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What you need to know for 02/20/2017

Wormuth quits committee after land sales are reported

Wormuth quits committee after land sales are reported

The Halfmoon town supervisor has resigned from the county Board of Supervisors’ Public Works Committ

The Halfmoon town supervisor has resigned from the county Board of Supervisors’ Public Works Committee because of a controversy involving property she sold to a developer whose former company may be interested in buying the county landfill.

Mindy Wormuth announced Wednesday she’s stepping down from the committee, of which she is chairwoman.

Her announcement comes three days after the Times Union published a story that said Wormuth and her husband, Larry, sold two properties on Route 146 to developer Scott Earl for $300,000 each in November.

The couple paid $90,000 for 409 Route 146 in 1993. In 2006, they bought the house next door at 411 Route 146 for $165,000. Both are ranch homes with lots of less than an acre, assessed for tax purposes at less than $100,000 each.

Earl told the Times Union he has no immediate plans for the commercially zoned properties, but saw them as an investment because of a proposed St. Peter’s outpatient hospital project across the road.

Earl also owns property behind the homes and other real estate in Halfmoon. He bought the houses from the Wormuths under the name Spare Lots LLC.

Earl used to be CEO of County Waste of Halfmoon, which he sold in April to Waste Connections of California. He’s a stockholder of Waste Connections but told the Times Union he doesn’t make business decisions for the company, which may be interested in buying the county landfill in Northumberland.

Wormuth said none of that influenced her decision to sell the properties, which she said she did before being appointed to the Public Works Committee.

“I am only one vote on a committee that makes recommendations to the full Board of Supervisors,” she said in a statement. “The entire board will have the final say on what happens with the county landfill.”

Even so, Wormuth decided to resign from the committee immediately, “in an effort to prevent any further distractions.”

“Saratoga County residents deserve to benefit from the disposition of [the landfill], and the board and I will continue with our fiscally conservative ideals.”

Wormuth contends she did nothing wrong in selling the properties to Earl at those prices, and she said the figures are comparable to other commercially zoned properties sold on Route 146.

The Times Union compared her properties’ value to other residential properties, which Wormuth said isn’t a fair comparison. She called the newspaper’s story a “smear campaign.”

They still live in the first property, 409 Route 146, and rent it from Earl, the Times Union reported.

Wormuth said she and her husband bought the second property next to their house from their son’s godfather, “to ensure that we could decide who lived next door to us and would be interacting with our children,” she wrote in the statement.

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