According to Earle Reed in the January 19, 2007 Observer Dispatch article, "After research, and we are still doing it, I think it's taxable".
So how come we have now hired an attorney from Albany to look at the case? Not so cut and dry, is it Mr. Reed? Perhaps "open mouth, insert foot" is befitting!
Mr. Reed, in case you read this blog, let me give you some advice. Just because the press is at your door asking questions, don't tell them anything that you don't know for sure is true or don't try to candy-coat something you know to be true, but you don't want the public to know just yet. That way, residents don't believe one thing and then down the road you have to tell them something else. In the long run you come across very poorly. People like to believe that the person they elected to run the town actually knows what he is talking about and has nothing to hide.
If it was as simple as looking at a recent court ruling or two, the decision should have already been made as to whether or not they are tax exempt. But let's give Mr. Garrett and Preswick Glen some credit--if you think Preswick Glen didn't at the very beginning hire a lawyer that knows the ins and outs of this kind of senior housing project, you are sadly mistaken. The simple fact is, whether we all like it or not, if they qualify for a tax exemption, they will get it and the town will get the money agreed upon in the 2004 Municipal Services Agreement. If they do not qualify for a tax exemption, they should get none--no deals just because "we'd like to keep Preswick Glen" as Mr. Reed stated in the February 5, 2007, Observer Dispatch. In fact, that was the theory behind the 2004 Municipal Services Agreement--no deals--tax exempt only if they qualified!
However, all these meetings, town board executive sessions and hiring of a lawyer leads this blogger to believe that the only thing we may see is a "modified" version of the 2004 Municipal Services Agreement. Mr. Reed likes to make deals behind closed doors as evidenced by some of the shenanigans that seem to occur after the town board meetings.
In the February 14th Observer Dispatch, Assessor Paul Smith says he plans to make a determination about the exemption before May 1. I hope the town board is forthcoming and doesn't wait until May 1 to announce the decision. Town of New Hartford residents deserve to know soon--they have been given the runaround long enough!
For copies of memos and the Municipal Service Agreements, visit our website!