Mayor Greg Rogers is taking responsibility for an alleged illegal paving of a privately owned road that connects Robbins Road with the Presidential Acres subdivision in the Village of Le Roy.
At the beginning of the month the village received a letter from Amy Kendall, an attorney representing some of the residents of Presidential Acres, notifying trustees that in the attorney's view, the village has illegally spent at least $48,000 on paving and maintaining a road owned by local developer and businessman Pete McQuillen.
At Wednesday's village board meeting, Rogers said he supported the project to go forward because he thought the village already owned the land that extended Fillmore Road to Robbins Road.
That is apparently not the case, though a village attorney is researching it further.
"This has been a very confusing, very cloudy track for the whole time, for the whole thing," Rogers said. "I did a lot of research and talked with a lot of people. We're not going to throw anybody under the bus here, except myself, because this is my bus and if it happens on my shift, it's my responsibility."
He then called on former mayor Sid Horgan to share what he recalled about the ownership of that part of Fillmore Road, and Horgan said he remembered the village board passing a resolution accepting ownership of the roadway.
"I never went out and measured it," Horgan said. "I relied on other people."
Roger Lander, who was public works director in 1991 for the village, said it was his understanding then that the roadway was planned as an eventual village road. The sewer and water connections were put in. Two houses on the corner were originally built to have their front entrance on Fillmore Road rather than Robbins Road.
The village paid to have Fillmore paved, and curbs put in, a year ago. The village has been maintaining the road, including plowing in the winter.
Kendall calls these expenditures an unconstitutional gift of taxpayer funds to a private party. She said if the village doesn't recover the expenditures from McQuillen, then the trustees would be individually liable, under state law, for the funds.
McQuillen has built duplexes off Fillmore Road, and those duplexes are now occupied.
The attorney's letter suggests those duplexes were built illegally because Fillmore wasn't a village-owned, dedicated road.
Presidential Acres residents are already embroiled in a lawsuit against McQuillen and the village over construction of the duplexes.
While Rogers said he didn't know the land was privately owned, the attorney's letter says that Presidential Acres resident David Boyce spoke with village officials about it Oct. 23, 2013.
The letter also states that at a May 15, 2012 planning board meeting, McQuillen said that it was "the developer's responsibility to finish the street and that's my intent," and that it was his intent "to put curbs and pavement in there this year." The letter states, "Therefore, both the developer and the village were on notice that McQuillen owned the roads and was responsible for paving them prior to dedication."
Rogers said it's his intention to make the situation right.
"By all means, I'm taking full responsibility for the whole thing," Rogers said. "My plan is to go forward and seek reimbursement from the developer. We have two houses on the street. There are people there who are citizens of Le Roy and they deserve all the services of the village. We'll try to work out some kind of negotiations with the developer to recoup what we may have put in for the road and in turn finish the road so the street can be dedicated and we can provide the residents with snow plowing and emergency services and all the things they deserve."