Dear Rush residents,
I am concerned about the Town of Rush. We presently have positive growth, which is good. At a recent Rush Town board meeting it was announced there was interest by a developer to build 4 – 6 hundred new homes in Rush. Others have been approached with similar offers. Look to Lima and the Walmart issue. We are at a critical stage; what will Rush look like in five years?
This leads to the question, do we have the will and ability to manage our future? So what do we do?
– Participate, pay attention and be proactive. Make a point to attend the various town meetings. Participatory democracy makes for stronger communities.
– I propose all voting and proposals for the School District be done during the May budget vote or fall general election which would maximize the potential turn out.
– It would benefit the residents of our town to have the Rush Town Website updated in a timely fashion with agenda’s, minutes, attendance and voting records for all town boards. For those without a computer, I encourage you to visit the town hall or the new Rush library to obtain information that impacts your community. This also means checking it regularly and discussing issues with friends and neighbors.
– The Rush Democratic Committee (rushdemocrats.org) purchased and donated the “American Farmland Trust Guide to Local Planning for Agriculture in New York” to the library. I encourage board members and Rush residents and farmers to review this guide. There is a wealth of information with tips for evaluating a town’s attitude toward planning.
– Support the local farm and business owners in the town of Rush.
So how does this all tie together? It’s your money and your resolve.
Did you like your assessment? Do you know the issues? Let’s look at the money.
Your property assessment determines how much revenue is for the state. Are you aware that the local assessor works for the state but is hired by the town, yet the town has no control over the assessor’s numbers? Below are the tax numbers for a $150,000.00 home in Rush.
$3,043.00 (20.20%) school
$1,972.00 (13.15%) county
$637.00 (4.25%) town
$172.00 (1.15%) fire
What drives these numbers? One problem we have is COMIDA (County of Monroe Industrial Development Agency). Its stated goal is to level the playing field by offering tax breaks and incentives to encourage growth. On February 9th, 2006, Henrietta Town Supervisor James Breese was quoted in the Henrietta Post saying his constituents paid $504.00 extra in taxes from 2000-2004 to offset COMIDA. The organization Metro Justice claims that Monroe County schools forgave $11 million dollars in tax revenue and 593 jobs were not delivered. Small businesses are left high and dry while others get help at our expense. Why should COMIDA recipients not pay for education or deliver promises made?
Another factor is our participation. Last December only 5% of registered voters decided on a 20 million-dollar building renovation plan for the Rush-Henrietta schools. Whether you were for or against it, that’s a horrible turnout.
Development costs money. On average, developed property can cost a town in services needed $1.25 per dollar or more out of every tax dollar. Undeveloped can be as low as $.50 cents. These are realistic numbers from case studies all around Western New York.
An often-overlooked business is the working farm.
In 2004 New York State farms sold more than 3.6 billion dollars in farm products and spent nearly 2.8 billion on production expenses, much of which stayed in New York. I recently attended a public meeting in Lima featuring American Farmland Trust (farmland.org). Topics included Development rights, Agricultural districts, lot sizes as well as town strategies to manage all of this. This event attracted a large number of participants and the speaker discussed the facts and misconceptions about farming.
I believe all these issues interweave. Should we stop new construction? Should farm owners be penalized for selling land? These aren’t fair or practical measures. We do need to channel our energies into positive solutions to benefit the Rush I think most of us would like to see. Remember why we live and raise our families here and let’s enjoy the wonderful landscapes.
Town Leader of the Rush Democratic Committee
The Rush democratic committee always welcomes new participants.
Download .PDF version of this letter here.
Dear Rush residents,