The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

September 25, 2013

Transient business law is adopted

By HOWARD BALABAN howard.balaban@journal-register.com
Medina Journal-Register

Medina Journal-Register — A local law unanimously passed by the Medina Village Board at its meeting Monday night will affect visiting businesses to the area in the future.

Aimed at affecting transient businesses, the law was heavily backed by Hartway Motors and Orleans Ford. In the past couple years, the auto dealerships said their business was affected by a competing dealer’s tent sale.

The law calls for the visiting business to pay a fee for a permit. It also taxes the visiting business based on the total amount of sales, and does so at the village property tax rate. All told, a business would pay the village about 1.6 percent of its total volume of sales.

Gabrielle Barone, vice president of the Orleans Economic Development Agency, spoke during the public hearing for the law. She cited the longevity of both Hartway (over 70 years) and Orleans Ford (about 30 years) as major Medina businesses that have survived in booming and busting economies. Both, she said, have been “active, prominent” members of the business community during their time in Medina.

“Medina is a rarity, to be a community of its size it’s fortunate to have two competing active dealerships,” Barone said. Combined, the dealerships employ between 55 and 60 people, and they contribute $65,000 in property taxes and $800,000 in sales tax to the area, Barone noted.

Requiring a visiting business to pay a fee to get a permit, and asking said business to pay a little extra to set up shop, would help level the playing field among the two dealers and the visiting vendor.

“That’s the general policy behind this law,” Mayor Andrew Meier said. “The local businesses pay property taxes so the visiting businesses now have to pay little bit, too.”

The most prominent transient business affected will be the automobile tent sale held by Transitowne annually at Medina Lanes. Meier said there has also been a sale in the lot of Maple Ridge Plaza that could also be affected. 

A number of popular events in Medina are protected. For example, the spring visit of Thomas the Train falls under the category of an event sponsored by a non-profit group in the Medina Railroad Museum. The seasonal farmer’s market, which features produce grown locally, yet outside the village, is also among the listed exemptions.

The Town of Shelby has also had preliminary discussions regarding the adoption of a transient business law. 

In other village matters, Pete Houseknecht, director of the department of public works, updated the board on the ongoing water leak detection project. He said the company he has contacted to help with the project also tests for pipe integrity and can review water billing and billing software.

“Since we’re looking at a significant investment with the water tank in this project, I think it’s a good idea to roll this all into one big project,” Houseknecht said. 

More information must still be gathered for the project, he added. The price is not yet known, as the size of the village’s water pipes and the total length of each size plays a part in getting a cost estimate. Houseknecht said the quote for the project should be finalized in the coming months.

Orleans Renaissance Group President Chris Busch also spoke to the board. He showed them the ORG’s progress on the interpretive sign initiative. The project includes 10 stationary posts with large posterized signs under thick glass. Each sign will feature a different aspect of the historic downtown district.

“We want to educate visitors about our history, and showcase the high points,” Busch said. “We’d like to have them in place by the Old Tyme Christmas celebration.”

The project cost is $4,000, and Busch said the ORG has already raised $3,800. He sought village board approval Monday night to move forward with installing the signs, and they enthusiastically told him to continue with the undertaking.

Also on Monday:

• The board moved its first meeting in October from Oct. 14 to Oct. 7 due to Columbus Day. The meeting time is still slated for 5 p.m.

• Hours for Beggars Night were set for Friday, Oct. 25 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and Halloween hours were established as 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. for houses with lights on.

• Five on-call firefighters were approved.

• Approval was granted for the Medina Police Department to purchase a budgeted-for vehicle. It will now go ahead and look to buy a Police Utility Interceptor.