Thursday, December 23, 2010

Eminent Domain...

A town board meeting was held last night.

Everyone has probably already read about the 15% contribution for the Dispatch health care benefits that were not collected by the town, Tyksinki: Reed failed to collect health care benefits.

Was it Reed's job to see that the 15% health care contributions were collected...what about the person doing payroll? Or did Reed gave a directive to the person that was doing the payroll?

Anyway, another topic not reported on in today's paper was eminent domain - the taking of private property for a public use. After a rather lengthy Executive Session, the board voted unanimously to initiate eminent domain proceedings against the Yagers (Twin Orchards) for the property that Larry Adler "needs" so that the business park can "flourish".



My, oh my, the things a "progressive" town like New Hartford has to do to keep the developers happy!

Be sure to read what Strikeslip has to say on this topic...Taking and Giving in New Hartford...!

UPDATE: The Observer Dispatch now has an article online...Town to use eminent domain to gain access to business park.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Inflated Third Qtr Sales Tax Revenue in 2010...

or something else?

Back in January 2010, the Observer Dispatch ran an article,
New Hartford takes advance from county to meet payroll.

According to that article:
The advance from the county, which was received late last month before Tyksinski was sworn in, came from anticipated sales tax revenue for the final quarter of 2009 [emphasis added], funds that are usually not disbursed until February.
Now fast forward to the third quarter of 2010, Supervisor Patrick Tyksinski said in today's Observer Dispatch article, New Hartford reserve fund back in black:
"the town’s recent finances were helped by an inflated third quarter sales tax check from the county. That check was about $200,000 larger than projected [emphasis added] and meant the town could see 4 percent more than the $4.9 million budgeted for revenue in 2010."
As we reported in our blog earlier today, the sales tax revenue allocated to the Town of New Hartford for the third quarter of 2010 was actually LESS than received for 2009. So how could Tyksinski think that the town received an "inflated sales tax check" for the third quarter of 2010?

Simple once you have the facts...

Each quarter we FOIL the amount of money received by the town for sales tax. When we FOILed the third quarter sales tax revenue for 2009, we were sent an email that said it was $1,226,244.07.

However, when we recently FOILed sales tax data from the County covering the years 2006-present, we noticed that the spreadsheet for 2009 listed the third quarter sales tax revenue as $1,476,244.07. Curious as to whether it was a typo or whether the revenue had been adjusted for some reason, we emailed the County and asked for an explanation:
Is there an error for the 3rd Quarter [of 2009]? As you see below for the 3rd quarter you show $1,226,244.07, however, on the excel spreadsheet, you show $1,476,244.07.
The reply we received was:
Sorry about the error. The correct number is $1,476,244.07. There was a $250,000 advance on the sales tax for that quarter that I added into the spreadsheet.
Either Supervisor Tyksinski doesn't realize it or doesn't want anyone else to know that the reason the 2010 third quarter check seemed to be $200,000 more than the 2009 third quarter check is because the 2009 third quarter check was reduced by an advance made prior to November 2009.

It would appear that the town not only borrowed $300,000 against the final quarter [fourth quarter] of 2009 sales tax revenue, but also borrowed $250,000 against the 2009 third quarter sales tax revenue!

So if there was a $250,000 advance on the third quarter of 2009 sales tax revenue and Supervisor Tyksinski is unaware of that advance as evidenced by the fact that he thinks the town received an inflated sales tax check for the third quarter of 2009...just how did the $250,000 sales tax advance transaction get recorded in the books in 2009?

Perhaps a 2009 audit should have been done as required by Town Law §123 instead of Supervisor Tyksinski making excuses at the September 8, 2010 town board meeting for NOT doing one.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Supervisor Tyksinski and Concerned Citizens...

must be using different numbers when it comes to calculating actual and anticipated sales tax revenue. Our numbers were obtained right from the source...Oneida County. We are not sure what numbers Supervisor Tyksinski is using.

Today's Observer Dispatch article, New Hartford reserve fund back in black, seems to have some misinformation.

According to the Observer Dispatch article, Tyksinski said:
"the town’s recent finances were helped by an inflated third quarter sales tax check from the county. That check was about $200,000 larger than projected and meant the town could see 4 percent more than the $4.9 million budgeted for revenue in 2010."
Inflated third quarter sales tax check? Don't think inflated is the proper word for the actual sales tax received last month.

