Reasons Town, Village, School Oppose Annexation

The Town of Ellicott, Village of Falconer and Falconer Central School adamantly oppose a plan by the City of Jamestown to annex the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities Dow Street Substation parcels, and have engaged a mutual law firm to oppose this annexation attempt by the City of Jamestown. We believe this is nothing more than a “land grab,” which merely shifts the tax revenues from our three local municipalities to the city.

¯ Based on 2016/17 tax levies for each of the municipalities, the Village of Falconer and Town of Ellicott would respectively lose $68,789 and $33,955 annually, and assuming the annexation would cede these parcels to the Jamestown Public School District, Falconer Schools would lose $153,828 annually. This would create a significant loss to the tax base, with a resulting assessment greater than the New York state-imposed tax levy limit. Each municipality is limited to the tax cap based on the start date of their respective budgets. The allowable tax increase for the district in the 2017-18 school year is 1.126 percent ($71,000), leaving the district with a shortfall of almost $83,000; requiring the district to receive 60 percent majority passage to approve an even larger tax increase to make up the shortfall. The Village of Falconer, town of Ellicott and Falconer Central School District continue to propose fiscally responsible budgets. However, the loss of this revenue stream would require tax increases in excess of our tax caps, or significant expenditure cuts, resulting in the likely loss or reduction of funding to support community services, such as the Falconer Fire Department, town of Ellicott Police Department and educational staffing and programming. The impact on our communities will be far greater than the benefits the city might gain.

¯ In addition to the tax burden shift from the City of Jamestown to the town of Ellicott, the towns of Gerry, Poland, Ellington and Carroll would also feel an adverse effect.

¯ To better serve our communities, each of our municipalities share services and provide support to the others. The town of Ellicott Police Department and Falconer Fire Department and EMS squads routinely provide support to the City of Jamestown.

¯ Assemblyman Goodell, Senator Young and County Executive Horrigan do not support the attempted annexation, for which the sole purpose is to shift the tax burden from the city of Jamestown to the taxpayers of the village of Falconer, Falconer Schools and the town of Ellicott.

¯ We find it disheartening that the city would seek to garner revenues by pulling resources from their local neighbors. It’s obvious from Mayor Teresi’s statement, “we’re leaving no stone unturned,” suggests that the City is running out of options regarding their constant budgetary woes. We strongly believe that this is not in the best interest of the surrounding Townships, and focused solely on the city of Jamestown’s inability to stabilize their budget!

James Rensel is mayor of the village of Falconer. Patrick McLaughlin is Ellicott town supervisor. Stephen Penhollow is Falconer Central School superintendent.