Legal challenge being pursued vs. nonresident trustee's position
Longtime trustee Robert Allison is not a resident of Margaretville
A Margaretville resident is seeking to prevent a village board member from running for re-election due to a non-residency issue.
Lauren Davis has contacted the Delaware County Sheriff‚Äôs Department and the County Board of Elections to determine the legality of Rob Allison running for re-election to the Margaretville Village Board.
Mr. Allison, who has served on the board for about a decade, previously was a Margaretville resident but now lists his legal address as Fleischmanns.
The issue of Mr. Allison continuing his board duties was raised several years ago and it was determined then that he could continue his trustee duties despite not living in the village.
Mr. Davis has challenged this stance and is seeking to have Mr. Allison prohibited from running for another term.
In mounting this challenge, Mr. Davis said he is concerned about the ongoing dispute he has been involved in with the village board.
The landowner and the village have been at odds for several years over a remedy to keep the Binnekill stream, which runs through the village, from constantly drying up. The bulkhead where the East Branch of the Delaware River feeds the Binnekill is at the heart of the problem.
Mr. Davis claims that the village‚Äôs plan for repairs will cause additional flooding problems. Village officials feel that the FEMA-sponsored repair plan will keep water in the stream and benefit residents and visitors. Work crews need access to Mr. Davis‚Äô property to perform the repair work and the landowner has refused to grant this access.
Mr. Davis said his challenge to Mr. Allison‚Äôs position is a means to break the deadlock between himself and the board.
‚ÄúMy estimate of what is going on is an ego driven effort by a few people, under the cloak of government, using taxpayer money, to show that they are in charge. Once exposed, we can all stop wasting time and money on a non-issue and get to work on what really counts, water back in the Binnekill and improved flood protection for the village,‚Äù Mr. Davis stated.
Mr. Allison declined an opportunity to comment on the situation and would not say whether he plans to run for re-election in March.
Mayor Bill Stanton downplayed the issue.
‚ÄúWe went through this six years ago with former Mayor Edna Gavette and Rob. He‚Äôs fed up with it, and I can‚Äôt blame him. Rob has always tried to do his best for the community.‚Äù
Because Mr. Davis has refused to sign an easement allowing access to his property so that the repair work can be performed, the village has begun work to take title to 4.1 acres of land so the project can commence.
The board has 90 days from the date of a public hearing in December to decide if it will take the land through eminent domain.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôve asked Mr. Davis to write down what he wants in the easements and he has turned down three easements,‚Äù Mayor Stanton explained.
‚ÄúThis project benefits him more than anybody there. Why doesn‚Äôt he sign the easement? We have presented the easements time and time again. He‚Äôs holding this village hostage.‚Äù
The mayor added, ‚ÄúIf Mr. Davis would like to work with us, I‚Äôm willing to work with him.‚Äù