explore ways to either deliver services for less money or share them to improve the (quality of) service,” Draper said. “We have to look at both.”Contact reporter Jim Krencik at 798-1400, ext. 6327.