A Decision About The Annexation Should Not Be Made In January
There are some who want to proceed this month with a City Council vote to move forward with annexation of the Jamestown BPU substation on Dow Street in Falconer.
Anthony Dolce, R-Ward 2 and City Council president, is advocating that council members wait until at least February or March before making a decision. The council should follow Dolce’s lead and hold off on a vote. The council has a 90-day window to cast its vote that began in December and closes near the end of March. There has only been one meeting between the city, town of Ellicott, village of Falconer and Falconer Central School District. The discussion process should be allowed to play out before council members cast their votes.
Holding off may give the council something more to deliberate than it currently has received. The legal annexation process is anything but a sure thing, as city residents learned in the first process. The city’s attorneys are confident the city will prevail in court, but it’s worth noting these are the same attorneys who didn’t file the city’s reply quickly enough in the first annexation attempt. If council members aren’t confident that the city will win an annexation case but receive a decent offer from Ellicott that results in at least some cost savings to the city, the half-measure may be worth consideration by council members and Mayor Eddie Sundquist. Some savings are better than none regardless of how one feels about the annexation proposal.
Convincing the three-person referee’s panel that annexation is in the public interest will likely require the city finding something it can give or provide to Falconer, Ellicott and the Falconer Central School District. The referee’s panel wasn’t swayed by the city’s case in the first annexation proceeding, and moving ahead with the same basic case may have the same outcome. Appellate courts tend not to approve annexations if the referee panel isn’t in favor. Good ideas may come out of the discussions that mitigate some of the concerns held by Ellicott, Falconer and the school district and perhaps lead to a different result from the referee’s panel if the council decides to move forward with the annexation process — and that wouldn’t happen if the council rushes to vote in January.
Moving forward with the annexation is not a decision that needs to be made in January.