Monday, February 24, 2014

WEEK AHEAD: Fracking lawsuit, county charter review, RGRTA 'special announcement'

Posted By on Mon, Feb 24, 2014 at 9:48 AM

A panel of state Appellate Division justices will hear arguments today on a fracking-related lawsuit.

The Village of Painted Post and SWEPI, a Shell subsidiary, are appealing a previous ruling that halted the village’s plan to sell public water to a private company for fracking. In 2012, the village agreed to allow SWEPI to withdraw up to a million gallons of water a day from its aquifer. In return, the village would receive at least $3.2 million over a five-year period.

But some environmental groups and village residents sued to void the agreement, saying that the village’s environmental review of the deal was inadequate. State Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Fisher sided with those groups and blocked the agreement. But the village and SWEPI say that the village exceeded environmental review requirements, and that’s a key argument in their appeal.

The case will be heard at the Appellate Division, Fourth Department’s courthouse, 50 East Avenue. The day’s session begins at 10 a.m., but there are several cases on the calendar. The judges are unlikely to issue a decision today.

The county’s Charter Review Committee will accept public input during a 5:30 p.m. meeting Thursday at Monroe Community Hospital, 435 East Henrietta Road. Anyone interested in speaking can sign up by calling the Legislature Clerk's Office, (585) 753-1950, or

The committee is reviewing the collection of laws that lay out the organization and operation of county government. The members have presented some initial proposals for changes, but most are minor tweaks involving wording or position titles.

But some of the proposals are substantial. For example, one suggests that the county consider eliminate its Civil Service Commission and replace it with a personnel director, as many other counties in the state have done.
Only the County Legislature can change the county charter, which means any proposal would need the Legislature’s approval before it takes effect. BY JEREMY MOULE

The Rochester school board will present students with the recommendations of four committees that have convened for more than a month to offer suggestions to improve city schools. The town hall-style event will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 26, at the district’s central office, 131 West Broad Street.

The committees were formed shortly after school board president Van White took office. The topics White asked the committees to examine are: student achievement, the impact of concentrated poverty, student safety, and parent engagement. BY TIM LOUIS MACALUSO

RGRTA CEO Bill Carpenter and Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren are making a “special announcement,” on Tuesday, according to a press release. The event is at 11 a.m. at the RTS Transit Center, 60 St. Paul Street.

The release didn’t say what the announcement is about, but RGRTA has a number of things going on, such as construction of a new transit center on Mortimer Street, and expansion of its facility on East Main Street. RGRTA plans to use eminent domain to take 21 properties near the facility for the project. BY CHRISTINE CARRIE FIEN 

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