Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Zero tax increase...or so the town supervisor says...

The 2016 Town of  New Hartford Supervisor's budget is now available.

If you read this morning's paper, you would realize that the town supervisor has included $150,000 for fees to be assessed for non-resident use of the Sherrillbrook and Chadwicks town parks.

Who made that decision...it hasn't come before the town board. Town Board minutes reflect that the town board discussed assessing the non-resident park fees in 2012, but the matter was dropped due to some opposition. Now Tyksinski wants to arbitrarily implement those fees as the budget window is closing. The 2016 town budget is due to be adopted next month.

$150,000 anticipated revenue from a revenue source that has yet to be defined; seems a bit premature since the town board has yet to discuss the possibility of levying those fees nor how much to charge or how the town will regulate and determine who is a town resident. Last I knew taxpayers included people with Sauquoit, Clinton, Frankfort, and Utica addresses so licenses will not differentiate town vs. non-town residents. Perhaps we will need to carry around a copy of our tax bills.

Or will residents need to obtain a permit from the town clerk to use the parks without paying a fee?

Does the collection of cash present a security risk?

Will somebody have to stand out by the road during the winter months to collect from people using the parks for winter activities?

Will we collect money from non-profits who use the park if they are not located in New Hartford?

What if a group of non-residents ride along with a town resident; does everyone in the car get in for free?

So many questions yet to be answered, yet our town supervisor is anticipating collecting $150,000 to offset expenses in the town budget.

Mr. Supervisor, what percentage of the cost to maintain the parks does the $150,000 anticipated non-resident revenue represent? 25% percent...50 percent? Can you justify the charges vs. the costs?

I suggest that the town supervisor read "Recreation and Risk Handbook", a publication of the NY Municipal Insurance Reciprocal. It might shed a light on some of the issues involved with charging non-residents for use of parks.

I won't go into the boring details here, but it's in my "Favorites" for future reference if the need arises. Let's just say, it's not as easy as putting $150,000 of anticipated revenue in your budget in the 11th hour so that you can pound your chest and tell everyone that your version of the budget has a zero tax increase.

Add to these "pie-in-the-sky" non-resident park fees yet to be worked out, the fact that anticipated sales tax revenue for 2016 appears to be overstated. It sure seems like Supervisor Tyksinski has taken a page out of a previous supervisor's play book for overstating revenues that ended up with the town over $2.9 million in the hole.

If I was a betting person, I would bet that the town supervisor expects the town board to add some expenses and take out some revenue thereby necessitating a tax increase along with the possible need for a tax cap override vote.

In recent years, the budget process has become a game. The board changes the tentative (supervisor's) budget, everyone votes "aye" to adopt exceot Tyksinski who votes "no".

I would LMAO if the town board adopts the Supervisor's Budget as is and hangs him out to dry!

The special meeting called by the town supervisor for town board discussion of the 2016 budget will be held on October 19th at 5:30 p.m. in the supervisor's office. The meeting is open to the public; however, the public hearing on the budget will be in November.

In case you have never been in the town supervisor's office, it is on the second floor of Butler Hall and should hold about 3 or 4 members of the public comfortably! giggle...giggle

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Open Meetings Law is a laughing matter in the Town of New Hartford…

Something needed to be discussed behind closed doors at last night’s town board meeting, but just what it was seemed to be elusive according to the back and forth exchange between the supervisor and town clerk.

The town supervisor tried to use “personnel issue”, but that is not a valid reason for calling an executive session. The town clerk tried to get clarification from the supervisor, but Supervisor Tyksinski seemed to think the whole thing was a joke.  He ended the conversation by telling the town clerk to just pick one!

Then Town Attorney Cully appeared to try to cover up the Supervisor’s apparent lack of a “real” reason for an executive session by saying he needed an executive session to discuss the recently received Notice Of Claim.

Unfortunately, the Notice of Claim he was referring to was the same Notice of Claim that had already been discussed in open session. The town attorney stated in open session that a Notice of Claim was received, however, it was untimely filed. The incident in question supposedly occurred in April; there is a 90-day window in which to file a Notice of Claim.

Come on, Attorney Cully, executive sessions are only for litigation strategy. What litigation strategy could have possibly been discussed regarding a Notice of Claim for a yet to be filed lawsuit particularly when you have already disclosed the fact that the Notice of Claim was untimely filed?

