News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.
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Editorial

Block Clark, Delay Making Otsego Now Appointments

AllOTSEGO.com EDITORIAL

Block Clark, Delay Making

Otsego Now Appointments

You may remember a year ago, when Kathy Clark, R-Otego, Otsego County Board of Representatives’ chair, forced through the appointment of a favorite, Rick Hulse, who had been defeated for election a couple of months before, to the Otsego Now board of directors.

Stop Kathy Clark from blunting economic-development efforts.
Stop Kathy Clark from blunting economic-development efforts.

She forced party discipline on newly elected Republicans – Meg Kennedy, David Bliss, Len Carson, Meg Kennedy, Peter Oberacker and Dan Wilber – who bristled at being told to shut up and tow the line at their first meeting.  At the time, she promised the next nomination would be more transparent, the product of more consultation.

And yet, last Wednesday, she popped a nominee for the vacancy created by Jim Jordan’s resignation onto the agenda at the last minute, withdrawing it only when her majority again bristled that this violated her earlier pledge.

But it’s not over yet.  Word is the chair plans to try to foist not one, but two appointments to the Otsego Now board on her colleagues at a special meeting scheduled for noon this coming Wednesday.  One would replace Jordan, the Richfield Springs architect, and the other Joe Bernier, the City of Oneonta’s retired community development director.

Whoa, whoa.  There’s no rush.

The newcomers, plus the veterans who know better, shouldn’t fold again.  They should delay the appointments until after the county board reorganizes in early January.

 

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Trump Will Bring Developer’s Imagination To White House
TOM MORGAN’S MONEY TALK

Trump Will Bring Developer’s

Imagination To White House

Editor’s Note:  The column, Money Talk, by Tom Morgan of Franklin, the retired Oneonta investment counselor, is syndicated nationally.  Here is this week’s column.

tom-morgan-logoA few thoughts about the election.

A big reason Trump outsmarted his opponents: He is a business guy. An entrepreneur. More – he is a developer.

This business guy looked at spending campaign money differently than his politician opponents did. A business guy asks, “If we spend this money, will we get a proper return? Show me how.”  A politician says, “Spend the money. We’ll squeeze more from our big donors.”

Result: Trump spent a fraction of what his opponents spent. And whipped them.

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Maria Ajello’s Travails Reveal Flaws In Back-Tax Collection

EDITORIAL

Maria Ajello’s Travails Reveal

Flaws In Back-Tax Collection

Editor’s note:  At readers’ requests that this editorial reach the widest local readership possible, it is being reprinted from the Hometown Oneonta & Freeman’s Journal editions of Sept. 15-16.

A comtemplative Maria Ajello reflects on her fate at the September 2014 county board meeting, two weeks after losing her house at a tax sale. Her advocate and friend, Russell Ahrens, speaks on her behalf. (AllOTSEGO.com photo)
A comtemplative Maria Ajello reflects on her fate at the September 2014 county board meeting, two weeks after losing her house at a tax sale. Her advocate and friend, Russell Ahrens, speaks on her behalf. (AllOTSEGO.com photo)

It’s time to bring Maria Ajello’s ordeal to an end, to end an unpleasantness – an injustice, even – that has been simmering for 24 months now, as she reminded the Otsego County Board of Representatives at its September meeting on the 7th.

On Aug. 20, 2014, the date of the Otsego County treasurer’s annual auction of tax-delinquent properties at the Holiday Inn on Oneonta’s Southside, Mrs. Ajello arrived with payment of the $6,700 owed, plus an additional $2,299 in interest charges.

IF YOU HAVE AN OPINION ON THIS EDITORIAL, E-MAIL
YOUR COUNTY REP OR WRITE A LETTER TO THE EDITOR

She was ready to pay the $8,999 total she owed on a house and 74 acres at 104 Filburn Road, hamlet of Monticello, Town of Richfield.

Due to a policy still in place, the payment was denied, and the house and land auctioned off for $75,000, plus the auctioneer’s 10 percent fee, a total $82,500.  So the County of Otsego garnered a profit of $65,001 – 650 percent – on the $8,999 total back taxes and penalties.

