Annexation of Petitioners’ Land (Located in the Town) by the City Deemed in the Overall Public Interest
The Third Department determined the city’s annexation of petitioners’ land, located in the adjoining town, was in the overall public interest:
A municipality seeking annexation pursuant to General Municipal Law article 17 “has the burden of proving that annexation is in the overall public interest” (…see NY Const, art IX, § 1 [d]; General Municipal Law § 712 ). Factors to be considered include “the benefit or detriment to the annexing municipality, the territory proposed to be annexed, and the remaining governmental unit from which the territory would be taken” … . “‘Benefit and detriment are customarily defined in terms of municipal services such as police and fire protection, health regulations, sewer and water service, public utilities and public education'” … . “Another factor entering into the balance is whether the annexing municipality and the territory proposed to be annexed have the requisite unity of purpose and facilities to constitute a community” … .
Here, petitioners established that the lack of municipal water and sewer services in the Town are a major impediment to the development of the property. Mauro testified that he has marketed the property for three years, but potential developers are not interested in it because it lacks access to these services. The services would, however, be available if the property were to be annexed to the City. * * *
The City also established that it provides professional fire and police protection that is better trained and more readily available than the emergency protection services available in the Town. The City bears the expense of full-time, fully-equipped police and fire departments covering a smaller geographic area, while the Town relies on the County Sheriff and volunteer fire departments. As a result, the City’s fire insurance rating is considerably better than that of the Town. Further, any development that occurs in the City will generate more tax revenue to defray the burden on the City’s taxpayers of the expense of maintaining professional police and fire departments, based on the City’s higher tax rate of $21.41 per thousand. For its part, the Town will lose only the minimal annual tax revenue of $51.06, based upon its 2013 tax rate of $1.36 per thousand. Although the Town argues against annexation based on the potential loss of taxes should the parcel be developed, “ordinarily expected adverse tax consequence[s] . . . [are] generally insufficient to defeat an annexation which is otherwise in the over-all public interest”… . Matter of City of Gloversville v Town of Johnston, 2015 NY Slip Op 00575, 3rd Dept 1-22-15