JAMESTOWN – The effort by the city of Jamestown to annex a piece of property from the Town of Ellicott will be moving forward later this month.
During Monday night’s Jamestown City Council work session, city attorney Marilyn Fiore-Lehman updated council members on the annexation effort for the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities’ electric division substation on Dow St. in Falconer, which sits on a four acre piece of property owned by the BPU and which is adjacent to the city border.
Earlier this year BPU and city officials announced that the property was eligible for annexation and if it were to take place, it which would lead to an annual savings of more than $160,000 for the BPU. That’s because by making the property part of the city, the BPU would no longer have to pay property taxes to Ellicott, Falconer, Chautauqua County, or the Falconer School District. Instead it would make a tax equivalency payment to the city of Jamestown.
During Monday’s meeting, Fiore-Lehman told council members that a petition for annexation has been prepared, and the city council will act on it, along with an environmental assessment. That action would then allow the mayor to sign the petition and have it served to both the Falconer Village Board and the Ellicott Town Board.
“Within 20 days of service of the petition on the Village of Falconer and the Town of Ellicott, the Post-Journal will publish notice of the annexation and will set forth in that notice a date for a joint public hearing before the city council, the town board, and the village board,” Fiore-Lehman said, adding, “The public hearing, pursuant to state law, will be held not less than 20 days and not more than 40 days after the notice is published in the Post-Journal.”
In addition to the petition, the council will also adopt an annexation resolution to move forward with the process, and will adopt a SEQR resolution associated with annexation, making the city the lead agent in the environmental review of the property.
Fiore-Lehman also said that once a public hearing takes place, the city, village, and town will be required to act on the annexation, which is likely to be voted down by Falconer and Ellicott officials.
“Within 90 days of the public hearing, the governing board of Jamestown, Ellicott and Falconer will determine by a majority vote whether the petition complies with the law and whether it is in the overall public interest to approve the annexation. Anticipating that one of the governing board, either the Town of Ellicott or the Village of Falconer or both – will determine that the annexation is not in the public interest, then the city of Jamestown will apply to the [New York State 4th Appellate Division] for adjudication and determination of whether the proposed annexation is in the public interest.”
Currently The BPU pays $322,000 a year in taxes for the property to the county, town of Ellicott, village of Falconer and the Falconer Central School District, which means that an annexation would result in those municipalities losing a significant portion of annual tax revenue. As a result, it’s likely they would be opposed to the annexation from moving forward.
The council will act on three related annexation resolutions during the April 24 board meeting.