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Leaf Home arrow The News arrow North East News arrow Oneida Nation settlement could bring Sherrill $163,000 per year
Oneida Nation settlement could bring Sherrill $163,000 per year
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 25 January 2014
Oneida Nation settlement could bring Sherrill $163,000 per year
By Jolene Cleaver, The Oneida Daily Dispatch
Posted: 01/22/14

SHERRILL - Oneida County has told the City of Sherrill to expect about $163,000 each year once the wide-ranging agreement with the state, the Oneida Indian Nation and Oneida County is implemented.

The deal, brokered by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last summer, is designed to settle decades of tax and land disputes in the area.

City Manager Robert Comis said the city is waiting on a draft of the action from the county to review.

It would ultimately need to be passed by the Sherrill City Commission, and the Oneida County Board of Legislators, Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente said. The larger deal must be accepted by a federal judge and survive several lawsuits before being put into action.

Picente also said he has yet to discuss school tax payments with affected school districts, but plans to do so in the near future.

Oneida County officials say New York’s smallest city approached the county to get a dollar amount nailed down and ready to go when the larger agreement is approved. Once the larger agreement is passed, all current inter-municipal agreements between the Nation and surrounding communities will end, including a current compact between Sherrill and the tribe in which the Oneida Nation pays the city about $13,000 each year in lieu of property taxes.

Comis said another roughly $12,000 is paid to Sherrill each year to offset sales tax that would normally be generated by businesses such as the Route 5 SavOn.

Comis said the Oneida Nation owns about 13 acres in the city, which is a mix of vacant land and commercial property.

Picente said that currently, Sherrill is the only community that has stepped forward to strike the inter-municipal deal, which only affects communities in Oneida County where the Oneida Nation owns property -- the towns of Augusta, Vienna, Vernon, Verona, the City of Sherrill and the Village of Sylvan Beach, Picente said.

However, because of litigation, some communities cannot yet make these deals with the county, Picente said.

The towns of Vernon and Verona are two of those communities; they’ve a lawsuit against the state challenging rules that would govern casino gambling expansion in New York and a related deal with the Oneida Indian Nation is headed back to state court.

The towns seek nullification of the summer agreement between the state and Madison and Oneida counties that would allow the tribe to put up to 25,000 acres of land into a tax-free federal trust.

After its initial filing, the lawsuit was moved from state court to federal court. The case is now back in state court, waiting to be heard.

The defendants in the suit are Cuomo; John Becker, chairman of Madison County Board of Supervisors; Picente; state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver; Dean Skelos and Jeffrey Klein, co-majority leaders of the state Senate.

Myron Thurston, town supervisor for Vernon, said plaintiffs are waiting on a judge to rule whether the suit can be heard.

“We will go from there,” Thurston said.

As of Wednesday, no municipalities in Madison County with Nation-owned land had approached county officials to nail down how much would be received once the agreement is fully in place, nor had any school districts sat down with county officials.


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