For the third quarter of 2010, the town received $1,449,264.46. However, for the third quarter of 2009, the town received 1,476,244.07. In other words, the town received $26,979.61 less sales tax revenue for the third quarter of 2010 than they did in 2009; where did the $200,000 increase mentioned in the article come from?

And for the record, exactly $5 million was budgeted for anticipated sales tax revenue for 2010, not $4.9 million as stated in the article. The 2010 budget anticipated sales tax revenue break-down was as follows:

General Wholetown.....$1,777,074
General Part-town..........192,321
Highway Part-town.......3,030,605

Total......................$5,000,000

As we pointed out in an earlier blog, What a Revoltin' development this is!" even with increased sales tax revenue received at the County level, the Town of New Hartford's share as a percentage of the whole is decreasing approximately 1% each year.

However, for arguments sake, let's assume that the town receives the exact same amount of sales tax revenue for the fourth quarter of 2010 as it did in 2009. If that holds true, the town will only receive a total of $4,968,419.48; short of the $5 million that was budgeted and only slightly more than the amount actually received for 2009 [$4,953,600.45].

Using that scenario, the town will be short $31,580.52 of anticipated sales tax revenue versus the budgeted amount for 2010. Where are they getting a possible 4% increase over the 2010 budgeted amount?

Perhaps predicting a 4% increase before the check is in the mail next February is a little bit premature, eh?

We also have some other issues, but we will wait for the year-end numbers. It should be interesting!

Oh and by the way, according to that same article:
Municipalities generally keep 5 to 10 percent of their annual budget as a reserve for emergencies. With New Hartford’s 2011 budget of $4.3 million, it should have a reserve of about $219,350 to $438,000.
It is unclear as to what part of the Town of New Hartford 2011 budget was used to come up with a figure of $4.3 million. We should be so lucky as to only have a $4.3 million total budget as the article seems to imply! The police budget alone is over $3.3 million! The article is probably referring only to the General Wholetown portion of the budget for 2011; not the total budget.

At any rate, the town board needs to develop a formal policy as to how much should be kept in the "rainy day fund". Flying by the seat of their pants just doesn't seem to be working!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Town Board Meeting tonight...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010 starting at 7:00 p.m. in Butler Hall. Agenda now online!

Under Public Presentations is Walker Planning & Design (Sloan Zone Map Amendment). This Zone Map Amendment request is for additional property to be re-zoned from Manufacturing to RB-1 along with the Jay-K Lumber request that was presented at the last town board meeting.

Here is the video of the presentation by Walker Planning & Design at the November 24th meeting:



The map below shows the Jay-K property to be re-zoned shaded in pink. The area in white is the property owned by the Sloans [former Cabinet location] that will be the subject of tonight's presentation to the town board.

The property outlined in green is currently owned by Lucky Boy Group, Inc. According to the NYS Division of Corporations, the address of the corporation is 8111 Halsey Road, Whitesboro, NY 13492 and Stephen R. Sloan is the Chief Executive Officer. This property covers approximately 12 acres is not part of the Sloan zone map request at this time.



Click Here for a pdf version of the map.


In 2006, Shumaker Engineering was paid by the town to prepare the Greenbelt Study, a wetland mitigation/creation area adjacent to Mud Creek between Preswick Glen and Jay-K Lumber.

As Strikeslip points out on his blog, Wasting Wetlands in New Hartford? "New Hartford needs to protect its wetlands in order to protect its residents. Any decision allowing development in this area must evaluate the impacts to the wetlands and to people down stream."



Click here for a pdf version showing the Freshwater Wetlands and Checkzone area at the intersection of Middlesettlement Road and Seneca Turnpike.




Late afternoon on March 8, 2008 Mud Creek is over the banks on Royal Brook Lane in NYM and will still rise higher before all is said and done. The bottom rung of the playhouse ladder is approximately 8 inches off the ground and the water was just under the rung around 9:30 p.m. that evening.



