FALCONER – The Town of Ellicott, Village of Falconer and the Falconer Central School District are still awaiting a docket date for a hearing on the proposed annexation of a substation on Dow Street.
Ellicott Town Supervisor Patrick W. McLaughlin told WNYNewsNow Thursday that the case is at the mercy of the State Supreme Court Appellate schedule, but that losing the property would have serious consequences for the town, village and school district.
The city is planning to annex the Board of Public Utilities Dow Street Substation.
“I can’t tell you what a top priority this is,” McLaughlin said. “When our court date becomes available, I’m going to let everybody know.”
There are only two options for the town and village if the case is lost, neither one good, he said.
The town and village would have to either raise taxes above the tax cap or make cuts to services they provide. It looms even worse for the school district because it is never allowed to tax more than the tax cap so it would be forced to make drastic cuts to programs, McLaughlin said.
“You would either go above the tax cap or cut like hell and hope you survive,” he said, adding that $35,000 is a “big hit for us.”
Once the case is scheduled, McLaughlin said it will be his chance, and that of Falconer Mayor James Rensel and Falconer Central School Superintendent Steven Penhollow, to explain the issue to the judges.
McLaughlin stressed that cooperation between neighboring governments, such as shared services, benefit all the taxpayers in the area.
“Maybe it’s my upbringing, but you don’t treat your neighbors that way,” he said. He noted cooperation with the City of Jamestown is not what it once was.
The school district would lose about $165,000 if the annexation takes place, he said.
Last year, Rensel addressed the Jamestown City Council and called the annexation “nothing more than a money grab.”
He went on to say the annexation process was not discussed at the time between himself and Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi.
At the time, Teresi said he was advised by legal council not to discuss the matter with the impacted facilities, especially when the municipalities were threatening to take legal action.