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Old 06-30-2006, 06:37 AM   #1
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UCE won't sue Sherrill

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UCE won't sue Sherrill

Group cites lack of support in the city for fighting deal with the Oneida
nation.


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

By Glenn Coin

Staff writer
A citizens group has dropped the idea of suing the city of Sherrill over an
agreement reached last year with the Oneida Indian Nation.
David Vickers, president of Upstate Citizens for Equality, said there wasn't
enough support to try to overturn the agreement he says is illegal.
"It seemed like most of the residents of Sherrill were not all that eager to
sue their city for something they perceived to be better than nothing,"
Vickers said.

UCE had launched a petition drive last fall and said it might take the city
to court after the Oneidas and Sherrill signed an agreement ending their
five-year legal battle. The Oneidas agreed to make tax payments and to abide by
city codes.
The agreement ended the lawsuit that Sherrill had won before the U.S. Supreme
Court. The court ruled 8-1 in March 2005 that the nation must pay taxes to
Sherrill.
Under the Sherrill agreement, the Oneida nation agreed to pay $59,814
covering back taxes to 1997, pay future taxes on time, abide by city codes and drop
all lawsuits against the city. The agreement expires in five years, and it
will be automatically renewed every five years unless one side decides to
withdraw.
UCE said the agreement violates at least five provisions of the city charter
and possibly state tax laws. City officials said the agreement was legal and
was the best deal for the city.
Vickers said UCE decided not to go to court without widespread support from
Sherrill residents.
"We're an educational institution, not an organization that wants to go to
court every 45 seconds," Vickers said. "There are better ways of spending our
money."
UCE last year also filed a suit against Oneida County for not enforcing the
state's no-smoking law at Turning Stone Resort and Casino. A judge dismissed
that suit.
City Manager Bob Comis said the agreement hasn't been much of an issue in the
city.
"There hasn't been a great deal of dialogue about it, whether pro or con,"
said Comis, who became city manager in February.
Glenn Coin can be reached at 470-3251 or [email protected]
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