The next hearing date in the matter of annexation of the Jamestown Public Service Board Dow Street Substation between the Town of Jamestown and the Town of Ellicott, the Village of Falconer and the Central School District of Falconer was fixed.
According to the department’s Fourth Appeal Division website, ad4.nycourts.gov, the next court date will be January 4, 2022. The court hearing will focus on the appeal filed by the City of Ellicott against the November 2020 ruling of State Supreme Court Justice Lynn Keane. decision.
Keane ruled against two issues raised by the City of Ellicott – that the substation adjoins the city as required by general state municipal law and that the appraiser’s certificate attached to the annexation petition satisfied the requirements of general municipal state law.
An argument made by Ellicott officials over the past five years is that Tiffany Avenue is a village-maintained county road, which they say forms a barrier between the substation and the city limits. , making the substation non-contiguous with Jamestown. This reasoning is based on a county tax map, but Keane ruled that the property proposed for annexation extended to the center line of Tiffany Avenue, where it abuts the existing municipal boundary of the city and not the BPU plot.
Falconer and Ellicott also argued that an affidavit signed by former city assessor Kevin Okerlund did not expressly state that the property to be annexed extended to the center line of Tiffany Avenue. Keane ruled that the Okerlund affidavit was more than sufficient under general municipal state law.
Elliot Raimondo, the town’s legal counsel, said if the Appeal Division upholds Keane’s decision that Ellicott would then have two options. They can accept the appeal division’s decision, and then the tribunal will set up a panel to judge whether the annexation is in the general public interest or not. Additionally, Ellicott could appeal the Appeal Division’s decision to the state’s highest court – the New York State Court of Appeals.
“It will depend on what happens on January 4th”, Raimondo spoke of the next step in the annexation case.
The annexation case between the entities has seen its ups and downs, with more than a year of waiting between hearings. In 2019, a three-member panel from the Fourth Department rejected the city’s annexation request for a technical detail, ruling that the city had not filed its first court cases with the state’s Supreme Court in a 30-day period prescribed by state law. In this 2019 decision, the Appeal Division did not render a decision on the merits of the case.
The Board of Public Utilities and the city then began new annexation proceedings in March 2020, with the first step in the case being Keane’s decision of November 2019.
The annexation case originally began in January 2017. The BPU has sought to save money on property tax payments it makes to four entities for the Dow Street substation. In 2019, the BPU property tax payment to each of the four entities includes $ 153,262 to the Falconer Central School District; $ 73,305 to Chautauqua County; $ 72,641 to the Village of Falconer and $ 34,681 to the Town of Ellicott – a total of $ 333,889.
If the annexation is approved, the City of Jamestown and the Public School District of Jamestown would each begin receiving an additional tax match payment of approximately $ 78,600 per year from the BPU, which amounts to 157,200 $. The BPU would save about $ 177,000 per year in property taxes if the annexation was approved.