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As court date looms, no deal on YMCA assets dispute

Town board met twice last week in executive session to discuss the issue

The town lawsuit against the SRCT, filed Oct. 5 by the town attorney, is five inches thick and approximately 1,000 pages long. The majority of the suit is multiple exhibits of receipts for assets currently in the Skaneateles Community Center and YMCA showing where the money to pay for the assets in question originated.

The town lawsuit against the SRCT, filed Oct. 5 by the town attorney, is five inches thick and approximately 1,000 pages long. The majority of the suit is multiple exhibits of receipts for assets currently in the Skaneateles Community Center and YMCA showing where the money to pay for the assets in question originated. Photo by Jason Emerson.

— In the nearly two years since then, the two sides have held numerous discussions on the topic and at one point had an agreement for the SRCT to pay $68,500 for the items – which it then reneged on after the town board passed a resolution accepting the deal.

The town filed its lawsuit against the SRCT on Oct. 5 after deciding negotiations were at an impasse. The lawsuit alleges that the assets in question “were purchased with taxpayer funds … and, as such, constitute public property,” and have been “wrongfully detained” by the SRCT.

The lawsuit stated that the fair value of the assets is $155,700, and asserts that the town is entitled to the fair value of the items as well as any damages for injury or depreciation in value to the items. It also requested an injunction against the SRCT from liquidating the assets in its possession in any way before the hearing occurred.

Town Attorney Patrick Sardino told the Skaneateles Press on Oct 5 that just because the town fild the lawsuit did not mean it was not still open to the possibility of a settlement with the SRCT “on fair and reasonable” terms. “Just because we’re taking steps to protect taxpayer interest doesn’t foreclose the possibility of a settlement,” Sardino said.

If there is no settlement and the town’s position is upheld, it will reclaim all of the disputed assets currently in the YMCA, keep and use some of them — such as the Olympia ice resurfacer — and the rest will be sold at public auction, as required by state law, Sardino said.

If the town reclaims all the assets currently in dispute — which include major items such as fitness machines, computer software and kitchen equipment — then the SRCT will have to purchase replacement items.

Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at editor@skaneatelespress.com.

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