Friday, May 15, 2015

Special Meeting in the Town of New Hartford...

A Special Meeting of the Town Board will be held on Wednesday evening, May 20, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. in the Supervisor's Office on the 2nd floor of Butler Hall.

The purpose of the meeting is to discuss a proposed municipal agreement between the City of Utica Police Department and the Town of New Hartford Police Department.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Two (2) Vying for One (1) School Board Seat in NHCS…

New Hartford Central School held their budget hearing last evening; the attendance was abysmal.

Beth Coombs and Alexis Tangorra, both running to fill the one (1) open board seat, spoke at the end of the budget hearing.

On May 19, 2015, voters will have the opportunity to vote on the 2015-16 school budget; a proposition to purchase five (5) school buses; and one person to represent you on the school board.

I encourage everyone to at least listen to what each candidate has to say; the winner will represent you on the school board for the next five (5) years.

Videos of each are presented in the order that the candidates spoke last night:

Beth Coombs:

Alexis Tangorra:

Here is the entire public hearing discussing changes to the budget for 2015-16:

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Yet another Extended Stay Hotel coming to New Hartford…

The New Hartford Planning Board met last evening, May 11, 2015, in Butler Hall.

The second item on the agenda was Preliminary Site Plan review requested by developer Larry Adler to build a 4-story 85-room extended stay hotel and a restaurant.

If you remember, last September, the Planning Board met for Preliminary Site Plan Review approval for a proposed extended stay hotel on Middlesettlement Road in very close proximity to the New Hartford Business Park. (see Townplace Suites by Marriott coming to New Hartford?)

Last night, Mr. Adler presented his plan to connect a new extended stay hotel to the existing Hampton Inn and Suites, an 87-room hotel built by Mr. Adler that opened in 2012, located in the New Hartford Business Park.

After the presentation, the Planning Board voted to give Preliminary Site Plan approval to Mr. Adler's project.

Next on the agenda, Mr. Adler asked the Planning Board to approve a minor subdivision “for a hotel parcel containing approximately 3.6 acres plus a parcel for a restaurant containing approximately .6 acres. Again approval was given by the New Hartford Planning Board.

Coincidentally, on the Friday, March 15, 2015 Oneida County Industrial Agency’s agenda:
Consider an inducement resolution relating to the New Hartford Homewood, LLC Facility and authorizing a public hearing. The Company is requesting financial assistance in the form of mortgage tax exemption and sales tax exemption.
The same consideration given to the owners of the proposed Marriott on Middlesettlement Road.

I can’t confirm that New Hartford Homewood, LLC is the same entity building the extended stay hotel proposed by Mr. Adler because Larry Adler’s name was the only one on the papers presented at the Planning Board, but…let’s just say that Homewood Suites, which are extended stay hotels, and Hampton Inn & Suites are both Hilton flags.

No official word yet as to whether last year's request for a PILOT for the Marriott Townplace Suites will be granted or whether Mr. Adler will eventually request a PILOT for the proposed extended stay hotel in his business park; but, honestly, two extended stay hotels in New Hartford? One can only imagine that it must be in anticipation of the hundreds (perhaps thousands) of jobs soon to be created at the Marcy Nanocenter!

Here is the video of last night’s Planning Board meeting:

Friday, May 8, 2015

Special Town Board Meeting...

A special meeting of the New Hartford Town Board was held at 5 p.m. on Monday, May 4, 2015.

The meeting was called primarily to discuss several certioraris currently being litigated. The certioraris that were slated to be discussed included:
Talkeetna, LLC
Utica National
Special Metals
Widewaters French Road (Home Depot)
Burrstone Energy
Immediately after the Pledge of Allegiance, the meeting was called to order and a motion was made and seconded to go into Executive Session for the hiring of an attorney.

After the executive session, a motion was made to hire Attorney Daniel G. Vincelette of the Vincelette Law Firm in Albany at a rate of $250 an hour plus incidentals to defend the town in the following certioraris:
Utica National
Widewaters French Road (Home Depot)
A resolution was also adopted regarding a fence on the Rayhill Trail extension and Supervisor Tyksinski brought the board up-to-date regarding the FEMA applications received by several residents who are desirous of having FEMA purchase their property.

