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Danny Lapin

County Energy Task Force Aims To Partner With State Agencies

County Energy Task Force

Aims To Influence NY State

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Danny Lapin

ONEONTA – The county’s Energy Task Force aims to impact state and regional energy policy in the coming months, according to discussions in its meeting last night.

“We’re planning to have a representative from DEC speak about the New York Climate Consumer Protection Act,” said Danny Lapin, an Energy Task Force member and county rep.  “How DEC will implement its components of the legislation, how that will affect Otsego County, and other questions.

Energy Task Force Offers Public Workshop, Preps Energy Studies

Energy Task Force

Offers Public Workshop,

Preps Energy Studies

Barbara Ann Heegan, president, Otsego County Chamber and chair of the Energy Task Force’s Economic Development sub-group, tells the group about the upcoming workshop on energy efficiency for small businesses. (Libby Cudmore/AllOTSEGO.com)

By LIBBY CUDMORE  • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

County Board Member Danny Lapin, District 13, explained that the Environment sub-group would be reviewing the good and bad of all types of energy projects, both conventional and renewable.

ONEONTA – While the big tasks are still ahead for the Otsego County Energy Task Force, Barbara Ann Heegan, Otsego County Chamber president and chair of the Economic Development sub-group of the county’s Energy Task Force, is making sure that small businesses and the public can learn what they can do on the local level.

“We will be hosting a talk on ‘Understanding Energy Usage In Your Small Business: How to Increase Efficiency and Reduce Costs With An Energy Study’ from the Green Jobs, Green New York energy study,” she told the task force and public gathered for their second meeting this evening in Oneonta’s Town Hall. “We want to keep networking and keep these connections strong.”

The talk, which is free and open to the public, will be given by Michelle Wooddell, program coordinator for Green Jobs, Green New York at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, May 8 at the Northern Eagle Beverage Center.

Dostal: There Are ‘Misconceptions’ About RSS Project

People Who Would Live

In RSS Are Committed

To Recovery, Dostal Says

LEAF Director Responds To Neighbors Organizing

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Julie Dostal

ONEONTA – In response to the formation of “Sixth Ward Neighbors United,” LEAF Executive Director Julie Dostal said there are “misconceptions” about the proposed Rehabilitation & Support Services housing development and the 14 units set aside for people in addiction recovery.

“Those people get to move into those units because they have engaged in a treatment or recovery provider to qualify for housing,” she said. “They have already made a life decision toward getting better.”

Sixth Ward Will Fight River Street Housing Project

THE TARGET: RSS PROPOSAL

50 Neighbors

Uniting To Fight

Housing Project

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Fran Colone convened the meeting of 50 neighbors to organize against the RSS project proposed for the Sixth Ward. “There are multiple bad reasons for the project,” Colone said. (Jennifer Hill/AllOTSEGO.com)

ONEONTA – Christened “Sixth Ward Neighbors United,” River Street residents and businesspeople met for more than two hours with  city, county and state elected officials at the Sixth Ward Athletic Club Thursday evening  to discuss strategies to oppose RSS’s housing development in their neighborhood.

“There are multiple bad reasons for RSS’s project,” said Fran Colone, a vocal critic of the housing development proposal since last October. “So, we’re turning up the heat and upping our activities.”

“It is bad for Oneonta’s economy, it’s bad in terms of energy services – Oneonta is already energy-strapped; it’s going to increase demand for services here.  Oneonta’s fire department is already understaffed,” Colone said.

RSS Housing Project Not Right For Oneonta
from Danny Lapin

RSS Housing Project

Not Right For Oneonta

To the Editor:

The proposed housing project by Rehabilitation Support Services (RSS) of Altamont in Oneonta’s Sixth Ward is a flawed development. RSS wants taxpayers to pay for it; they trying to circumvent public input and they’re using strong-arm tactics to get approval to start construction.

Therefore, I oppose it.

RSS wants to build a 64-unit project for low- and moderate-income people that will include 14 apartments reserved for individuals recovering from drug and alcohol abuse. Subsidized rents will range from $520 to $1,067, well below market rates for Oneonta.