What or should I say whom did they want to discuss without the camera rolling? Judging from the laughter that could be heard coming from the meeting room, even though I was standing behind two doors with a hall in between, I would guess they were having a grand time discussing a personnel matter and litigation strategy!

Here’s the supervisor and town attorney in action…watch all the bobble heads agree to a closed door meeting that quite apparently should have never taken place.



This is almost as bad as a town councilman’s attempt to purchase for a mere $50 a piece of town property that was donated to the town in 2008 to alleviate stormwater problems.

Guess they don’t take stormwater control or donations very seriously either! Oops…I haven’t told you about that yet…stay tuned!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

New Hartford School Board...

As promised, copies of the Amendment to contract for Allen Hyde, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction and the new contract for Mary Mandel, Assistant Superintendent for Business Affairs are now available as pdfs:

Allen Hyde:

His contract was originally covering the period July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2017; it has now been amended to include a base salary increase for the 2015-16 school year to $141,969.

In addition to other benefits already in the previous contract, Mr. Hyde will be receiving a non-elective employer contribution to a tax-sheltered annuity (403 (b) plan) selected by the Assistant Superintendent in an amount equal to 4% of his base salary earned each year. The contribution will begin at age 48 or after ten (10) consecutive years of service, whichever comes first.  Mr. Hyde hasn't been employed by the district for 10 years...should we all try to guess how old Mr. Hyde is?

Amendment to Contract for Allen Hyde


Mary Mandel:

Her new agreement apparently replaces her old agreement because “the parties desire to more fully set forth the terms and conditions of continuing employment” for Ms. Mandel.

Ms. Mandel’s bases salary will be $158,637 for the 2015-2016 school year; thereafter the salary will be set by the Board of Education in conjunction with the Superintendent of Schools.

Ms. Mandel will also receive the same benefit of a 403 (b) plan paid by the district just like Mr. Hyde is getting, as well as several other benefits that you can read in her "new" contract.

Contract for Mary Mandel

Job description for Mary Mandel

Remember, “It’s for the children…”

Thursday, August 20, 2015

New Hartford Central School Board says, "Dig Deeper..."

I’ll just cut to the chase.…at the August 17, 2015 school board meeting, two (2) Amendment to Agreements were adopted with a vote of five (5) "aye" and one (1) "nay".

The two (2) New Hartford Central School administrators who will be enjoying this additional perk are; Alan Hyde who is Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction; and Mary Mandel who is Assistant Superintendent for Business Affairs.

The adopted amendments mean that each will be getting contributions to a 403b account paid by the school district taxpayers on top of all their current benefits. You can probably figure our that these two are just the beginning...Mr. Nole is next on the list.

On the videotape below is the only public questions asked by the only board member to vote “nay”, Mr. Flemma:



I will be posting copies of the Amendments to the contracts and further comments this weekend when I post the entire video of the August 17, 2015 school board meeting.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

At 6:30 p.m. just prior to the start of the August 12, 2015 town board meeting, hearings were held in accordance with the newly adopted Unsafe Buildings Law. I wrote about that in an earlier blog.

The properties were identified as 1414 Ney Ave and 44 Beechwood Road.  In the end, both properties, which are located in the Town of New Hartford, were declared unsafe during the hearings and further action is to be taken.

Interestingly enough, the property at 44 Beechwood Road was on the list of properties to be auctioned off by Oneida County on August 6, 2015 (six (6) days before the Unsafe Buildings hearing) along with 3289 Mohawk Street.

You may recall that 3289 Mohawk Street was destroyed by fire a while ago. Since then, the town had the remainder of the building taken down by Blue Line Disaster Solutions for the sum of $10,321 in anticipation of adding the cost of the demolition to the property tax bill.

Many people may not realize that each April, any maintenance or other fees levied on a property by a municipality and left unpaid are reimbursed to the towns and villages by Oneida County. In other words, when a property in New Hartford (or any other municipality for that matter) is left needing attention, the town contacts the county and any costs for work required to be performed, either by the municipality or a contractor hired by the municipality, is placed on the property owner’s tax bill.

However, many times, the property taxes and fees never get paid by the property owner. No worry…in Oneida County, each municipality will get reimbursed for the charges so that everyone in the County ends up paying for the additional property maintenance fees until the owner either pays back taxes to include the additional fees or the property is sold at public auction.

