The Third Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined the Town Clerk did follow the statutory procedure for rejecting the petitions for a permissive referendum on bonds to be issued to fund the construction of certain Town road-maintenance buildings. Therefore the town was obligated to set up the permissive referendum:
We need not … decide whether the Town Clerk acted beyond the scope of her authority in rejecting the referendum petitions prior to their filing because, contrary to respondents’ contentions, the subject referendum petitions were received and accepted for filing by the Town Clerk on October 11, 2022 … . The record contains a receipt of filing stating that the Town Clerk “received from [petitioner] three petitions” which were identified by name in the receipt. The receipt issued by the Town Clerk also bears both a signature and a date stamp indicating that the petitions were received for filing … . The receipt issued and signed by the Town Clerk did not constitute a legal rejection of the petition within the contemplation of Town Law § 91 and, as a matter of fact, was not so intended by her to be a rejection since she stated in her own affidavit that she subsequently reviewed the filed petitions with both the Association of Towns of the State of New York and the town attorney and consulted with them regarding the petitions’ handling. Matter of Long v Town of Caroga, 2023 NY Slip Op 04352, Third Dept 8-17-23
Practice Point: Here the statutory requirements for the rejection of petitions for a permissive referendum on bonds to be issued for the construction of town buildings were not met. To the contrary, the Town Clerk accepted the petitions, and the town must set up the permissive referendum for November 2023.