Here is the video of that very short meeting:

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

New Hartford Central School, Freedom of Information and the Open Meetings Law...

You might think that the April 28, 2015 New Hartford Central School board meeting was unremarkable; it was, as long as you disregard the fact that Board President John Jadhon wanted to discuss how to keep anonymous letters that are sent to the school board members from being FOILable. His solution was to not discuss them during board meetings which is clearly not in keeping with the Freedom of Information Law.

You would also have to overlook the fact that once again Mr. Nole brought to the board table that an executive session was needed to discuss pending litigation; a reason for an executive session that is absolutely not in accordance with the Open Meetings Law.

On my way out of the room, I walked up to the board table and told board members that according to the Open Meetings Law, when they vote to enter executive session for proposed, pending or current litigation, they were required to name the litigants.

Here is the video of the April 28, 2015 school board meeting:

After leaving that meeting, I decided I had enough…meeting after meeting of the same b/s; either this board is not familiar with the law or they choose to ignore it. I felt it was time to write a letter to Board President John Jadhon informing him of the board's obligations under the law; then, if this behavior were to continue, everyone would know that these elected officials and school administrators just don't give a damn about taxpayers or the law.

My hope was that since my letter was not sent anonymously, but rather signed by me, it would be brought before the board for discussion.

So that no one has to FOIL my letter, I am making it available here for everyone who wishes to read it.

Click here for a pdf with larger print!

Last night, on May 5th, another school board meeting took place. However, not a word was mentioned about my letter at last night's meeting, not even a private acknowledgement of receipt was given to me. Both Mr. Jadhon and Mr. Nole walked right past me at last night’s meeting and said hello, but neither one said a word to acknowledge my letter.

How rude and arrogant is it to not even acknowledge receipt of my email? Did all board members receive a copy in their “Friday packet” or did Mr. Jadhon choose to keep it between himself; a select few board members; and Bob Nole?

Three (3) topics that were discussed at the school board table last night deserve to be mentioned:

1. As the board was looking for a vote to approve the April 28, 2015 board minutes, Mr. Flemma noted that there was nothing in the minutes that addressed the discussion regarding Mr. Jadhon’s desire to stifle the public’s ability to FOIL anonymous letters received by the school. It was decided that the minutes would need to be corrected for approval at the next meeting.

2. When Mr. Flemma started to ask questions regarding “an incident” involving 40 or more students that apparently took place during the Junior Prom so that he could factually address questions he was receiving from town residents, he was basically “shushed” by Bob Nole.

3. At the end of the meeting, Bob Nole once again requested an executive session to discuss pending litigation. This time, Mr. Flemma advised Mr. Nole that when using litigation as a reason for the executive session, it is necessary to list the litigants.

Mr. Nole, in his usual “soft” voice, so as not to be heard, replied that the pending litigation is against the Town of New Hartford.

No argument from Mr. Nole to Mr. Flemma’s assertion that the litigants be named?

So perhaps Mr. Nole did read my email to Mr. Jadhon! Hopefully, they consulted with Attorney Joseph Shields, who wrote "The Seven Legal Do's for Board Members" mentioned in my letter to Mr. Jadhon, and who is also one of the attorneys for New Hartford Central School!

Here is the video of last evening’s New Hartford School Board meeting:

A final note. Two people are vying for one open spot on the Board of Education. If you don’t mind the closed door policy between Bob Nole and the majority of the school board, you can either not bother to take time out of your day to vote on May 19th or vote for Ms. Soggs-Coombs; either way the status quo will be maintained.

If on the other hand, you are tired of the arrogance of the majority of the current board members and want change, make sure to get out and vote for Alexis Tangorra. Ms. Tangorra attends every board meeting and has proven that she is not afraid to speak up and question the school board when necessary. If Ms. Tangorra is elected, it is a good bet that Mr. Flemma will not be the only one who speaks up for the taxpayers in New Hartford!

The choice is yours…just remember, you get exactly who and what you vote for!