Then there is the traffic issue that was discussed at the November 1, 2010 Zoning Board of Appeals meeting and reported in the November 3rd Observer Dispatch article, 2 large-scale projects rejected in New Hartford.

Wetlands and traffic congestion...two good reasons to carefully study the impact on the area before making a final decision.

At this point, a public hearing is supposed to be scheduled for January 11, 2011. If you live in this area or are impacted by the flooding of Mud Creek, it might be good to plan to attend tonight's meeting and mark your calendar to attend the January 11, 2011 Public Hearing!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

"What a revoltin' development this is!"






We have heard time and time again how beneficial it is to encourage new development by handing out incentives. Take for example the New Hartford Business Park...that was going to bring new jobs, further growth, and all kinds of financial benefits to taxpayers. Anyone noticed any of those benefits yet?


Here's Mr. Pavia, a local developer, speaking at the November 1, 2010 Zoning Board meeting in an effort to justify PILOT programs:



Mr. Pavia is the real estate broker for the property on Middlesettlement Road where the developer wants to build a senior housing complex by way of a PILOT. Because the zoning in that area does not allow senior housing, they first had to appear before the Zoning Board of Appeals who rejected their Use Variance request. The Zoning Board of Appeals also rejected the Use Variance request to allow an Aldi's on property owned by Jay-K Lumber.

Subsequent to being denied by the Zoning Board of Appeals, in both cases, an application for a zoning map amendment has been presented to the town board. A public hearing for the Jay-K re-zoning will be held on January 11, 2011. We will have more information on the Jay-K zoning change request shortly.

In the case of the Senior Housing complex...the present owner of the property will see additional money from the sale; Mr. Pavia will see additional revenue by way of his sales commission; the developer will see extra money because he will be collecting the rent while his taxes will be used to build his complex and Oneida County Industrial Development will gain added revenue to prolong their existence.

But how about the taxpayer who is losing sales tax revenue that normally would be used to offset increased budgeted expenses; not to mention what about the people who live in the area of the development who have to deal with increased traffic; possible stormwater issues; and other issues yet to be uncovered?

For the most part, PILOTs only add to assessed value on paper. Taxpayers are left with additional infrastructure expenses that far outweigh the taxes received the first few years of the PILOT.

Then there is another cost not visible on the surface to New Hartford taxpayers...the impact of decreased sales tax revenue. PILOTs, purchase of taxable property by exempt organizations, reduced assessments given out due to grievances, purchase of land by the town [i.e. Jubilee Estates, the proposed lot purchase at Whitetail and on Tilden Ave.] and the town taking of roads in mobile home parks and private developments; these have all contributed to the decline in sales tax revenue to be used to offset expenses. The distribution of sales tax revenue is based on full assessed value of the town minus all wholly exempt properties to include PILOTs.

Look at the chart below that is based on information provided by Oneida County personnel:


We've provided a pdf version of the above chart for easier reading.

The green bars represent the total distribution of sales tax revenue to the towns in Oneida County from 2006 to 2009 with our "guesstimate" for the 4th quarter of 2010 based on past receipts. The red line represents the percent of sales tax revenue apportioned to the Town of New Hartford on an annual basis. As the chart shows, even though sales tax revenue has increased from 2006 to 2010, the portion of sales tax received by New Hartford is steadily decreasing. If one were to apply the 22.5% of the total received by New Hartford in 2006 to the projected sales tax to be received for 2010, it would show that for 2010 it is projected that New Hartford will lose about $188,500 dollars in sales tax revenue due to a decrease in full assessed value attributed to the aforementioned items.

In 2011, New Hartford's full assessed value will further decline with the sale of the old Hartford building to St. Elizabeth Hospital and the reduced assessed value of Preswick Glen. Therefore, it can be anticipated that our share of sales tax revenue will decline further.

Add to that, the fact that the 2011 budget uses $5 million of anticipated sales tax revenue to offset budgeted expenses. In 2008, the town received $4,945,658.73; 2009 the town received $4,953,600.45; if we receive the same amount for the 4th quarter of 2010 as we did in 2009, we will probably receive $4,968,419.48 or less than the $5 million that was budgeted. Obviously, the results of past practice has fallen on deaf ears.

