Shelby Town Supervisor Looks for Solutions
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"I was born here,” said Merle Draper, Shelby Town Supervisor. “Was born at 211 Williams Street, I currently live at 210. Made a big move across the street once in my life."
"I haven't moved too far,” he said. “Everything I have is in the Town of Shelby, Village of Medina."
For 52 years, the Town of Shelby has been Draper's home.
"It's me,” he said with a laugh.
So it's understandable when the town supervisor says it pains him that he and fellow residents suffer from the highest property tax rate in the area.
"It's a heavy burden, and honestly, until the problem is addressed, it can only get worse."
But Draper says he's nearly powerless to address it himself.
"I can only give you an answer for six-percent of the total,” he said. “The Town of Shelby is six-percent of the total. If we took the town's tax burden out of the total, they're still at the top of the list."
Draper cannot control the school and village tax from Medina. Together, they make up more than 75-percent of the tax burden; the school, nearly 50-percent alone.
In May, the school district told YNN they were doing everything they could to control taxes. Draper calls it, "problematic."
The other problem, Draper says, is the loss of industries. Over the past few decades, several big industries have left the Shelby area; including notably, the Fisher-Price factory that used to be here. Loss of industries, leads to loss of people, which then leads to loss of retail business. Draper says it all seems like one, big, endless cycle.
"You know, we have to collectively look at services that can be shared,” Draper said. “Really a heightened degree of shared services."
Shelby already shares its assessments, zoning and courts with other municipalities, saving thousands of dollars each year. Draper pleads with others to follow suit. He sees it as the only way for his small town to survive.
Otherwise, Draper said the cycle will continue.
"Property tax chases businesses away; when businesses leave, jobs leave; the tax base shrinks; property taxes go up."