UPDATE added Tuesday, May 12, 2015:

I spoke to Mr. Jadhon at tonight's school board meeting and he stated that he didn't received my email. I even sent a second email to Mr. Jadhon which he claims he also did not receive. I have always found Mr. Jadhon to be a very pleasant and likable person so I have no reason to not believe him. Problem is..if Mr. Jadhon didn't get the emails which were sent to him at the school email address, who did and why wasn't it forwarded to Mr. Jadhon, clearly the intended recipient? Are school emails to board members being screened and only certain ones sent to their intended destination?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

New Blog in Town...

Just a quick note to welcome a new blog to the political arena....cnytruth -Tales of Finally Escaping Rotting Upstate NY.

Visit their blog; while you are there, sign up for email alerts so you can receive notification of any new posts.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

New Hartford Central School Board Meeting....

The April 7, 2015 New Hartford Central School Board meeting started at 6:00 p.m. instead of the usual 7:00 p.m. Two (2) executive sessions were immediately called by Superintendent Nole and the board unanimously voted in the affirmative.

First one executive session to discuss current litigation; Attorney Frank Miller was in attendance for that one. Then they came out and immediately voted to go back into executive session for two (2) things; proposed litigation and some other reason. As usual, Mr. Nole spoke so softly it was impossible to hear what the second reason was for the executive session.

Here is the short video of that portion of the meeting:

After the second executive meeting, there was a short break to allow the board to eat the sandwiches and drinks that were ordered for their dinner.

Finally, the business portion of the meeting started.

Highlights of meeting:

1. A request from taxpayer to consider a Veteran's exemption for school taxes.

2. Common Core - a parent spoke.

3. Discussion of the Budget for the 2015-16 school year. After the discussion, the board voted 6 in favor and 1 opposed (Mr. Flemma) to adopt the budget as presented. The proposed budget will be presented to the district voters in May.

4. Question from Mr. Flemma as to procedure for posting coach positions.

Below is the business portion of the meeting.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sunshine is the best disinfectant....

Today is the first day of Sunshine Week, a nationwide effort to bring more transparency to government. The Empire Center works year-round to connect you with information about your state and local governments, but according to their Facebook page, they will be turning it up a notch this week.

Here's some of the information you can find in their updated State Budget Tool:

And in case anyone is wondering why I have not been writing to the blog lately...there's not really much to tell. After voting themselves a raise in the 2015 budget last November, the town board voted unanimously to only hold meetings once a month from now on!

Since then, the meetings have lasted roughly 30 to 45 minutes (including the time for any public hearings) with little to no information given out. Seems like New Hartford has become a "closed shop".

Plus, no one from the public even bothers to attend these meetings so, as Supervisor Tyksinski suggested at the last meeting, "That must mean that things are good! Everyone is happy, right?" Sadly, the Observer Dispatch doesn't even bother to attend the monthly meetings.

For the time being, I have decided to invest more time in my doll shop, Cloth Dolls by Stitch 'N Stuff, my Etsy Shop and my Craftsy Shop. I am also in the process of setting up an entirely new and different shop that will be open shortly.

I will continue videotaping town board meetings and posting the videos, time permitting, on my Youtube channel, but my blog writings for the time being will be limited unless there is something to report.

Visit New Hartford NY Online on Facebook. We often post interesting articles regarding NYS politics in general; stop by and "like" our page.

Have something you want to report? Remember, the New Hartford Tip Line is an open forum for anyone who would like to speak anonymously regarding anything in the Town of New Hartford.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

More Controversy Surrounding the New Hartford Public Library

Yesterday’s article, Can a Library Board Member also be treasurer?, on the heels of an article reporting an $11,500 shortfall in their 2015 budget, has to leave taxpayers shaking their heads. To think a couple of years ago, this board actually asked taxpayers to fund a million dollar library. The New Hartford Public Library board needs to get their act together.

Let me try to shed some light on the questions asked in yesterday’s article. While I am not an authority, I do have previous experience in the non-profit arena and research is my forte.

The article says:
”…Albany-based attorney Ellen Bach told local officials that, in her opinion, it is not legal to have a board member as a treasurer. She based that statement on a 1977 opinion from the Office of the New York State Comptroller, among other documents.”
I just happen to have a copy of the State Comptroller's opinion which states:
”Conclusion: A member of a board of trustees of a public library may not be appointed library treasurer.

