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.
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.