“I’m sorry”

At the 2/15/2024 Legislative meeting: “I’m sorry” “I sympathize” ”I feel” were some of the statements uttered from the mouths of some of the Oswego County Legislators. Also “we can’t break the law”” violate our oath” “feel bad”” If we do it for one we have to do it for all” “opens the county up for lawsuits”

The reason was a reaction to a request by a constituent of Oswego County asking for a refund on their real property taxes.

The constituent also asked for this same refund from the Hannibal School District and was granted the refund.

“The school district was wrong in giving the refund.” Came from the mouths of several.

Hannibal School Board considered that some residents received forms in the mail to file for their Ag tax break when some didn’t. As it was done in the past (this process is not required), the constituent was one of the residents that didn’t receive one.

The Oswego County Legislature should have taken the same stance, knowing that some received an application some didn’t.

During deliberations Legislators expressed remorse for the constituent but failed to vote to give the refund to the constituent.

That is like a person running into your car and saying, “I’m sorry”. However, not paying for the damage.

During deliberations the term “circumvent” was used by me in reference to a way of granting the refund.

Circumvent: find a way around an obstacle.

In this case the obstacle was Real Property Law.

I was quickly reprimanded by a Legislator from across the aisle. Making a statement that what Legislator Castiglia is asking us to do is to break the law, and it is our job to uphold the law.

Let’s look at the law and the process for granting a refund:

“If the Director recommends denial of the application, the dollar amount exceeds the maximum amount, or if the County Treasurer denies the        application, the County Legislature is tasked with reviewing the application and making the final determination on whether to grant the application for correction, refund, or credit of real property taxes.”

Let’s take a look at back in time(2/2016) at what the law says about signing of the oath of office card. Public officers law states that every elected official has thirty days  to sign their Oath of office card and file it after taking office.

Well did this legislative body look to uphold the law or find a way around the law when 5 legislators failed to sign their oath of office cards in the required time frame.

 NO they found a way around the law by having a State elected official grant a forgiveness resolution at the State level, as it is in their power to do.

Thus “circumventing” the law.

Was that wrong, NO it was a way around the law, not breaking the law.

This legislative body has the same authority.

Everyday members of our Law enforcement make decisions that “circumvent “the law.

They are sworn to uphold the law. Every traffic stop the officers make they are put in a decision-making process.

 They stop someone for speeding. Several issues come into their decision making. How much over the speed limit, condition of the driver, location .  They can follow the law to the T and issue a ticket or give a warning. Are they wrong in giving a warning.


They used common sense and gave the law breaker a chance. It is all in the realm of doing their job. We trust them to make such decisions.

Someone runs a stop sign. The officer stops them and only issues a warning. Are they wrong in not upholding the law.


They assess the circumstances and make a sound decision.

Are the law enforcement officers told that they must give everyone they stop a warning because they only issued warnings to the previous violators.

I say this because several Legislators made a comment “If we do it for one, we must do it for all”.

Is the municipality of the law enforcement officers that only issued warnings instead of tickets for breaking the law, being put in line for a lawsuit?


I say No, because we should take every case and make judgements as we see fit.

Just like our fine Law Enforcement Officers.

The Oswego County Legislature made a very bad decision.

Instead of saying “I’m sorry” do the right thing. Grant the refund as it is in the power of the “Tax leveling body” to do.

If this person had been a high-ranking member of the majority political party or a large donator to the majority party, would this have gotten to the point that the legislature would have to decide and if it had would they have voted YES to deny the refund.

I think not!

Legislator Frank Castiglia Jr. Minority Leader


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