Just a few hours after the Oneida Nation and New York State reached an historic agreement, the Oneida County Legislature met in Utica Thursday evening. It was a regularly scheduled meeting, but featured a new facet regarding the day's news as Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente presented the ins and outs of the deal agreed on by the State of New York and Oneida Nation.
Several legislators were excited about the simple fact that something was agreed on, as the dispute has been going on for more than four decades.
"I really feel that, rather than let this lay in the courts for a good long time...we've all seen it happen...I think it would be better if we could get the thing put bed on the issue," 6th District legislator Les Porter says.
Picente agreed with Porters statement, saying the litigation has been tiresome, spanning back for far too long. He's also excited about the possibility of economic development throughout the region.
"Obviously the revenue stream that comes the county's way can help us do things the communities on the western part of the county needs, but also address the needs of the rest of Oneida County...it's a source of revenue we've been looking for," Picente says.
But, not every legislator found the plan as a positive. Chad Davis, who is the legislator in the 18th district, voiced his displeasure for the agreement, citing both economic and even constitutional factors as to why the plan should not go through. One of his biggest gripes was with Governor Cuomo telling Madison and Oneida counties that if they did not approve the plan, the state would no longer help pay for the legal battle with the Oneidas.
"It doesn't look like this plan that's been put together is even constitutional from a practice standpoint," Davis says. "It's a very sad day for our leaders to be selling out and giving the Oneidas more than they need."
Regardless of whether they support the agreement or not, the legislators say they will look at the plan closely over the next few weeks before they vote. The agreement announced cannot be finalized until Oneida County, Madison County and the State legislatures approve it.