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Hillary Must Be Practicing How To Blunt Donald Insults
TOM MORGAN’S MONEY TALK

Hillary Must Be Practicing

How To Blunt Donald Insults

Editor’s Note:  The column, Money Talk, by Tom Morgan of Franklin, the retired Oneonta investment counselor, is syndicated nationally.  Here is this week’s column.

tom morgan logoA few thoughts on the campaign for the White House.

By now, millions are lusting for the debates. My guess is that the first one will break records for viewership.

Another guess is that Hillary is already practicing how to handle insults.  She probably has aides flinging every insult they can think of at her. She is rehearsing her replies.

Given Trump’s history, this makes sense. He may well call her a crook and a liar.  He may well demand she answer nasty questions about corruption.

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Tom Morgan – The People Said No
TOM MORGAN’S MONEY TALK

The People Said No

Editor’s Note:  The column, Money Talk, by Tom Morgan of Franklin, the retired Oneonta investment counselor, is syndicated nationally.  Here is this week’s column.

tom morgan logoWha’ happened?

Did earthquakes churn Europe into rubble?  Did The Plague descend upon Britain?  Did skyscrapers topple? Did the Queen scamper naked ‘round Picadilly Circus?

Europeans are screaming at the Brits. Calling them everything but Nazis.  Half the British are screaming at the other half.  In fact calling them Nazis. What cataclysmic event has brought about such rancor?

The people said no.

What do you mean?

Politicians asked Brits if they wanted to stay in the EU.  They said no.

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VALEDICTORY …And, Yes, We Are Fiscally Sound Supervisor Atwell Says In Summing Up

VALEDICTORY

…And, Yes, We Are Fiscally Sound,

Supervisor Atwell Says In Summing Up

Editor’s Note:  Anne Geddes Atwell, Otsego town supervisor or town board member for the past decade, is retiring from her municipal responsibilities at year’s end.  She provided this summing up of her tenure.

By ANNE GEDDES ATWELL, Supervisor, Town of Otsego

Supervisor Anne Geddes Atwell presides at an Otsego Town Board meeting earlier this year. (AllOTSEGO.com photo)
Supervisor Anne Geddes Atwell presides at an Otsego Town Board meeting earlier this year.  She is flanked by Town Board members Bennett Sandler, left, and Tom Hohensee.   (AllOTSEGO.com photo)

As 2015 ends, so does my second term as Otsego town supervisor. This completes 10 years of service on the Town Board. It’s been gratifying work, if sometimes frustrating, especially since some press coverage during this election season may have left the impression that the Town Board was in turmoil.  That has not been the case, though some tensions and even harassment by a couple of members of the Planning Board may have suggested so.

To set the record straight, and to acknowledge the fine accomplishments of the Town Board over recent years, I offer you this account of important successes that been to the direct benefit of you, the Town’s citizens and tax-payers.

Encouragement of Business The outgoing Board and the Supervisor brought final resolution to an urgently important project in a Town of Otsego Business district: The Cooperstown Intermodal Transit Center project, best known as the Linden Avenue Extension.  Disagreement between the Village of Cooperstown and our Planning Board had held up completion for several years and put us in real danger of losing a roughly a three million dollar grant and of incurring further thousands of dollars per day as penalties for delaying the contracted construction. As citizens now know from their use of the Avenue extension to Route 28, it is a tremendous convenience and had made dropping off our children at school much easier and safer. 

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On-Street Parking Settled, Residential Permits Await

On-Street Parking Settled,

Residential Permits Await

COOPERSTOWN – Villagers whose heads may still be spinning over on-street parking, P&D machines and downtown parking permits, now have another concept around which to wrap their brains.

Residential parking permits.

The Village Board has scheduled a “workshop meeting” for 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 20. Mayor Jeff Katz anticipates a free-floating discussion to see if there is any consensus on the matter. The public is welcome, but no public comment.

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Editorial: Properly Implement City Charter

EDITORIAL

After 3 Years, It’s Time To

Properly Implement City Charter

Incoming Council member Melissa Nicosia’s fresh perspective cut through the accretions: Qualifications contained in the Oneonta City Charter matter. With her is fellow charter review member David W. Brenner.
Incoming Council member Melissa Nicosia’s fresh perspective cut through the accretions: Qualifications contained in the Oneonta City Charter matter. With her is fellow charter review member David W. Brenner.