March 8, 1977.”
Further, according to page 17 of a booklet authored by the NYS Comptroller:
Common Law Whitehall Doctrine "The Whitehall doctrine, as a matter of public policy, provides that a board may not appoint one of its members to a position (Wood v. Town of Whitehall, 120 Misc 124 (Sup Ct Wash Co), affd, 206 App Div 786 (3d Dept 1923)). (See also, Macrum v. Hawkins, 261 NY 193 (1933), and Matter of Brenner v. Vines, 35 AD2d 536 (2d Dept 1970). In Wood, the court decided that it would be contrary to public policy and the general welfare to uphold such an appointment. The recusal of the member of the board to be appointed does not remedy the conflict of interests (1995 N.Y. Op. Atty. Gen. (Inf.) 1074).”

"When public officers, such as the members of a town board, are vested by the Legislature with power of appointment to office, a genuine responsibility is imposed. It must be exercised impartially, with freedom from suspicion of taint or bias that may be against the public interest. An appointing board cannot absolve itself from the charge of ulterior motives when it appoints one of its own members to an office. It cannot make any difference whether or not his vote was necessary to the appointment. The opportunity to improperly influence the other members of the board is there. No one can say in a given case that the opportunity is or is not exercised. What influenced the other members to vote as they did, no one knows except themselves. Were their motives proper, based solely on the fitness of the appointee? They may have been. Were they improper, based on the promise or expectation of reciprocal favors? (Wood v. Town of Whitehall, 120 Misc 124 (Sup Ct Wash Co), affd, 206 App Div 786 (3d Dept 1923)).
The State Comptroller’s Opinion, to some, is just that…an opinion. However, in this case, the State Comptroller seems to have based their decision on a court decision.

Library Trustees are public officers and as such they have to take an Oath of Office. Whether the library chooses to adhere to the Whitehall Doctrine is their choice, but why wouldn’t they, at this point, want to remove any doubt of impropriety?

Yesterday’s article also touched upon a subject that has been a sticking point for a long time…the belief of some library board members that they are a hybrid library.

Just what is a hybrid library? According to the Library of Information Science:
“The hybrid library is a term that has entered the parlance of the library and information profession in the past three years. It is viewed as a halfway step towards the fully digital library.”
According to the NYS Education Dept., there are four (4) different types of libraries; hybrid library is NOT one of them.

So why does the library board think they are a hybrid library?

According to yesterday’s article:
”Mowat said the issue also is complicated by the library’s dual status as a nonprofit and a municipal library. She said it is a requirement of a nonprofit to have a board member as a treasurer who acts as oversight and reviews monthly banking activity, among others, whereas in municipal government the director of finance or comptroller does not have a position on the board.”
Ah ha! They think the library is a both non profit and a municipal library. That is entirely impossible according to Education Law Section 216. A library is chartered (incorporated) by the State Education Dept. and according to Section 216 of Education Law:
”…no institution or association which might be incorporated by the regents under this chapter shall, without their consent, be incorporated under any other general law.”
The library seems to be confused as to the difference between a 501(c)(3) organization and a non profit.

“Nonprofit corporate” status and “tax-exempt” status are two different things according to the IRS faqs:
• Nonprofit status refers to incorporation status under state law. • Tax-exempt status refers to federal income tax exemption under the Internal Revenue Code.
Education Law Section 216 establishes the fact that the library cannot incorporate under state law, but they can be a 501(c)(3) public charity; although it is not necessary; it only creates an added expense for preparing the 990.

According to the IRS, a library is automatically exempt from Federal taxes to include Federal Unemployment Tax and they do not need to file a 990. Under IRS rules, a municipal library is considered an instrumentality and would be exempt from Federal taxes and contributions would be tax-deductible so there really is no need for the library to have a 501(c)(3).

According to the IRS faqs:
”For non-tax reasons, though, government entities are sometimes asked to provide a tax-exempt number or determination letter to prove their status as a tax-exempt organization.”

”The IRS will issue a letter describing the tax status of government entities. Most organizations and individuals will accept this letter as the substantiation that they need. No application is required, and no fee is associated with this letter.”
So perhaps a call to the IRS might be in order.

One last thing, the library board needs to figure out whether they want to be a nonprofit or a municipal library because as a nonprofit it would be against the NYS Constitution Gifts and Loans clause for the town to give the library taxpayer dollars absent a contract with the town, and each village.

