Sellar Ryan re-appointed Whitehall village attorney

B y Lee Tugas

Just one night before she was sworn in as the new Whitehall Town Attorney, Greenwich-based Attorney Erika Sellar Ryan was re-confirmed as attorney for the village board.

The re-appointment was more or less a formality caused by the fact that Sellar Ryan’s firm has changed its name from Jordon and Kelly LLC to Kelly and Sellar Ryan, LLC.

Since village elections are held in April, Mayor Peter Telisky said Ryan’s appointment would have to be re-confirmed yet again in the spring.

Immediately given three tasks

The village board immediately gave Ryan two knotty problems to solve. First, in a piece of correspondence, the board learned that it would likely have to refund Level 3 Communications, a fiber optics company, more than $13,000.

A letter from Laura Chadwick of the Washington County Real Property Tax Service informed the board that the village could not assess the company’s fiber optic cable since the cable itself was not a conductor of electricity.

Sellar advised the board that it might not have to give a re-fund unless Level 3 Communications had previously “grieved” the assessment. Mayor Peter Telisky asked the attorney to check into the matter.

Ryan was also given the task of determining how much of a release (if any) from a $30,000 water bill judgment the board wished to grant Bruce Gordon of Goren Properties.

Gordon, owner of the Whitehall Mobile Home Park and a mobile home park in Dresden, was represented by Attorney Phyllis McCoy. She told the board that Gordon needed a release from the water bill judgment in order to sell a piece of property on Queen Street.

McCoy said that Gordon would not receive any profit from the sale, since any profit would go to the original mortgage holder.

“I’m reluctant to give him a release until he pays down his water bill. It’s a sizeable bill,” Mayor Peter Telisky said.

The board then instructed Ryan to determine what portion of the $30,000 judgment Gordon should pay on his water bill before the board frees Gordon to sell the Queen Street property.

“A partial payment won’t kill the deal,” Ryan said, meaning that partial payment of the judgment would not impair any potential sale of the Queen Street property.

Other business

In other business, the board:

  • Denied a request from Budget Inn for relief on 30 percent of its $12,000 sewer bill. Telisky later explained denial was based on the fact that the owner had neglected a water-sewer leak for months.
  • Learned that DPW Superintendent Don Williams was looking into replacing a heavy stainless steel box with an aluminum box on a town truck in order to increase the life of the truck.
  • Agreed that Town Supervisor George Armstrong could hire another laborer to work on the town-village municipal center, but would have to do so at the town’s expense.
  • Learned to its disappointment that in its recent applications for state and/or federal grants to fix the village sewer system, the village had been rejected.
  • Agreed to ask Williams to have his crews trim the “high snow banks,” Telisky said, “especially on Broadway,” so that motorists could see better when turning from side streets onto the main road.

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