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The Times
  • Court rules against village in delinquent Herkimer water, sewer bill case

  • New York State Supreme Court Justice Erin P. Gall has ruled in favor of Herkimer County in an eight-year case relating to unpaid water and sewer charges at the former Quackenbush site in the village.

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  • New York State Supreme Court Justice Erin P. Gall has ruled in favor of Herkimer County in an eight-year case relating to unpaid water and sewer charges at the former Quackenbush site in the village.
    The village of Herkimer had tried to force the county to reimburse the village for more than $231,000 in charges that the operators of the Quackenbush facility failed to pay during 2004 and 2005. Rather than turning off the water service to the facility when the bills became delinquent, the village allowed the charges to accumulate over a two-year period, according to a news release issued by the Herkimer County Legislature. The release stated that the village tried to recover the delinquent charges by shifting the obligation to the county by re-levying the charges on the village tax bill for the property and forwarding the unpaid bill to the county.
    Justice Gall dismissed the village's claims against the county and also ruled that a village attempt to force the Herkimer County Industrial Development Agency to reimburse the village for charges was invalid due to the failure of the village to file the claim within the applicable statute of limitations. The court ruled that the village's claim against the IDA was filed two years too late.
    Herkimer Mayor Mark Ainsworth said the village just received notification on the case late last week.
    “We were hoping for a different outcome,” he said. “In the past we have gotten reimbursed for delinquent water bills.”
    He said the village had won the initial round in the case when Judge Michael Daley ruled in the village's favor. The county appealed the case, however and won. The village then appealed that decision, which resulted in this latest ruling.
    “I think we're going to end it,” said Ainsworth when asked if the village planned to take the case any further.
    County Administrator James Wallace Jr. stated in the release that although he was pleased the court found the county had adhered to all applicable legal requirements in its dealings with the village of Herkimer, “the taxpayers of the county and village can ill afford such costly legal battles.”
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