Lawyers to check validity of Parish Town Board water district vote

PARISH - Water District 1 in the town of Parish died at the Parish Town Board’s July 18 meeting.

But at the Aug. 15 town board meeting, the water district may have been resuscitated.

Resident Liam O’Brien, of County Route 38, told the town board he has been doing research into the water district and the town board’s vote.

On July 18, the board needed to pass a bond resolution stating 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.

At that time 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 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.

If that is true, then the bond resolution was passed by the town board on July 18.

This tidbit of information threw some items on the Aug. 15 board agenda into a bit of a holding pattern, such as a measure to pay Barton & Loguidice engineers and possibly moving forward on a Water District 2.

The board told Town Attorney Robert Genant to find out if O’Brien is correct and exactly how many yes votes are needed to pass the bond resolution.

Genant said he would get an answer within a week.

Supervisor Mary Ann Phillips said she was told a super majority — four of the five board members — had to vote yes to approve the bond resolution. She said the water district Municipal Lawyer Rebekah Prosachik of the Prosachik Law Firm in Oswego told her the super majority was needed. Also, she said she believes the engineering firm officials also said it at the board’s June meeting.

After the July 18 vote against the bond resolution, Water District 1 died. Prosachik said at that time the town cannot hold a revote for District 1. If the town wants to continue to try bringing public water to Parish, it would have to put together another water district without the same boundaries as District 1 and also start from scratch doing surveys, studies and engineering reports.

The brief discussion of a proposed Water District 2 on Aug. 15 was going to do just that — take most of the area from District 1 and add some area to it to come up with 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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