Monday, December 5, 2016

Ho..Ho...Ho...!

UPDATE ADDED 12-6-16:

Guess the supervisor's office was able to find the missing Attorney Rossi letter right after I posted the blog yesterday. What a coincidence!

Anyway, here is the pdf of Attorney Rossi's letter.



Santa is Coming to Town on a white stallion pulling a sleigh with his bag of city tricks on board!

Did you read the message from Supervisor Tyksinski in the December 2016 edition of the Town Crier titled, "City of New Hartford - What it means to it's residents and taxpayers"?

Supervisor Tyksinski ended his message by saying he wants to hear comments from Town residents.

Well, okay! I'm kind of busy right now, but I will start it off.

First let me backtrack a little...


The town becoming a city was already looked into back in 2002. According to the September 18, 2002 adopted town board minutes:
Creation of City

Attorney Vincent Rossi explained that it does not make sense for Town of New Hartford to do this. There are advantages and disadvantages. If you are a city you are obligated to maintain all roads in your geographical area that would include all arterials, highways, state and county roads. The only exception would be an interstate road such as the New York State Thruway. Attorney Rossi has sent a letter to the Town Board members on this matter.

Mr. Rossi further stated that there would be no more water districts, sewer districts and lighting districts. The New York State Legislature would have to grant a City Charter. Deputy Supervisor Backman asked Attorney Rossi about the Village and the Attorney explained that the new boundary would end at the Village Line. Regarding revenues, there would be Sales Tax advantages and revenue sharing advantage. There is no way that the Charter would be approved by the State without a referendum. The Police Chief also stated that there would be Public Safety ramifications.
I thought the letter to the town board by Attorney Rossi mentioned in the 2002 minutes would make for interesting reading so I FOILed it a few weeks ago. It should be easy to locate since I knew that one of the first things the Earl Reed administration did was to use taxpayer money to have ALL of Attorney Rossi's (the previous attorney for the town under Ralph Humphreys) files copied.

The town clerk answered my FOIL by saying the supervisor's office was unable to locate the letter from Attorney Rossi. Darn, I am surprised that records would be destroyed particularly such important documents from an attorney. Oh, well, there is always research which, by the way, is my forte.

I will be picking the supervisor's diatribe apart gradually as time permits, but let me start with his statement that "elimination of all Town taxes and assessments".

Ho...ho...ho...of course, town taxes and assessments would be eliminated, but they would be replaced with city taxes and assessments! A city doesn't charge town taxes, duh!

Next, he stated "Our school system would remain as it is..."

Really? Have you taken into consideration Education Law Section 2 - Definitions #16 (b) and (c) Supervisor?

It says in short that "whenever a city shall be created after January first, nineteen hundred fifty, that school district shall become a city school district if it is (2) partly without and partly within the city and then contains the whole or the greater portion of the children of the city between birth and eighteen years of age, as shown by the school census..."

I'm no lawyer, but I do believe that law describes the New Hartford Central School District and I would venture a guess that it might affect those students who live in the NYM School District as well. Perhaps the town attorney can check into this law and get back to the taxpayers in the next Town Crier.

Also, as a city, my research found that the school district's legal debt limit would be reduced to 5%.

My sources tell me there may be other possible affects on the school district as well. Hmmm...no city created in NYS since 1942! Wonder why?

If you haven't read the Supervisor's message, you can access it on the Town Crier website on page 11 of the December 2016 edition.




Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A Tale of Two Extended-Stay Hotels...

For some time I have been curious as to why Fees In Lieu of Mitigation (FILM) agreements no longer come before the town board for their approval. Up until the time the Reed administration sought an opinion on FILM from a Glen Falls attorney, the contracts always came before the board.

Town Law specifically says that all contracts on behalf of the town have to be approved by the town board. So is it a matter of Tyksinski doing whatever the Hell he wants or is it because collecting fees in lieu of mitigation are only legal in New Hartford NY because no developer has ever filed a lawsuit against the town so they are best kept hidden?

At any rate, I decided to FOIL the contracts from some of the latest developments in New Hartford; Townplace Suites off of 840; Homewood Suites in the infamous business park; and Stewart’s Shop on Middlesettlement Road.

That’s when I noticed it…a glaring difference between the contracts signed by the two hotels. It would appear that New Hartford really doesn’t have a fair method of determining what needs to be mitigated or how much it will cost, but rather Tyksinski is in essence playing favorites or perhaps something worse.

Take for instance the Townplace Suites off Route 840 built by New Hartford Lodging out of Corning, NY.

Here is the description according to town Planning Board agenda dated September 2014:
Townplace Suites Preliminary Site Plan Review of a proposed hotel on Middle Settlement Road, New Hartford, New York. Tax Map #316.016­6­64.2; Zoning: C1 General Commercial. Proposed 98 units on Middle Settlement Road at NYS Route 840 West ramp.


Then, there is the proposal put forth to the Planning Board in May 2015 by Larry Adler:
Homewood Suites Mr. Larry Adler/New Hartford Office Group: Preliminary Site Plan Review for a proposed 4­story, 85 room hotel and a restaurant of approximately 3000 square feet on Woods Park Drive, New Hartford, New York. Tax Map #328.000­3­7.1; Lot Size: Approximately 4 Acres. Zoning: C1 General Commercial.


Notice, both are 4 story buildings; one for 98 units and the other for 85 units (plus Mr. Adler's proposal also includes a restaurant on a separate parcel); both are located almost across from each other off of Rte. 840; and both are for extended-stay hotels.

I put together a spreadsheet of the FILM monies collected from each of the developers according to the FILM contracts each signed:

(Click here for a larger pdf view!)

It is quite easy to see that Mr. Adler paid far less for mitigation (...of something apparently yet to be determined) than the Townplace Suites across the way.

How does the town justify charging mitigation fees without identifying the possible problem that might need mitigating? Also, it is interesting to note the difference in fees for the two (2) hotels given proximity and the similarities of the two projects.

Mr. Adler's contract notes that, in addition to the $13,123.20 of fees collected, credit has been given to Mr. Adler because he has agreed to provide lighting along the entry/exit to Woods Park Drive from Rte. 840. Whoopie Doo!

No indication of how many light; when (a year later there is no sign of any lighting being installed); who is going to pay to keep the lights on (taxpayers?); or for that matter if they will even be lit. Just that he is going to place an undetermined number of lights along the road into his project therefore, he has been given credit and does not need to pay the customary fees other developers have to pay.

Problem is, other than a cut-through to Seneca Turnpike, Woods Park Drive only leads directly to his business park! More importantly, it is also a town-owned road built with taxpayer dollars.

Town Law Section 64 clearly states that the "management, custody and control of all town lands, buildings and property of the town" is placed squarely in the hands of the town board. Without town board action, Mr. Adler doesn’t have any business placing lights on Woods Park Drive without the issue coming before the town board.

Further what is he mitigating? Seriously…making it easier to drive to his own business park? Really? Actually, since when did lighting become a mitigating factor identified in the GEIS as requiring the payment of mitigation fees?

Here is something else that I find interesting. Tyksinski's signature on Mr Adler’s agreement was notarized by the town attorney, Attorney Cully. The other two agreements that I FOILed were signed by the town clerk and the village clerk. Why is the town attorney involved in agreements that clearly should have been presented for town board approval? Is there some kind of backroom deal going on here?

According to Town Law, these three (3) contracts and any other FILM contracts that have been signed during Tyksinski's reign are null and void.

Here are pdfs of the two (2) hotel FILM contracts I received through FOIL.