JAMESTOWN – The legal battle between the city of Jamestown and the Town of Ellicott/Village of Falconer over the proposed Annexation of the Board of Public Utilities Dow Street Substation could be moving forward later this month.
Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi recently told WRFA the the New York 4th Appellate Division court in Rochester has requested the Town and Village submit all its legal briefs and related documents involving the case by no later than March 15.
Once all the written arguments and other related documents have been submitted, the court will then review the information before setting a date for oral arguments to be presented by attorneys representing both sides.
Last year the Jamestown City Council voted to annex the BPU-owned property that is located between Tiffany Ave. and Dow St. in the Town of Ellicott/Village of Falconer and is adjacent to the city line.
The city wants to annex the property because officials say it will result in an annual savings, that would in turn help to stabilize rates for electric customers. Officials also say that public safety would be improved by having the property in the city’s jurisdiction, which means the city’s professional fire department would be able to respond to any emergencies at the location. Currently the Falconer Volunteer Fire Department is responsible for being the first responder to the location.
The property is already owned by the city but because it is located in the adjacent municipality of the town of Ellicott/village of Falconer the city is required to pay property taxes to the town and village, as well as the Falconer Central School District and Chautauqua County. By annexing the property, the BPU could save an estimated $160,000 a year and the city of Jamestown and Jamestown School District would each get an estimated $80,000 a year via a payment in lieu of taxes from the BPU.
Both Ellicott and Falconer officials oppose the annexation, which is why the matter has gone to court.
The BPU has so far committed $130,000 so far to the law firm of Bond, Schoeneck, and King to represent the city in the matter. The village of Falconer and Town of Ellicott have hired Harris Beach PLLC as legal counsel.
A date for when arguments in the case will be made has not yet been established.