You pull off I-90 on Exit 59 and turn left, heading south. On your left is Movieplex. On your right is Wal-Mart. On your left is Valu Home Center. Yet all three businesses are in three different municipalities, with three different tax bases. (Movieplex is in the town of Dunkirk; Wal-Mart is the village of Fredonia; and Valu Home Center is the town of Pomfret.)
Pomfret Supervisor Don Steger is upset with the village of Fredonia because Fredonia is charging businesses on the east side of Route 60 three times the water rate than the businesses on the west. That means Pizza Hut has to pay three times the water rate that McDonald's does.
Steger should complain on behalf of Pizza Hut. But McDonald's should complain even louder. Because although they're only paying one-third the water rate of Pizza Hut, McDonald's is paying village taxes and Pizza Hut doesn't have to. In fact, no business on the east side has to pay village taxes. So how is that logical? How is that fair? About 10 years ago Country Fair moved from one side of Route 60 to the other. Yes, their new location is much larger, but in the process they were able to drop a tax base.
So what exactly are the benefits of being in a village? Local police is often highlighted.
You mean to say that if someone was mugged on the east side of Route 60 Fredonia Police wouldn't respond, but if someone was mugged on the west side they would? How ridiculous does that sound? What do you do if there's a car accident - measure which side of the paved road they're on to decide whose responsibility it is?
Last August, Fredonia Mayor Steve Keefe talked about creating a coterminous government - a town-village municipality. So how many times since then has the village and town boards met to discuss the issue? Exactly zero.
If there was a coterminous government, Pizza Hut's water rate would be the same as McDonald's. But also, McDonald's taxes wouldn't be paying a village and town tax, while Pizza Hut only pays a town tax (let alone school and county tax - but that's another story).
Remember, this isn't just about businesses, either.
A coterminous government would eliminate the need to have Pomfret bill its residents for water at a higher rate. Fredonia residents wouldn't be forced to pay a village tax when town residents don't.
Village and town officials need to stop meeting to discuss issues like water billing and start discussing ways to eliminate a layer of government. Anything else is a waste of time.