JAMESTOWN – Mayor Sam Teresi has offered more details about the city’s effort to annex a piece of property that sits in the village of Falconer/Town of Ellicott.
Last month the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities announced it had hired an attorney to assist with the process of annexing the Dow Street substation property – which sits between Dow St. and Tiffany Streets, making it adjacent to the Falconer-Jamestown border.
In his 2017 State of the City message, Teresi highlighted the annexation. And when asked about it by WRFA following last week’s city council meeting, he said it’s something the city will be looking into in the coming months.
“It was recommended unanimously by the members of the Board of Public Utilities to the City Council and that will be delivered to the city council in February for their consideration,” Teresi said. “And then it’s up to the city council and me, as the chief executive officer of the community, to review that recommendation from the staff and the voting members of the BPU to determine whether this is something we want to pursue during the coming year.”
The BPU wants to pursue the annexation to help save money. Currently it 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.
If the Dow Street substation is annexed into the city, the BPU would save an estimated $162,000 a year, because instead of paying taxes – it would make an annual tax equivalency payments of $80,000 to both the city and Jamestown Public Schools.
Teresi said the last time the city pursued an annexation process was a few decades ago.
“At that time at least three property owners at the end of Newland Ave. in the Town of Ellicott were looking to have their properties annexed into the city of Jamestown to facilitate its subdivision for residential development,” Teresi explained. “They voted three-to-nothing in their referendum to join the city of Jamestown. The city of Jamestown in the late 1980s voted to accept that property. It spent several years in court, ultimately with the State Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals ruling on behalf of the city of Jamestown.”
As part of the annexation effort, the BPU also signed off on a contract with attorney Kathleen Bennett of the law firm Bond, Schoeneck & King – based out of Syracuse. The agreement is expected to have a not-to-exceed spending limit of $40,000 and that amount would allow the BPU to adequately work through all initial phases of the annexation process, and to allow for 6 to 9 months of legal support dependent on any formal challenges to the annexation decision.