Herkimer County wins lawsuit against village over water/sewer bills

By NEWSChannel 2 Staff

HERKIMER, N.Y. (WKTV) - A New York State Supreme Court Judge gas ruled in favor of Herkimer County in the ongoing controversy relating to the Village of Herkimer's attempts to have the county reimburse the village for unpaid water and sewer charges at the former Quackenbush site.

According to a notice sent out by the Herkimer County Legislature on Friday, the litigation resulted from the village's attempt to force the county to reimburse the village for more than $231,000 of water and sewer charges which went unpaid by the operators of the Quackenbush facility during the years 2004 and 2005. Rather than turning off the water service to the facility when the water and sewer bills became heavily delinquent, the charges accumulated over a more than two year period, the county states.

"In an effort to recover the delinquent water and sewer charges which the Village allowed to accrue, the village attempted to shift the obligation to collect the charges to the County by re-levying the charges on the village tax bill for the property and forwarding the unpaid bill to the county," a press release from the legislature states. "by doing so, the village sought to obtain full reimbursement for such charges from the county and further sought to force the county to attempt to recoup such charges from the operator of the facility, which was bankrupt."

State Supreme Court Justice Erin P. Gall also ruled that an attempt by the village to force the Herkimer County Industrial Development Agency to reimburse the village for the charges was invalid due to the failure of the village to assert the claim for such reimbursement against the IDA within the appropriate statute of limitations. The claim ruled that the village's claim against the IDA was filed two years too late.

County Administrator James Wallace stated that he is pleased with the ruling.

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