A town cannot invest in land where they might build a firehouse (a town can't own a firehouse unless they get the o.k. of the state legislature); or put in a pad at some point to maybe lease to a bank or other commercial venture; nor can a town make the purchase in hopes of perhaps selling the property at some point down the road to make money nor for any other non-town purpose.
Town Law 64 and Town Law 220 makes that very clear. A town board can:
"Purchase, lease, construct, alter or remodel a town hall, a town lockup or any other necessary building for town purposes [emphasis added by me] , acquire necessary lands therefor, and equip and furnish such buildings for such purposes, or to demolish or remove any town building.'Notice the law says for town purposes! That law is noted in a pamphlet found online from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP />
"A town, village or city cannot be in the landlord business as an investment, but it can acquire a property needed for a valid municipality purpose that is larger than current need as long as the entirety is reasonably expected to be needed by the town or village in the “foreseeable future.” Such temporary use by others if at fair market value is permissible, but if the property is bond-financed, “private activity” considerations are paramount and should be considered prior to leasing to the private user.""Private activity" in the above quote refers to Federal restrictions on tax-exempt financing.
As of now, taxpayers have not been given a definitive "need" for the extra parcel. Given that the "need" to purchase this parcel is one-year after the Gander Mountain purchase, one has to wonder why the land was not purchased at the same time. What "need" is there now that wasn't apparent in 2018?
It was discussed that this purchase would be alleviating a safety concern because it would give rescue personnel access on both sides of the building. Shouldn't the Planning Board have brought that point out in the open during their review of the Gander Mountain purchase?
This sudden need appears to actually be a little "too sudden"; what is the real purpose for this land purchase? Do we really need to take another commercial property off the tax rolls? The Gander purchased already took $2.9 million off of next year's tax roll!
The other troubling problem is that the one and only appraisal that the town sought really isn't an appraisal at all. The first line of the letter states:
"I have completed a preliminary value for a section of land that surrounds the new town office building (former Gander Mountain building).Preliminary???!!!
One of the last sentences states:
"The above results are subject to change based on actual survey and exact parcel size and completion of full appraisal."Subject to change??? Actual survey and exact parcel size were not part of the appraisal??? Are you kidding me???
Here is a pdf of the "appraisal" I was provided when I requested it.
Another point, having retired from the non-profit world, I am very familiar with donations and IRS requirements for a tax write-off. I will guarantee everyone in this town that no one at the IRS will take the word of Supervisor Paul Miscione and the Town of New Hartford as to the value of the property that Larry Adler is supposedly "donating" to the town purely based on the opinions in the town's so-called "appraisal".In fact, in their eyes, it isn't even an appraisal.
According to the IRS:
Real EstateThis whole thing is hilarious...where do they think they are going with this proposal?
Because each piece of real estate is unique and its valuation is complicated, a detailed appraisal by a professional appraiser is necessary.
The appraiser must be thoroughly trained in the application of appraisal principles and theory.
Will Supervisor Miscione keep his word and take this land purchase off the table until he is willing to give taxpayers a better understanding of why this property is so urgently needed and until he gets two or three "real" appraisals and other data to satisfy the requirements of the IRS?
I do believe he has no other choice!
"William Lyon Mackenzie (March 12, 1795 – August 28, 1861) was a Scottish–born Canadian–American journalist and politician. His strong views on political equality and clean government drove him to outright rebellion in 1837 after a career as mayor of Toronto and in the colonial legislative assembly of Upper Canada (Ontario). He led the 1837 Upper Canada Rebellion and during its bitter end he set up a small rebel enclave named "Republic of Canada," where he served as president December 13, 1837 to January 14, 1838. After a period of exile in the U.S., he returned to Canada and served as elected member of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada from 1851-1858."