Oneida: 350 sign, present petition in Phillipson's controversy

Many Oneida city residents- at least 350 of them- were upset in the wake of the final purchase of the Herb Phillipson's building across the street from city hall.

Bob Alexander of Alexander's Ragtime, and others presented a petition last Tuesday hoping to force a public referendum on the issue.

While many believed that five percent of those who voted in the last election were needed to overturn a council resolution, the charter contains no such provision.

Mayor Peter Hedglon wasn't sure where the rumor orginated, but said at the meeting that he had checked the charter and with the New York State Council of Mayors.

Although the legality of the petition's intent was questionable, many residents felt that the mayor and common council should recognize that many of the city's residents are upset with the purchase.

In a letter written to the mayor and the council last Wednesday, Charles Collier wrote,

"It's obvious that regardless of legality, the voters and taxpayers on that petition do not want the purchase of this property. And, as elected representatives of them, you should have considered their position."

Hedglon responded by writing,

"Part of the Phililpson's building controversy is generated by a very small number of downtown business persons who are understandably concerned about their businesses .Part of the controversy is simple partisan politics as usual I also suspect that part of the controversy is jealousy. In less than 11 months I and this Council have come up with a lowest cost solution to a persistent problem when others who were in office four or more years were unable to find a solution."

The topic will most likely reappear at the Dec. 2 meeting of the common council. The agenda notes "general discussion of the proposed 2009 budget."

For a full report of the meeting, visit cnylink.com and pick up next week's Oneida Press.

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