OSWEGO, NY – At its meeting Monday night, the Common Council rescinded Resolution No. 379 of Oct. 11, 2016. The action, in the opinion of City Attorney Kevin Caraccioli, could leave the city open to a lawsuit.
This fall, councilors had approved entering into a contract with Oswego Town regarding the Ontario Heights Water District for sewer connections to the city sewer system; in connection with a planned student housing site in the town.
However, since then some questions have come up about who is able to connect and whether council approval is required.
At the end of Monday’s meeting, the council sought to waive the rules to bring Resolution 445 to the council floor for a vote without it having gone through discussion at the committee level first.
The city attorney pointed out that, according to the rules of the council, in this instance, it wasn’t allowed. Monday was the last meeting of 2016 and there would be no committee meeting to discuss the issue.
By a 6-1 vote (Councilor Robert Corradino voted no) the rules were waived.
Resolution 445 states: “Whereas the Common Council passed Resolution No. 379 under false pretenses in regards to specific questions asked regarding the contract and its intent,
Be it resolved that the Common Council rescinds authorization to sign the aforementioned contract until a contract can be presented to the proper committee for discussion.”
It passed 5-2.
The two-year pact was to run from Oct. 1, 2016 through Sept. 30, 2018.
The rate the town paid the city would have gone from $10.13 per thousand gallons to $11 per thousand.
“We have a grant for a sewer study. We intended to use that grant to cooperate with the city,” Richard Kaulfuss, Oswego Town supervisor, told Oswego County Today. “Now it looks like we have no choice but to pursue our own sewer plant. I would imagine that the DEC is going to step in and say, ‘Why is the city refusing to take your sewer, when they are under a consent decree?’ Why can’t they cooperate? So that grant we had intended to work out more growth and more cooperation with the city will now have to be used to study for our own plant.”
It doesn’t look like the council is willing to work with the town, he added.
Some of the city’s landlords claim they will loose 300 beds.
“That assumes no growth at the college,” the supervisor said. “300 beds, 300 homes, aren’t there usually four to six people in a home? Doesn’t the city already have a problem with parking? But, they want to have 300 more cars?”
The city is “taking its ball and going home,” he said.
Councilors just want to clear up some questions, Councilor Eric VanBuren said. Kaulfuss is invited to the city’s first meeting of the New Year to discuss the elements of the contract, he said.
The councilor said he had asked the question is the deal for existing or are they new hookups coming to Ontario Heights from outside of the sewer district?
“I was told no,” he said.
The city got grant money for repairs to your sewer facilities, using population from the town of Oswego, Kaulfuss pointed out.
“So, you want to cooperate with the town of Oswego whenever you want for your benefit. But if it’s not to your benefit, you say nope, you’re going to walk away,” he said.
VanBuren told the supervisor that he’s invited back to the council to discuss and negotiate the contact.
“Bring it back. I don’t care if it’s the same one. There are some councilors that’ll probably vote on it as it,” VanBuren said. “I’m fine with being supportive of the town. But I think if anybody else wants to do it, and hook up, they have to come to us and get a permit.”
“What do I do with the $45,000 bill I just got from the city, now that I have no contract?” Kaulfuss asked.
It’ll be good to go when a new contract is reached, the councilor said.
The councilors aren’t opposed to the (Ontario Heights) housing project, he added.
He urged the supervisor to come back to council with the contract and “be part of the conversation.”