The previous administration used the "rainy day fund" to cover the shortfall; the current administration has no "rainy day fund" and has been robbing Peter to pay Paul over the past few months. The choices are simple...cut expenses or raise taxes!

And what is it that Mr. Adler is hoping to do, obviously, with the blessing of Mr. Tyksinski, who was quoted in the Observer Dispatch as saying:
“With the 840 access, it’s not just a project that would benefit the developer,” town Supervisor Patrick Tyksinski said. “It would open that whole area for development. There’s more up there than the business park in terms of tracts of land that can be developed.”
Mr. Adler would like the town to bond for the cost of the roadway projects with PILOT payments used to pay off the debt service on the bond.

Two members of the town board are up for re-election this Spring...Richard Woodland in Ward 4 and Christine Krupa in Ward 2. We can't help but wonder how they will vote...four (4) "ayes" are needed to bond!

Strikeslip at Faultlines has some interesting comments Tyksinski: Enabling More Sprawl and Downgrading the Environment at Your Expense!

Friday, December 3, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE...

Office of Leon R. Koziol
1518 Genesee Street
Utica, NY 13502
Phone: (315) 796-4000
leonkozioljd@gmail.com



TO: MEDIA AND INTERESTED PARTIES

FROM: LEON R. KOZIOL, J.D.

DATE: December 2, 2010

RE: Federal Court Decision

A decision was received this past week in connection with a parenting rights test case filed against the New York Chief Justice, Unified Court System and others on November 10, 2010. A federal court judge reviewed the background together with an earlier case filed in February, 2009 and argued in September, 2010. An order was then entered which consolidated both actions with the earlier one designated as the “Lead Case” and the latter one as the “Member Case”. All motions for dismissal filed by the New York court defendants were denied along with the plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction. Both actions were then allowed to proceed without prejudice to renew those motions in the consolidated action.

This procedure is not unlike one employed in the Oneida land claim litigation of which I was a part during the nineties, see i.e. Oneida Nation v County of Oneida, 132 F. Supp. 2d 71 (NDNY 2000) (involving successful maintenance of gaming compact challenge against tribal motion for injunction). The current “Lead Case”, brought on behalf of “parents similarly situated” will soon enter its third year with opportunity for class action status in the event other victims of custody, support and alienation practices seek to join or intervene. This is a comprehensive challenge based upon rights protected under our Constitution and can be viewed in its entirety (the “Member Case”) on federal pacer docket. A planning session surrounding this case and a national Parenting Rights Convention is scheduled for December 26-27, 2010 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, see details at www.leonkoziol.com.



View Lawsuit Here

Thursday, December 2, 2010

New Hartford Public Library Board of Trustees Meeting...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010.

This is the video of the first part of the meeting...



Trustees were asked to approve the 2011 budget. Unfortunately, Treasurer Earl Cunningham was unable to attend the meeting and was therefore unavailable to answer questions from the trustees.

Here is the 2011 budget that was presented for adoption. The anticipated 2011 Oneida County income had to be reduced by $14,000 because of the cuts in the county budget; therefore, instead of the original $59,000 in the budget it is now $45,000 in the 2011 adopted budget.

As a separate document they also distributed the actuals for January 2010 through October 2010.

However, we thought it would be more meaningful to put the two documents together; the 2010 actuals through October and the proposed 2011 budget. Here is our spreadsheet:


For larger print, either click on the graphic or here is a pdf version that is easier to read.

Hmm...$626,200 of expenses with an expectation of $612,200 of income [if you include the extra $30,000 of income they are hoping to get from either the town or the county]. However, without the $30,000 from the town/county [it is doubtful that this will come to fruition], their budget is short $44,000.

A budget where the anticipated income does not at least equal the anticipated expenses...is that called deficit spending or irresponsible budgeting? Mr. Wiatr was the only 'nay' vote on the budget.


About 20 minutes into the meeting, they voted to enter an executive session to discuss people that they are going to recommend for town board approval as trustees to replace two current trustees whose terms expire on December 31, 2010.



A few minutes later, the executive session ended. Here is the rest of the meeting after the executive session was adjourned...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Playing musical chairs...




The New Hartford Public Library Board of Trustees held their annual meeting to elect new officers tonight.

We will be posting the video of the meeting later today.