Read the city charter: Meg Hungerford does not have the qualifications to be Oneonta city manager.

Efforts to put her in that position regardless damaged the last year of the Miller Administration, and continuing efforts to do so are preventing the implementation of a sensible city charter approved by 75 percent of the voters.

It’s past time for Mayor Gary Herzig to close the door on the Hungerford option and move on.

Instead, by forming an ad hoc committee to review the charter, and asking that the review be done before the end of the year so the current Common Council can fast-track any changes, the new

mayor risks poisoning his administration with many city voters before it’s even begun.

By all accounts, Hungerford is an excellent financial officer. But she lacks the training, experience and qualifications specified in the charter for the $120,000 position:
• One, she lives in East Meredith, 10 miles from Oneonta (and in another county, Delaware, not Otsego.)
• Two, she lacks the master’s degree in public administration or a related field. (Does the home to Hartwick and SUNY Oneonta really believe that doesn’t matter?)
• Three, she lacks the relevant professional experience.

There’s nothing the matter with not meeting the qualifications for Oneonta city manager. Many people don’t. Many brainy, happy and successful people don’t meet the qualifications for brain surgeon, or construction engineer, or ship captain; but they don’t seek do brain surgery, build skyscrapers or pilot a Viking cruise ship.

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MV500 Plan Condemns Otsego To Low-Salary, Seasonal Jobs
EDITORIAL

MV500 Plan Condemns Otsego

To Low-Salary, Seasonal Jobs

Editor’s Note:  This is an excerpt from this week’s editorial in Hometown Oneonta & The Freeman’s Journal, on newsstands in Oneonta, Cooperstown and beyond this afternoon.

MV500 co-chair Alicia Dicks briefs a local crowd on Otsego County's prospects during a meeting at the Hall of Fame's Bullpen Theater in mid-September. When the plan was released last week, it appeared Otsego County had been dealt out of any meaningful involvement in the Utica-Marcy nanotechnology initiative. (AllOTSEGO.com photo)
MV500 co-chair Alicia Dicks briefs a local crowd on Otsego County’s prospects during a meeting at the Hall of Fame’s Bullpen Theater in mid-September. When the plan was released last week, it appeared Otsego County had been dealt out of any meaningful involvement in the Utica-Marcy nanotechnology initiative. (AllOTSEGO.com photo)

Otsego County has been dealt out of the Utica-Marcy STEM and nanotechnology boom in the MV500 application submitted to the state Monday, Oct. 5, a huge disappointment to anyone who cares about economic development
locally.

That can’t stand.

MV500 is a six-county team – Otsego is one of the counties represented – pulled together over the summer to prepare the application for a half-billion dollars from Governor Cuomo’s Upstate Development Fund.

CLICK HERE TO REVIEW MV500 PLAN FOR YOURSELF

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Amphenol Advocates Need To Make Their Voices Heard

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Amphenol Advocates Need

To Make Their Voices Heard

Editor’s Note:  This is our opinion, expressed in the editorial that appeared in the Sept. 10-11 editions of The Freeman’s Journal & Hometown Oneonta.  What do you think?  Send your opinion to info@allotsego.com, to appear in this week’s editions of the newspaper.

Amphenol's new plant on the Back River Road, Sidney, which opened last spring. (AllOTSEGO.com photo)
Amphenol’s new plant on the Back River Road, Sidney, which opened last spring. (AllOTSEGO.com photo)

Clearly, Stop the Pipeline has dominated the debate about the Constitution Pipeline since January 2013, when “Alternate M,” the route through Otsego County, was rejected.

There was parity before that: The Otsego County Board of Representatives’ chair Kathy Clark, R-Otego, and her then-ally, county Rep. Linda Rowinski, D-Oneonta, had marshaled colleagues behind the effort to win the pipeline and garner an estimated $13 million in property taxes for towns and school districts along the route.

Since, the route through Delaware County has been mired in debate, some of it smacking of hysteria, from Stop the Pipeline and its allies. Whether as a result or not, the state Public Service Commission is taking its time coming to a decision. Pipeline construction was supposed to begin in the spring, and is still awaiting the go-ahead.

SEND YOUR OPINION TO INFO@ALLOTSEGO.COM

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