Saturday, February 02, 2008

Coincidence and Charity . . . or a Well-Crafted Deal?

In December, 2006, voters in the New Hartford School District turned down a bonding proposal that included $450,000 for 87 acres on Tibbitts Road to be used for a bus repair facility. The subsequent bonding proposal that passed did not include money for the purchase of land for a bus facility.

In December, 2007, the New Hartford School District broaches the idea of the school district, Town, Village, and BOCES collaborating to build a "shared transportation facility."

On January 25, 2008, we read that the New Hartford School District, Town, and Oneida County will pool payments in lieu of taxes from the initial tenants of the New Hartford Business Park to extend and widen a Town road to serve the Business Park and to connect the Business Park to Rt. 840.

On January 30, 2008, at a public hearing, residents questioned the government's support of a private developer by building the road to serve the Business Park, and indicated that they wanted to have a say in the project. New Hartford Online has posted the press release and the slides presented at this hearing. The information presented indicates that the New Hartford School District will pick up about 71% of a $2.9 million bond to pay for the road based on current tax rates, with the actual sum over time being higher than this amount.

On February 1, 2008,the developer announces that he plans to donate 17 acres (which happens to be land-locked behind BOCES) to the New Hartford School District to build a bus garage that could be shared by area school districts.

Was this series of events coincidence?

The New Hartford School District's commitment of over $2 million of PILOT to the Town for the road requires no voter approval.

The
New Hartford School District's acceptance of a 'gift' requires no voter approval.

Still Coincidence?

The school district gets "free" land for a bus garage and the developer gets a "free" road -- but if we put these isolated (?) acts together as a "transaction" it looks the same as if the school district were paying the developer $121,000/acre plus interest.

The voter-rejected proposal to buy 87 acres for $450,000 looks like an incredible "bargain" by comparison.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Strikeslip,

Interesting theory...particularly when this "crew" has already shown that they will do anything to get what they want...and no one is going to stop them. They could care less what the taxpayers think.

Let's hope they do not get a second term in office.

Greens and Beans said...

Hey Strike, nice job with putting all of the bogus pieces of this puzzle together. The pieces fit together a little too precisely not to ask us to accept this far-fetched news at face value? This unbelievable chronology of events could have happened by happenstance, but only if reality were akin to some sort of gratuitous thirty minute television sitcom. It is as if they think that we have reverted to the naiveté days of the early sixties. Heck, I really think the Warren Commission’s report chronicling the JFK assignation theory of one shooter/one bullet is more plausible. You know the report that expected the public to believe that one bullet passed through the President’s neck, continued through the front seat of the limo, stopped in mid-air to reverse itself, move upward and to the left, then go into Texas Governor Connolly’s side. Later, the very “same” bullet was discovered - in pristine condition - resting on the President’s stretcher in the hallway of the Dallas hospital. Nice, neat, but unbelievable!

Disgusted in New Hartford said...

Once again, the TOWN OF NEW HARTFORD REPUBLICAN ELITE GUARD screwed the town residents and are preventing them from voting.

Town residents need to address this problem and fast.

We should mount a recall petition to vote them out of office.

Silence Dogood said...

Disgusted...Democracy went out the door long ago. I do not think in NY State you can do a recall.

Milton said...

Why does this area need another business park??? Where are these new businesses? We're just moving existing business from one location to another leaving empty buildings.

Looks like the Town is going to get what it wants.

Slience Dogood said...

Lets not forget "The Town" is made up of elected officials who we can and should hold accountable for the decisions they make. Until election time comes around again and without recall rights, the citizens of the community need to speak up load and clear about what they like and dislike on how "the Town" operates. Have we forgotten the principles of Democracy in our country? Government needs to listen to the people even at the local level Its that simple. If they don't come election time vote them out for another devil

waterboy said...

So "The Town" helps retain a large business which has employees who support other businesses at lunch or after work. Maybe these employees have childern in schools and if a business that large left that would affect a school district or districts. Maybe they are looking out for their voters. It would not help "The Town" if they moved to Rome. OR worse North Carolina.

The Hartford Insurance needed another location since they were consolidating a couple of offices and the building has some other problems. Their work could not be interrupted during construction from their LEASED building. Plus now days everybody wants/needs a "green building" with higher cost of everyting why would you want an old heating system, cooling system, or computer infrastructure. Where else are you going to find an empty building to fit these requirements?

Greens and Beans said...

Fair enough Waterboy. You bring up an excellent point. Job retention, particularly in the Eastern portion of Oneida County, is pivotal in terms of keeping The Hartford Insurance jobs here. The folks that work for this employer have the type of jobs that are some of the most desirable jobs, as well as advantageous to the Banking and Insurance sector Cinergy, worthy of their retention.

With respect to the above paragraph, I still feel that we should take a better look at the cost of this project to the taxpayers. I also feel that Mohawk Valley Edge should have been more considerate of this area’s already stressed financial picture. This type of public expenditure is quite substantial for this area’s economy to absorb. It is a zero sum game in terms of the economics of this deal. The financing needed to put this project on the fast track is definitely taking a big bite out of the local economy utility. I will recognize that the finance packaging of this deal is a complex piece of work that must have taken some considerable time to craft. However, some of this financing, particularly the New Hartford School District’s portion, appears to be legally dubious.

Yes time is of the essence, because the Hartford wants to be in their new facility by November of this year (2008). This makes the logistics of the infrastructure in terms of providing the utilities needed for this new facility in question. The former Bossert Manufacturing site (13 acres) in Utica, located just a few miles down the road from Hartford Insurance’s present location, would have made better since. The utilities, in terms of water, sewer, natural gas and electricity are already in place for a project of this size. Another vacant site that would serve as a more sensible fit for this undertaking would be the area on Whitesboro Street in Utica that formally housed the Six Nations Hosing Projects. Here again the Banking/Insurance industry Cinergy would come into play with this site. There are other Insurance companies successfully operating in downtown Utica. And as with the Bossert site, the utility expenditure would be minimized because ample commercial water, sewer, gas and electric services are already in place and would not stress the existing systems as would be the case with expanding them to the Woods Highway location.

Both alternative sites offered above would expedite the building process to ease the already extremely tight construction timeframe and pose absolutely no stress to the existing utility system’s infrastructure. The additional benefit would be a much lower cost to the already stressed taxpayers. I am not saying that the deal did not appear to be a rather complex piece of work. It was. Notwithstanding, a little more preparation and thought on behalf of Mohawk Valley Edge’s site selection would have saved a substantial sum of money and stress to the already questionable utility’s ability to handle the additional strain. All of this should have been taken into consideration first.

rexmandeville said...

After all the discussion on this issue is in, one thing will remain the same. The Hartford has moved full speed ahead on the construction of their new building. Just drive by on 840 and take a look. They are already committed to this project, there is no stopping it now it would seem. I could be wrong, but I think that this would be a bit of leverage in negotiating with them over their participating in the infrastructure work that needs to be done. They deserve support from the taxpayers, however, not a free ride.