Frankly, this writer, who is also a taxpayer, is tired of hearing that the library is a “hybrid library” and yet they turn to the taxpayers every time they want money.

Get it together New Hartford Public Library Board of Trustees!!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Marriott looks to PILOT their way into New Hartford…

Tyksinski, who frequently advocates for expansion of the commercial/retail areas of town, suddenly takes exception when a PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) is requested for the Townplace Suites by Marriot that is proposed to be built off Middlesettlement Road in New Hartford. I blogged about the plans to build the hotel in my blog, Townplace Suites by Marriott coming to New Hartford?

According to Tyksinski, these kind of projects are generally only allowed for business parks.

At the November 19, 2014 town board meeting, Tyksinski asked for a town board resolution to allow him to send a letter of opposition to the Oneida County Industrial Development Agency (OCIDA).

According page 2 of the October 17, 2014 OCIDA meeting minutes, the developer, New Hartford Lodging Group, LLC., is also asking for mortgage tax and sales tax exemptions:
A request to consider an initial authorizing resolution relating to New Hartford Lodging Group LLC. The Applicant is requesting financial assistance in the form of mortgage tax exemptions and sales tax exemptions for a four-story, 98-room Townplace Suites Marriott Hotel on Middle Settlement Road in New Hartford.
The minutes further say:
D. Grow stated that this request is different than what the Agency has done in the past, and suggested inducing the initial resolution and hold a public hearing to see what the competition has to say.
A Public Hearing has been scheduled for December 17, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. in Butler Hall. If you wish to voice your opinion, plan to attend.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Just one minute and seventeen seconds…

that’s how long it took the town board to unanimously approve a board resolution to bond for $450,000!

No questions, no discussion except that Councilman Messa asked if the $450,000 includes the 2015 capital project amount. Tyksinski said no it doesn’t.

By the way, at the November 4, 2014 town board meeting, Tyksinski stated that the 2015 capital projects borrowing will amount to about $560,000. That's on top of the $621,571 that was borrowed in April 2014. Add to that the $2,580,000 that was borrowed in 2013.

No bond resolution was provided to the public at the November 19th meeting, nor was a resolution read prior to the vote as required by the town’s Organizational minutes that are adopted each year. However, we did get a copy of the resolution a from the Town Clerk a couple of days AFTER the board meeting.

While it is true that the town has to pay back Sangertown as a result of a certiorari settlement (copy of court order here), why wasn't this discussed in public session and why didn't one of the councilmen publicly ask if some of the reported $1 million plus Fund Balance could be used to at least lessen the burden on the taxpayers?

We can only make a couple of assumptions at this point. Either the town board discussed the $450,000 borrowing in executive session which is contrary to the Open Meetings Law; or they are completely clueless when it comes to representing the taxpayers in the Town of New Hartford. I would guess it is a combination of the two!

Watch the video and notice Tyksinski's reluctance to bring up the subject. Here's the video of the vote:


According to the article in today's Observer Dispatch, Sangertown wins tax grievance case; town, school district owe millions:
Mary Mandel, New Hartford school district assistant superintendent for business affairs, said that a course of action regarding the more than $2.9 million refund has not yet been voted on by the Board of Education, but they are confident school programs will not be affected.

Mandel said she could not comment on proceedings regarding the mall’s assessed value for 2013 through 2015 because the matter still is pending litigation.
That's exactly what I was told when I made an inquiry; the matter is still in litigation so the school board has taken no action yet.

The $450,000 Bond Anticipation Note is scheduled to be sold by the town on December 11, 2014.

So inquiring minds want to know...if the school is waiting because years 2013-2015 are still in litigation, why is Tyksinski in such a hurry to borrow money, particularly at year end?

I wonder why the attorneys for Sangertown would be willing to accept partial payment from the town when there is still pending litigation. Perhaps Sangertown needs their money as soon as possible even if it means getting some from the taxing jurisdiction that owes the least amount of money.

Sure does make one wonder the motivation for the town's borrowing now to pay a debt that is still uncertain because of pending litigation.

Now, that might be a good question for one of the board members to ask at the next town board meeting!