EAST AURORA, N.Y. - A legal battle between two communities in the Southtowns could soon come to a head after years in the courts. It involves a small bridge and culverts where Brooklea Drive crosses over the Tannery Brook in the Village of East Aurora. The question is should the village or Town of Aurora maintain it.
This issue over the bridge actually dates back for seven years or so over who should actually maintain it since it is located in the village but the town actually surrounds the village. It has been going back and forth in the courts with a stack of legal documents.
The state appellate court just issued a two page ruling in late April which makes the village liable for the cost of the bridge. The actual bridge was repaired last year after State Senator Patrick Gallivan got a $50,000 grant for it. But the communities are still battling over the question of who really is responsible for it.
East Aurora Village Mayor Allan Kasprzak says there's a larger question here to be decided for any future projects like this because state not law is not clear enough on this point. The village wants the court to re-hear the case because they felt the recent ruling was incomplete. He says the justices apparently did not review somewhat similar cases like a previous dispute between the town of Lancaster and the village of Lancaster. In that case the definition of a bridge and culverts was covered. Kasprzak says "Let's get this over with. Simply make a solid legal determination. So we know what to do. So we have to prepare or they have to prepare. But just put something down so we can move on."
The Aurora Town Supervisor was not available today. But we understand the town has spent about $15,000 on legal fees. Tthe village has spent at least $10,000 and some speculate it could be much more. But Mayor Kasprzak says he's hoping for a final resolution so they can know where they stand in the future. Kasprzak says the New York Council of Mayors feels this case could help set a legal precedent for other communities around the state.