Medina Journal-Register — RIDGEWAY — The public hearing on the 2013 Ridgeway Town Budget drew only a small crowd, but the discussions about the $2.3 million spending plan were substantive.
The hearing focused largely on resident’s recommendations for reducing healthcare costs and increasing property values in the town — the two items that Ridgeway Town Supervisor Brian Napoli said caused increases in property taxes for both in-village and out-of-village properties.
Property values declined by approximately $295,000 in the town this year, which Napoli said where due to the “nature of the economy and the market.” Residents Maureen Blackburn and Gary Williams both said they’d like to see a more proactive effort to combat declining housing conditions.
Williams suggested that the town would benefit from having a full-time codes enforcement officer. Currently, Codes Enforcement Officer Dan Wolfe is split between Ridgeway, Shelby, Yates and Lyndonville — Napoli said Wolfe works about 1.5 days per week for the town. A backup codes workers was also brought on last year.
Blackburn said that residents play a bigger role in the problem of declining housing assessments.
“It behooves you to work more closely with your codes and zoning personnel ... so people with an interest in property and new builds can do it in Ridgeway,” said Blackburn, who praised Wolfe as being “extremely helpful” and “conscientious” in working with her property. “The problem is inconsistent interpretation of the rules. There’s people who don’t want to expand the tax base.”
Town board members said another sign of their attempts to grow the tax base was their contributions to the County EDA. The contribution, which totaled $2,500 for 2013, is used towards marketing of the town as an attractive place to locate a business.
“We’ve been told that they’ve heard that Ridgeway is one of the most business-friendly municipalities,” said Napoli, who noted the rezoning of land next to the railroad for industrial use.