That was then…this is now. It appears that the Town of New Hartford failed to reply to a letter sent out to each municipality by the County asking if there were any special circumstances that needed to be brought to light regarding any of the properties that were to be auctioned off on August 6, 2015.

Problem is, even though Attorney Cully was apparently at the auction, the Town of New Hartford never bothered to answer the County until the day after the auction. Actually this is hard to believe because you can hear Town Attorney Cully on the July 8, 2015 town board meeting video confirming that the County had been notified of the intent of the town to utilize their newly adopted Unsafe Buildings Law.

The county didn't take too kindly to the "oversight" by the town in not replying to the letter that was sent to each municipality. The bids on both properties have now been rejected by the County. You can read the correspondence between the town and county that was included with the packet for the August 12, 2015 Oneida County Legislators meeting here.

At the end of the New Hartford Town Board meeting of August 12, 2015, I asked Supervisor Tyksinski about the possibility that the town might no longer be able to put the maintenance and demolition costs on the property taxes for 44 Beechwood Road and 3289 Mohawk Street, or any other houses slated to be demolished. I was curious as to who would pay…his reply “Somebody will have to pay”.

So to all the “somebodies” in the Town of New Hartford, guess one way or another you will pay…it’s just a question of whether or not the town will be able to place those costs on the property tax bills so that the rest of the county taxpayers will help you pay the mowing and demolition costs for abandoned properties in the Town of New Hartford; or whether your next property tax bill will reflect the total cost of mowing and demolition for any building not in code.

Here is the video of the hearings for 1414 Ney Ave and 44 Beechwood Road held at 6:30 p.m. on August 12, 2015:

Could you please speak up!

Several times the New Hartford Central School board has been advised that hearing the school board discussions on the videos is often impossible; particularly when Superintendent Nole speaks.

At the November 14, 2014 school board meeting, Board Member Flemma suggested that perhaps the district look into purchasing microphones. However, the rest of the board thought maybe changing the meeting room would help since board meetings held in other school buildings with smaller rooms seem to be audible.

However, Superintendent Nole felt that a change of room should be done at the annual reorganizational meeting held in July each year (see board minutes of November 4, 2014). Guess he feels never do today what you can put off for eight (8) months (maybe "that group" might forget about it by then!).

Well, the reorganizational meeting for 2015 took place on July 7, 2015 and not one single word about a change of venue. Basically, it would appear that the school board prefers that you don't hear what they are saying; perhaps because they don't want to embarrass themselves. Have you ever listened to some of their ignorant remarks...like Mr. Stephens demanding who are "those people"?

Seriously, several times it has been brought to the board's attention, that people ARE watching the videos and ARE unable to hear some of the discussions.

To those that have written to me asking what can be done, I would suggest that you show up at a school board meeting en masse to tell them that you do watch the videos.

Short of that, without an Act of Congress, I would guess that you will only hear parts of every meeting and quite frankly, that's the way the majority of board members and Superintendent Nole like it!

By the way, I have been told that every word at last night's school board meeting needs to be heard loud and clear. I am waiting for a copy of the video so I can post it online. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

We're ALL waving to Mr. Stephens....


Is "the group" ready to view the July 7, 2015 New Hartford Central School Board video? It's now available on my Youtube channel.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Calling ALL New Hartford Central School Board Meeting video peeps....

School Board member Jim Stephens is once again asking that all people who view the school board videos be identified.

At the July 7, 2015 school board meeting, Mr. Stephens responded to Mr. Wiatr by saying:
'I'd like to know who is the public that looks at these tapes. You refused to answer that the last time I asked you."
At this point, I'm are not sure why it even matters, but apparently Mr. Stephens has some reason to find out. If he only knew what I know...ROFLMAO!

Check back...the July 7th school board meeting video will be online by tomorrow.  I will be writing more about that video this weekend.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Town of New Hartford Meetings for August...

August 10, 2015 - Planning Board meeting starting at 5:30 p.m. On the Agenda:
1. Price Chopper Plaza, Commercial Drive, New Hartford. Amendment to Final. Proposed 7,163 sf restaurant and a proposed 7,000 sf retail store.

2. Stewart’s Shop, 4756 Middle Settlement Road, New Hartford. Preliminary Site Plan Review for a convenience store with gas pumps.
August 12, 2015 - Public Hearing re: Unsafe buildings starting at 6:30 p.m.

