I would like to comment on two different topics in a recent column of “Sound Off.”
First, if you need guidance on which way to vote on the upcoming December 5 ballot to determine if the Shenendehowa School District should sell 34 acres of land to the town of Clifton Park, consider the following:
The land was professionally appraised at $1.6, million then a developer later made an offer to purchase the land for $2.1 million. The town originally offered $1.1 million then submitted a knowingly invalid bid during the bid process. Now the town is again offering only $1.1 million. As a Shenendehowa taxpayer you should do the math, and vote accordingly. Give Town Supervisor Phil Barrett a fourth chance to get it right? Supervisor Barrett showed no leadership on this issue when people complained about the prospect of half of the land being developed with another supermarket. The town has a very healthy surplus and can make a fair offer without raising taxes. Pennywise is a good approach for some purchases but not for all.
Secondly, one reader expressed disappointment that there was no opposition in the last local election. One key reason is the fact that the town supervisor job is full-time. Who would want to give up their own full-time job or their career to serve as supervisor, possibly only until the next election? And who would want to make a career out of town supervisor anyway? When I moved to Clifton Park in 1973, the supervisor job had always been part-time and a number of local individuals served in that role after competing in elections. There are many highly qualified town supervisor candidates in Clifton Park who might be willing to run now, but Supervisor Barrett drastically cut that pool of potential opposing candidates when he himself made his job full-time about eight or ten years ago.
If Supervisor Barrett is reading this letter, it would be interesting to get his public and honest description of exactly how and why that transition took place years ago and how it benefits the town in the long run. Actually, it would be interesting to hear from anyone who knows how that transition played out.
Anton G. Salecker