Nothing Is Compelling About The Annexation
Having attended the recent public hearing on December 30, 2019, regarding the annexation of the Dow Street Substation that is in the Town of Ellicott, Village of Falconer, and Falconer Central School District into the City of Jamestown, I heard nothing compelling me to agree to the annexation and the reasons for it, especially since it has already been ruled that it is not in the best public interest to annex it.
Why would the City of Jamestown and BPU continue to pursue this annexation? It has already cost them over $400,000 and multiple hours to get the first ruling and now they are again going to waste even more funds having allocated $515,00 total and the manpower hours needed that are paid for by the taxpayers. Not only are they wasting their own resources, they are wasting Town of Ellicott, Village of Falconer, and Falconer School District resources. For what? Another negative ruling?
If the City of Jamestown wanted the Dow Street substation to be in Jamestown, they should have built it in Jamestown. They only had to go across Tiffany Street to the Jamestown side or on to Allen St. Ext. to be in the City. By building in Town of Ellicott, Village of Falconer, and Falconer School District they were agreeing to pay the associated taxes to these entities just like any other business and individual in that area does. Now that they don’t want to pay those taxes, they want to annex. Meanwhile they have spent more than what the taxes paid out this year were for this failed annexation that they are pursuing yet again. It was stated that the BPU was being double taxed. I would like to know how that can be since the building is not in Jamestown so shouldn’t be taxed by them.
The main point I took away from the meeting was the better police and fire protection the Jamestown Departments felt they could provide in emergency situations.
As a member of the public and relative of Kennedy Fire Department members, past and present, I took great exception to the comments made by the representatives of the Jamestown Police Department and Jamestown Fire Department that they weren’t speaking ill of the Town of Ellicott Police or the Falconer Fire Department. By stating it the way they did, it sounded like they felt they were so much more capable of handling any emergency at the BPU substation. The Town of Ellicott Police Department is nearby and the Falconer Fire Department, while it is a volunteer department like most in our area, has very well trained professionals who do know that you treat electrical fires differently than structural fires. What an insult that was to all those volunteers who put in all their time and energy into training and at their own cost at times if they miss work due to being on a call. These men and women put in hours of time that they could be spending with their families, or at church if the training is on a Sunday, and week day evenings for further training, meetings, and equipment maintenance. All these volunteers put their lives in danger, esp if they are interior firefighters. Earlier this year, 80 area volunteers gave up their Sunday for OSHA training. Remember, these are all volunteers that respond to fire and medical calls whether in their own district or in neighboring districts and they respond to the same types of calls as Jamestown Fire Department; fires, drug overdose and other medical emergencies, family disputes, vehicle accidents, downed trees and power lines, and more. They deserve our utmost respect. How many of us are willing to be on call 24/7 all year long with no benefits except for the feeling of helping your community? Be thankful for these volunteers. They are as competent as paid department members.
It was stated that the BPU serves Falconer, Celoron, and other areas besides Jamestown, so why the annexation? What they didn’t state was where they get all of their water. Some of it is from area aquifers not in Jamestown.
It is only Jamestown and it’s BPU that would benefit from this annexation. The BPU would reduce their taxes paid out, giving the City and School District approximately one-half of their tax savings, and yet receiving the benefit of having Falconer Fire District mutual aid. Meanwhile they are taking away from a neighboring community and school district which is detrimental to those entities, the services they offer, and to their students. It is definitely not a win-win situation. Again, if Jamestown wanted the substation to be a part of Jamestown, they should have built it in Jamestown.
Diane Crandall is a Kennedy resident.