JAMESTOWN – The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities has now allocated more than $400,000 to cover legal fees as the City of Jamestown continues its fight for the annexation of a BPU substation property on Dow Street in Falconer.
The BPU is being represented by Bond, Schoenek & King, a law firm based in Albany. During a session with reporters following Monday night’s City Council Voting Session, Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi said that he doesn’t see the fees stopping anytime soon.
“Probably not, and it’s greatly unfortunate. I can only imagine what the other side has been spending for legal bills on this challenge,” Teresi said. “It’s their right to challenge it. We think it’s a challenge without merit, and we have to go in to defend ourselves against the challenge.”
“We have a pretty talented, significant, professional staff of legal counsel and engineers and development people who have been doing a lot of the ground work for the legal team, and I would imagine a similar level of work is being done on the other side, possibly without the same type of personnel resources we have available to us as a bigger community.”
Teresi said that in early February, the BPU’s legal counsel has to provide all of its paperwork to the NYS Fourth Appealate Division. Two weeks after that, according to Teresi, the Village of Falconer, Town of Ellicott and Falconer Central School has to provide their paperwork.
Teresi explained that the court has decided to have separate submission dates, which will allow the BPU to review the opponent’s filing and amend their own. The Mayor said that the BPU has learned that oral arguments, with attorneys only, are scheduled for April.
Should the losing side appeal, the State’s Court of Appeals would hear the case.
When asked if the BPU’s legal counsel is expecting a victory, or if he’s asked for a victory declaration, Teresi said that he’s not looking for guarantees.
“Lawyers will never give you that type of assurance,” Teresi said. “I’ve learned, over the years, not to seek that type of assurance or proclamation because we have a three-branch government. The judicial system has a job to do, and quite often, they do it and it’s not in align, and sometimes it is in align, with what we feel is right and what we expect.”