Decision Yet To Be Made On Substation Annexation

There is still no decision from the Fourth Department Appellate Division in Rochester on the annexation of the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities Dow Street substation.

On Friday, the Appellate Division was scheduled to possibly release a decision, but no decision was released.

According to the Appellate Division release date schedule, a decision could have first been released by the court either April 26 or May 3 following the hearing held April 10. According to the Appellate Division website, nycourts.gov/courts/ad4, it states that if no decision is released, the appeal or proceeding is still pending before the court and to check subsequent decision-order release dates. The next release date for the court was June 7, but no annexation decision was released with the other cases the court did rule on.

Last month, Sam Teresi, Jamestown mayor, said city officials have been given no information from the courts about why an annexation decision was not released during the first scheduled release date.

The next proposed release date for Appellate Court decisions is Friday, June 28.

On April 10, oral arguments were made in the annexation case pitting the city of Jamestown against the town of Ellicott, village of Falconer and Falconer Central Schools.

The proposed annexation of the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities Dow Street substation located in the town of Ellicott and the village of Falconer, bordering the city, has been an ongoing case for more than two years.

If the annexation is approved, the BPU would save around $157,000 in property tax payments annually and the city and the Jamestown Public School District would each start to receive tax equivalency payments of around $79,000 from the BPU.

Officials in Falconer and Ellicott have publicly stated they are against the annexation proposal because it would cost them tax revenue. Currently, the BPU pays a total of around $325,000 in property tax payments to the village of Falconer ($69,000); town of Ellicott ($34,000); Falconer Central Schools ($154,000); and Chautauqua County ($69,000).

It has been 23 months since the city of Jamestown passed a resolution to annex the substation in August 2017. In September 2017, both the town and village Falconer boards voted against the annexation, which lead to the case being decided by the Appellate Court.

In January, the BPU approved a change order of $125,000 for the payment for the law firm — Bond, Schoeneck & King — to handle the case for the city. Since January 2017, when the BPU initiated the annexation case, the city-owned utility has paid $405,000 in legal fees.

In January, Stephen Penhollow, Falconer Central Schools superintendent, told The Post-Journal the year-to-date cost paid to Harris Beach, the law firm hired to handle the annexation case for the village, town and school district, is $202,683. Anna Fales, Falconer village clerk, said the village has paid around $93,000 in legal fees. Mike Erlandson, former Ellicott town clerk, said the town has funded $24,131 toward the case. The total for all three entities is $319,814 in legal fees.