To The Editor:
Suggest you gain correct information before making accusations. First there is already a street connecting New and Harrison, it is named Clark and exists on deeds and maps of village. The section on both sides of street behind old school has had limited use for years and no taxes have been collected on old school property in years. Water service is available currently.
The village received a petition signed by over 100 village residents requesting the village clean up the old school site as it was unsightly and posed serious health and safety problems to local residents. Residents attended board meetings, and we agreed to contact owners to request they clean burned out site. They refused to communicate with our code officer or anyone else. The village has a law which allows clean up of property described and if owner refuses to pay cost, we are allowed to request payment through the courts.
After consulting with our board, village attorney, New York State (DOL) and engineers, I wrote letter to owners in Florida and explained our plan of action. We explained they could develop a plan or we would proceed through legal channels to address the clean up. They responded they would work with us to remediate the problem.
New York state granted a variance; Development Authority of North Country offered 50 percnt reduction in tipping fees; contractors offered to do site work in off season to lower cost and in a short time asbestos material was removed and 1/3 of old school property was cleaned. The owners paid nearly all cost associated with this phase of clean up.
Phase two is out to bid to remove standing walls and debris. NYS again cooperated and if bids are within budget work may begin late this fall. The newer building on site is expected to put to good use, possibly senior housing. A memorial park may be developed in front of school at the request of many of our citizens.
A well thought out plan will be developed for this 11 acres of prime property that will offer recreation and possible housing to improve our tax base and benefit residents at the same time. Currently clean up is our mission and development at a later date. The village is in good financial condition, lowering village taxes over 20 percentthis year so any development will need to proceed within budget each year. I wish to also point out the village has reduced the tax rate over $8 per $1,000 in recent years and is far from what you describe as Highest Taxed Village.
I encourage you to contact village officials anytime with your questions regarding village plans. We realize we serve the public and request input from all residents, so we may better serve.
Village of Norwood