August 12, 2015 - Town Board Meeting starting at 7:00 p.m. Agenda

August 17, 2015 - Zoning Board of Appeals - starting at 6:00 p.m. Agenda not yet available.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

NOTICE OF UNSAFE PROPERTY PUBLIC HEARINGS...

Legal Notices appearing in today's Observer Dispatch:

Please take note that a Public Hearing will be held for the purpose of considering the findings and recommendations contained in the Code Enforcement Office Report of Violation concerning two (2) properties situated in the Town of New Hartford, NY;

44 Beechwood Road, New Hartford, New York 13413, Tax Map Number 339.001-3-49

1414 Ney Avenue, Utica, New York 13502, New Hartford Tax Map Number 317.012-3-69

Hearings are to be held before the Town Board of the Town of New Hartford, New York on the 12th day of August, 2015, at 6:30 P.M. or as soon thereafter as reached in the regular course of business, in Butler Memorial Hall, 48 Genesee Street, New Hartford, New York.

The Local Law governing these hearings, Local Law #5, was adopted at the June 10,2015 town board meeting amending the Code of the Town of New Hartford Chapter 52 entitled BUILDINGS, UNSAFE.

Monday, July 20, 2015

I received two (2) posts from Empire Center in my Facebook newsfeed today…

First is a link to the Property Tax Calculator, found on seethroughtny.net.

This application will calculate the combined property tax rate and total average property tax bill, including schools and local governments, in every New York locality; you can actually compare taxes of two or more municipalities and school districts by choosing the towns and/or villages plus the school district and entering the assessed value of your home.

This application is somewhat flawed for use other than for comparing total dollars paid in taxes. One must remember that a home assessed for $150,000 in one municipality is not necessarily comparable to a home assessed for $150,000 in another municipality because of the various equalization rates of each municipality.

The second link is regarding the coming year’s property tax cap.

According to the article, Brace yourself for lower tax hikes, written by by E.J. McMahon of the Empire Center:
The starting point for computing next year’s local property tax cap in most of New York State will be less than 1 percent—and so state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is warning local governments “brace for … [lower] growth in property tax revenues.”
However, he warns:
”…that the inflation rate is just a starting point. All it takes to override the tax cap, for any reason, is a vote of a 60 percent supermajority of the entity’s governing board. In towns across the state, a supermajority requires the same three votes as a simple majority. In the vast majority of counties, cities and villages, governing board supermajorities are controlled by members of one political party, who presumably won’t find it too hard to agree to raise taxes higher if there’s a real need.”

“On the school level, the supermajority must come from the voters themselves–which is why school districts have been working harder to sell their proposals to the electorate in the past four years.”

Mr. McMahon shared a portion of a press release issue by Comptroller DiNapoli says in part:
“Municipalities may have to operate differently under these new limits. Even tougher budget choices may be required on staffing levels, delivery of services, fund balance reductions, and deferral of capital and infrastructure projects. And if inflation trends continue, it is possible that some local governments with fiscal years beginning later in 2016, including school districts, could be faced with zero growth in property tax revenue.”
Towns will be starting to get their budgets together sometime in August; a Tentative Budget must be filed in the town clerks office by September 30th. I wonder how many municipalities and schools don’t have a fund balance to tap and will instead be forced to choose to either cut staff and/or services or increase taxes.

How many town and village board members will be willing to vote to override the tax cap? How many taxpayers will be willing to vote "yes" for a school budget that is slated to be over the tax cap?

Definitely some food for thought!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

New Hartford Town Meetings - July 2015

The Town Board will meet tomorrow, July 8th at 7:00 p.m. in Butler Hall. Agenda

The Planning Board will meet on Monday, July 13th at 5:30 p.m. in Butler Hall. Agenda

The Zoning Board of Appeals will meet on Monday, July 20, at 6:00 p.m. in Butler Hall. Agenda not yet available.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The letter...

As you might recall, in an earlier blog I wrote about my letter to New Hartford School Board President John Jadhon.

Apparently, Mr. Jadhon read the blog; because shortly thereafter, I received an email from another board member telling me that Mr. Jadhon didn’t get my email because I was inadvertantly given the wrong email address for Mr. Jadhon; although, it was correctly sent to nhart.org.

So I promptly wrote another email this time using what I was told was the correct email address.

