Relocation of public safety building in Schoharie was necessary
The recent controversy over the construction of the new public safety facility has certainly caused some heartfelt concerns for those residents that feel the presence of the facility will have an adverse effect on their lives.
Unfortunately, when faced with decisions of this nature, the community as a whole must be taken into consideration and by that I wish to explain the reasons why the town of Schoharie could not afford to lose the facility in question.
It has been almost five years since the village of Schoharie suffered complete decimation as well as parts of the town of Schoharie from Hurricane Irene and it has been a hard road back for all of the residents that had the will to rebuild.
The business community on Main Street also has been reestablished by individuals who were willing to breathe new life into what was destroyed and today all must be congratulated for the tireless effort which has gone into the entire community’s rebound.
Unfortunately, the loss of the old public safety facility created a search for a new location that would keep the facility out of harm’s way in the event of future flooding. This was a timely process which was publicized on many occasions over the last 18 months coming to a conclusion just about a year ago by a vote of the Board of Supervisors earmarking the Seebold property located just outside the village of Schoharie as the best location out of 18 that were evaluated.
Also, please understand that there were several important issues to consider during this process starting with the need for the new facility to be a close to the County Court as possible; it could not be placed in a flood plain; and direct access to I-88 for the transport of prisoners was also necessary.
It is also extremely important to understand the crucial economics surrounding the presence of the facility beginning with the village water and sewer district receiving approximately $35,000 per year for supplying water and sewer to the old facility and having that figure change to approximately $52,000 per year from the new and smaller facility.
The loss of that kind of revenue to the district would have caused a significant increase of water and sewer charges to the remaining village residents and businesses who are struggling to meet those payments compounded by the 19 homes lost in the village through flood mitigation.
The sales tax revenue paid to the village and town by virtue of the facility’s assessment amounts to $21,085 village and $38,263 town per year under the old facility. The sales tax overall will increase to $66,261 combined village and town with the new public safety facility being built once again in Schoharie.
The loss of just the sales tax to the town would have automatically generated an increase in property taxes due to the fact that sales tax and property tax are the only two sources of income that the town operates from.
We must also consider the fact that many of the individuals employed at the facility patronize local business on Main Street every day as well as the visitors that frequent the facility. There is also the issue of employment which the facility has offered to the community. Taking all of what I have mentioned into consideration, I am certain that it can be understood why my efforts to keep the public safety facility in the town of Schoharie was so important to our entire community. The monetary losses alone would be significant enough to create an even larger tax burden for all.
It is never easy to be part of a decision-making process that will offend a segment of a given community. But my responsibility as supervisor of the town calls for me to have a concern for the community as a whole.
Therefore, I was duty-bound to support the new public safety facility being built in the town of Schoharie and have some foresight with respect to the extension of water and sewer to that portion of the town that will encourage future development.
The writer is the town supervisor.
Categories: Letters to the Editor