Hubbard v. Onondaga County Dept. of Health, Div. of Environmental Health

Decision Date29 September 1995
Citation219 A.D.2d 832,632 N.Y.S.2d 370
PartiesMartin L. HUBBARD, as Mayor of the Village of Skaneateles, and the Village Board of the Village of Skaneateles, Respondents, v. ONONDAGA COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, DIVISION OF the ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH, Defendant, The Town Board of the Town of Skaneateles, Victor Ianno and Great American Victory Markets, Inc., Appellants.
CourtNew York Supreme Court — Appellate Division

James P. Murphy, Skaneateles, for Appellant--The Town Board of the Town of Skaneateles.

Devorsitz, Stinziano, Gilberti and Smith, P.C. (Frank A. Bersani, Jr., of counsel), Syracuse, for Appellant--Victor Ianno.

Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna (John Hanna, Jr., of counsel), Albany, for Appellant--Great American Victory, Markets, Inc.

Before DENMAN, P.J., and LAWTON, FALLON, BALIO and BOEHM, JJ.

MEMORANDUM:

In this action for a declaratory judgment, Supreme Court should have admitted the extrinsic evidence offered to prove that the Town Board of the Town of Skaneateles (Town Board) had passed a resolution that was inadvertently omitted by the Town Clerk from the minutes of the Town Board meeting.

Plaintiffs do not dispute that, absent the omission, the Town Board minutes would have shown that a resolution was passed on March 21, 1988, authorizing the Town Supervisor to sign a contract between the Village of Skaneateles (Village) and the Town of Skaneateles (Town). The contract, executed by the then Village Mayor on March 16, 1988 and by the then Town Supervisor on March 21, 1988, permitted the Town to connect an extension from its Sewer District 2 (Extension District) to the Village sewer system, and further provided that the Village would treat and dispose of sewage from the parcels in the Extension District. In 1989 the Extension District was connected to the Village sewer system. In 1993, however, the Village denied the Town's request for permission to connect a proposed supermarket to be built by defendant Great American Victory Markets, Inc. (Great American) on land owned by defendant Victor Ianno (Ianno) in the Extension District. Thereafter, the Village commenced this declaratory judgment action alleging, inter alia, that the contract was not validly adopted by the Town pursuant to Town Law § 64 because of the absence of a resolution in the minutes of the Town Board meeting of March 21, 1988 authorizing execution of the contract.

After a bench trial, the court ruled that extrinsic evidence was inadmissible to show the passage of the resolution and concluded that no contract existed. The proof proffered by the Town would have established that the Town Board passed the resolution at its March 21, 1988 meeting authorizing the contract with the Village. The court granted judgment to the Village declaring that additional connections to the Village sewer system from the Extension District could be made only with Village approval, and permanently enjoining Ianno and Great American from connecting the proposed supermarket to the Extension District. We reverse.

Ordinarily, extrinsic evidence is inadmissible to contradict, supplement, add to or explain municipal records, including the minutes of a town board meeting (see, Matter of Sloane v. Walsh, 245 N.Y. 208, 214, 156 N.E. 668; People v. Zeyst, 23 N.Y. 140; Loos v. City of New York, 257 App.Div. 219, 223, 13 N.Y.S.2d 119; People ex rel. Lynch v. Pierce, 149 App.Div. 286, 288-289, 133 N.Y.S. 802; People ex rel. Regan v. York, 78 App.Div. 432, 435-436, 80 N.Y.S. 300, affd 174 N.Y. 533, 66 N.E. 1115; 5 McQuillan, Municipal Corporations § 14.07, at 17-18 [3d ed 1988]; 6 McQuillan, id., § 22.42, at 491-493). Extrinsic evidence was admissible, however, to prove that the action taken at the Town Board meeting was not recorded in the minutes of the meeting because of the inadvertence of the Town Clerk (see, Parr v. President of Vil. of Greenbush, 72...

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