I was approached by Mr. Jadhon at the May Budget Hearing to personally let me know that he didn’t get my first email. In fact, he said that he didn’t get the second email I sent either. Mr. Jadhon insisted that any emails sent to his school email address go directly to his work office.

Do they? I am not naive enough to believe that the school doesn’t route emails sent to nhart.org through the school first, then to the intended recipient.

I questioned Mr. Jadhon..doesn’t the school have a catch-all mailbox just in case someone mistakenly misspells a name when they address an important email to nhart.org?

Both emails were addressed to nhart.org; how could it be that someone at the school didn’t receive it? I know the school uses Gmail for board members email and I know for a fact that Gmail allows you to set up catch-all mailboxes. Why wouldn’t the school district set-up a catch-all mailbox just to capture any emails sent to nhart.org with misspelled names so they are not sent back to the sender as "undeliverable" or lost in space? What if it was critical that the email was received? Incidentally, none of my emails were returned to me as “undeliverable”. Does the school have a catch-all mailbox, after all? Is that what happened to my emails to Mr. Jadhon?

I also questioned Mr. Jadhon as to why the school website does not list the school email address for each board member since the board by-laws state:
S. Complaints

The usual channeling of complaints, especially those involving instruction, discipline or learning materials is from teacher to school building or district administrator, to Superintendent and then to the Board. In those cases where satisfactory adjustment cannot be made according to this procedure, complaints may be submitted to the Board. Citizens concerned over educational matters and issues should contact the Board or Superintendent in advance. When a concern goes to the Board, as a general rule, it should be submitted in advance in writing and signed, specifying the action desired or the remedy sought.
My comments/questions had nothing to do with a teacher or child, it was purely a board matter; policy would lead me to believe my choice was to either contact the board or the superintendent. So I chose to try to contact Board President Jadhon through an email; trouble is, I don't normally correspond with Mr. Jadhon, so I didn't have his email address.

It would have been helpful if the school’s website listed board member school email addresses with a “clickable” link so this whole episode could have been avoided.  Instead, the only contact for school board members on the school website is a contact form where it is mandatory that you give your full name and email address in order to send an email to the board.

But, alas, there is no mention of who will receive your message; perhaps you are supposed to assume that it goes to someone on the board. But who on the board? Is it possible that anything sent using this contact form gets run by School Superintendent Nole first and he then decides who on the board should receive it; or worse yet, sent to the circular file if it should be from someone in “that group”? Who would know the difference? What if the complaint is about Mr. Nole; does he self-monitor if the board should see it?

When I asked Mr. Jadhon about why school board members' school email addresses weren't on the school website, he said he thought they were on the bio page.  Really? I sure don't see them there.

Back to my letter…

My letter to Mr. Jadhon was distributed to the full board in their “Friday packet” for the discussion at the May 18th board meeting.

The discussion indeed took place at the May 18th meeting; however, there was no mention of the discussion regarding my letter in the minutes of the meeting that were presented for approval at the June 2, 2015 board meeting. Mr. Flemma asked that it be included and after some discussion, the board voted to amend the minutes stating the May 18th minutes would be approved at the next meeting on June 16th.

However, the amended minutes which were included with the June 16th board packet said:
“Mr. Jadhon distributed a letter that he received from Ms. Lawrence and Mr. Nole confirmed that the process and procedure that the Board follows to enter into Executive Session is correct.”
Basically, the minutes were now amended to make it appear that the school board has been correct all along; not because the school board was called out by my letter, but because they just were always following the Open Meetings Law! That is not what was said at the May 18th meeting; Mr. Flemma once again objected.

Without going into further detail, the bottom line, the minutes are to be amended once again and voted on at the next school board meeting in July. You can listen to the video to hear that discussion for yourself.

I note that Mr. Jadhon has failed to respond to any of the questions in my email. I checked, Board Policy Section 1000 on Community Relations, more specifically Policy 1401 under Public Relations, that states:
It is imperative that all staff members employed in the District realize the importance of positive public relations. The Public Relations Program should include the following:

E. Maintaining good relations with parents through prompt, thoughtful and considerate answers to all inquiries and complaints.
Shouldn't board policies apply to the Board of Education as well? Granted I don’t currently have any children in school, but I am a concerned taxpayer and I would like to think that everyone who takes the time to write to the school board receives an answer when they ask questions; it’s just the right thing to do.

