Town board and village board meetings can be amusing, but I would list the recent Haverstraw village board meeting as one of my favorites.
Straight-faced Mayor Francis Ã¢â‚¬Å“BudÃ¢â‚¬? Wassmer, sitting in Village HallÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s meeting room Monday night, told the board members that he recently sent a letter to Mirant Ã¢â‚¬â€ the energy company that successfully challenged its property assessment and got $275 millions of refund from north Rockland’s towns, villages and school district Ã¢â‚¬â€ to notify that the village wants to buy the companyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s property in the village for $100,000.
Why $100,000? His explanation continued.
For the villageÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 2007-08 tax roll, the company once again filed a grievance, challenging the village’s assessment on the piece of company land, about $3.2 million. The company was asking the value be reduced to $100,000.
Outraged by this challenge, Wassmer said, he made the offer to buy it for $100,000.
Wassmer continued and said that the company sent him a reply, saying that the company was not interested in selling the property to the village at that price.
Learning about this exchange was pretty amusing.
But the climax was yet to come: After he finished reading MirantÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s replay, Wassmer made a motion to condemn that property!
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d like to recommend to our board that we pass the resolution tonight to proceed with a process of condemnation,Ã¢â‚¬? Wassmer declared. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s time that we send a clear message to Mirant. We must move forward with this.Ã¢â‚¬?
Village Attorney J. Nelson Hood immediately interrupted Wassmer, politely asking if he could advise the board.
Hood told the board that the village should first hire an eminent domain lawyer to review state law and that the village must have a public purpose to condemn the property.
Wassmer modified his motion based on HoodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s advice, and the village board unanimously approved it.
Also at the meeting was Bruce Kanner, co-owner of the old chair factory on the river who is fighting the villageÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s condemnation of that property.
Kanner told the board during the public input session that the village should stop trying to condemn privately owned land, including MirantÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s.
The villageÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s plan wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t move forward because the company dropped the assessment challenge based on the recent deal facilitated by state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. But the deal only says the company can’t challenge its assessments for two years.
So, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll see. Check back in 2009.
Print | Email | 2 Comments »