Lawyers: Super majority vote was needed to OK Parish water bond resolution

Debra J. Groom/Oswego County NewsMembers of the Parish Town Board discuss an item at the board’s July 18 meeting. From left going clockwise are G. Richard Horning, John Horning, Bernie Horning, Mary Ann Phillips, John Dunham and Doug Jordan. Phillips is supervisor and Bernie Horning is deputy supervisor. Bernie Horning is not a voting member of the board.

PARISH - Three lawyers have reviewed the law and come to a decision concerning the Parish Town Board vote on its water district bond resolution.

Town resident Liam O’Brien, of County Route 38, told the board at its Aug. 15 meeting that he researched the law concerning the bond resolution vote. He said the board needed a simple majority — 3 of 5 members — to adopt the bond resolution.

But on July 18, when the town board voted on the bond resolution, the board believed it needed a super majority for the measure to pass, which means four of the five board members had to approve.

Voting in favor was Supervisor Mary Ann Phillips and town board members John Dunham and Doug Jordan. Voting no were board members John Horning and G. Richard Horning. The Hornings are father and son.

So the measure failed.

But O’Brien said his research shows a super majority is not needed to pass the bond resolution. In paperwork he gave the town board Aug. 15, he said Local Finance Law states the bond resolution is adopted by a two-thirds vote of the town board, which would be three votes.

Water district Municipal Lawyer Rebekah Prosachik of the Prosachik Law Firm in Oswego said she, bond counsel and Town Attorney Robert Genant reviewed the law and concur that a super majority vote — 4 of 5 board members — was needed for the bond resolution to pass.

“The bond resolution for Water District 1 required a super majority affirmative vote in order for the resolution to be adopted and for the current project to move forward,” Prosachik said in an email. “So the bond resolution failed and the town cannot move forward on Water District 1.”

The bond resolution vote does not involve the spending of any money. The vote simply states the cost of the water project is $9.2 million, which then allows the town to apply for grants to pay for the project and tells the state the town is serious about the project.

The bond resolution had to approved for the water district to move forward.

So now that the lawyers have said the super majority vote on the bond resolution was correct, the town board has to decide if it wants to form Water District 2 to bring water to the town. By law, Water District 2 cannot be the same geographic area as Water District 1, but the town board could take part of District 1 and add some other areas of the town to make a new District 2.

The village and town of Parish applied for the state Water Infrastructure Improvement Act grant last year to help pay most of the $9.2 million price tag for the District 1 water project. The project would bring Onondaga County Water Authority public water from the end of the town of Hastings water line on U.S. 11 into the village and part of the town of Parish.

Included in Parish’s District 1 were the following streets: Route 11, Route 69A, Ward Drive, Dean Drive, Woodview Drive, Dill Pickle Alley, Montgomery Street, Union Street, Church Street, County Route 38, Route 69, Mill Street, Beley Drive, Tannery Hill, Edgewood Road, Carlton Drive, County Route 26, Edick Pond Drive, Smokey Hollow Road, Bidwell Road, Kipp Road, Searles Road, Canfield Road, County Route 22 and Sparhawk Road.

Residents of District 1 approved forming the water district in a public vote Nov. 13. The vote was 135 yes to 69 no.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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