Mr. Jadhon…as you walked toward the board table at the May 12, 2015 budget hearing that was held shortly after I wrote my last blog about the letter I sent, you looked back at me, smiled and said you wouldn’t mind if I said something nice about you on my blog.

Here’s the deal...just as soon as you answer and acknowledge my emails and my questions posed to you when we spoke on May 12th, I promise to acknowledge you and say how nice it was of you to respond to questions that were asked over a month ago! Deal?

Here’s the June 16, 2015 school board meeting.



Friday, June 19, 2015

Another NHCS school board member heard from…

The New Hartford Central School Board met on Tuesday, June 16, 2015. During the public speaking portion, Mr. Edmund J. Wiatr, Jr. for a second time in a row asked the board to speak up so that their voices could be heard on the videotape of the meeting; a request that has been made several times over the past year.

Each time that request seems to fall on deaf ears. However, this time, Mr. Stephens, a long-time member of the school board, said he wanted to know who these people were that are complaining. Is it a group?

Why would you even insinuate that any person or group of people in New Hartford should have less of a voice to question board actions than others?

Mr. Stephens, you have always been very polite to me; perhaps that’s because you didn’t know who I was or why I was videotaping. I’m that quiet person who sits on the sidelines videotaping meetings so that anyone who is interested can watch and hopefully hear school board meetings at a time that is convenient for them.

To set the record straight, Mr. Stephens, I am one of “those people” who have a difficult time hearing the voices of some board members on the videotape. Frankly, Mr. Stephens, I have a hard time hearing some members even when I am standing in the room a few feet from the board table videotaping. However, Mr. Stephens, I have also received many inquiries as to what can be done so that voices, in particular, Mr. Nole’s voice, is more audible on the tapes.

Mr. Stephens, I’ve had to overlook the fact that you keep calling me Carol even though my name is Cathy!  However, that is what life is about…overlooking things that really don’t matter.  I don't really care if you call me by Carol instead of Cathy...no big deal. However, I do care if you label me as a "complainer" and dismiss my concerns as if I don't matter.

Mr. Stevens, in answer to your rude questions, I'll borrow an all-too-familiar phrase…what difference does it make?

For the record, I don’t require anyone who comments on this blog or writes to me on the New Hartford Tipline to identify themselves; this is a blog for everyone…no exclusions! Quite honestly, sir, I don’t give a damn (There I go, using another familiar phrase!) who writes to me as long as they are civil!

Sir, I would doubt that anyone listening to the videotapes of the New Hartford Central School board are taxpayers from another school district. Lord, I would think that people have better things to do than monitor a school board meeting of another school district!

I would, however, venture to say that some of them are members of your own teaching staff, possibly other board members or members of the PTA, quite possibly they are parents…or maybe all of the above. One thing is for certain…we are ALL stakeholders!

Clearly, the people who take the time to listen to the videotapes of New Hartford School Board meetings care about their school and so they want to know what is being discussed at school board meetings.

You were elected to the board to represent everyone! If you feel compelled to label people who want to know what is being said at school board meetings as “complainers” that need to be singled out by name, perhaps you should think about resigning from the board!

Oh, I almost forgot…have a nice day, Mr. Stephens!

NOTE: I will be posting the June 16, 2015 videotape of the New Hartford Central School Board meeting on YouTube in a day or two…as soon as I finish writing a blog about the rest of the story regarding my letter to Mr. Jadhon.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Video of Special Town Board Meeting and town financials...

Below is a videotape of the Special Meeting held at 5:00 p.m. in the Town Supervisor’s office on May 20, 2015 to discuss a proposed municipal agreement between the City of Utica Police Department and the Town of New Hartford Police Department. Two councilmen, Rich Woodland and Paul Miscione were unable to attend.



Next, the 2014 Town of New Hartford audited Financial Statements and related documents:
2014 Audit Engagement Letter

2014 Audited Financial Statements

2014 SAS114 Letter
Last, but not least, is the 2014 Annual Update Document (AUD) that is required to be filed in the Office of the State Comptroller by May 15th each year:
2014 Annual Financial Report Update Document (AUD)

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:
Sangertown
U.P.S.
Talkeetna, LLC
Utica National
Special Metals
Widewaters French Road (Home Depot)
Morris
Sangertown
Burrstone Energy
Yahnundasis
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:
U.P.S
Utica National
Widewaters French Road (Home Depot)
Sangertown
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!!!