Koutnik Votes No On Climate Pledge, Saying It’s Too Weak

Koutnik Votes ‘No’

On ‘Climate Pledge’

Draft As Too Weak

But SWECC Committee, 4-1, Forwards

Compromise Document To Full Board

The Solid Waste & Environmental Concerns Committee of the county Board of Representatives discusses on a “Climate Smart Community Pledge” resolution. County Reps. Keith McCarty, Meg Kennedy and Gary Koutnik, listen to County Planning Director Karen Sullivan.  At right is county Rep. Danny Lapin (Jennifer Hill/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – Saying the language “was softened,” County board Vice Chair Gary Koutnik, D-Oneonta, today voted against sending a “Climate Smart Community Pledge” resolution, as revised, to the full board for action March 6.

However, his colleagues on the Solid Waste & Environmental Concerns Committee nonetheless agreed to forward the adjusted resolution, 4-1, for the full board’s consideration.

“The language did reduce the  sense of Climate Change being a crisis,” Koutnik said.  “My vote was largely a symbolic one, so it would be in the public record for future generations to see.”

Ruffles Takes First Step Against Whack-A-Mole

Editorial for November 30, 2018.

Ruffles Takes First Step Against Whack-A-Mole

Maria Ajello makes her monthly plea: Give me my house back.

For years now, Otsego County’s annual auction of foreclosed-on tax-delinquent properties has eaten up a lot of oxygen at the county Board of Representatives’ monthly meetings.
It’s the Whack-A-Mole of county government, which suggests: There are unresolved issues.
So a take-charge presentation by the new county treasurer, Allen Ruffles, at the November meeting was welcome, if partial.
First, he declared, having studied the issue, giving delinquent taxpayers four years to pay back bills is counterproductive. In the fourth year, the fees and interest that accrue just make it all that more likely property owners won’t be able to catch up.
Three years is the standard among New York State counties, and Ruffles – as he can within his treasurer’s duties – has implemented it, effective 2022.
Second, he encouraged the county board, as a companion measure, to pass a law enabling property owners to “buy back” their own homes.
Himself a former banker, Ruffles said most delinquent properties aren’t mortgaged and contain more-than-sufficient equity to qualify for bank loans to cover what’s owed.
The county board should promptly pass the enabling legislation.
While Ruffles didn’t need the county reps’ blessing, Rep. Danny Lapin, D-Oneonta, made a motion of support and it was approved, although three county reps – Kathy Clark, Michele Farwell and Andrew Stammel – abstained, uncertain about some of the particulars.

Ruffles’ presentation spurred a debate – of course, the Whack-A-Mole – on a related issue: Should county employees be allowed to bid at the annual delinquent-property auction.
There was general agreement that employees in the Treasurer’s and the County Attorney’s offices, who are elbows deep in preparing the annual tax sale, should be prohibited from bidding – elected officials, too – but beyond that there were divergences.

The Freeman’s Journal – At this month’s county board meeting, Allen Ruffles, the freshman county treasurer, announces steps he’s taking to streamline foreclosures and tax sales. At right is chairman David Bliss.

County Rep. Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla, objected to any restrictions, even on himself and the other reps, saying anyone who thinks a property is worth more could bid against him. The board vice chair, Gary Koutnik, D-Oneonta, called a ban “100-percent optics.” Iffy. .
Farwell, the freshman Democrat from Morris, had a more textured view: “We’re the government, and government has lost the people’s trust. I think if you take an extra step to ensure the public’s trust in government, there’s a payoff there worth more than the opportunity for any employee in the county to bid.”
She summed up: “If you are an employee of McDonald’s, you cannot participate in those sweepstakes.”

Readers, ask yourself and fellow employees: In 10, 20 or 30 years on the job, has buying property at public auction ever come up in office conversation? Most of you would say, not at all; not once. It’s just beyond most people’s consideration.
The problem here is county employees swim in a sea where delinquent property-tax sales are dissolved oxygen. Everybody breathes that air. It’s conversation
in coffee breaks, where the treasurer’s and county attorney’s employees are sipping and sharing in the conversation.
There’s simply too much of an opportunity for inside knowledge to be acquired; for county employees, if you will, to prey on the rest of us.
Of course, it’s hard to listen to any discussion about tax sales without putting it in the context of the August 2014 auction, where Maria Ajello lost her Town of Richfield home to a neighbor who happened to be a county employee.
Another wrinkle: under a then-new policy, Ajello and a Town of Butternuts property owner, Bob Force, were denied the right to buy back their properties on the day of the sale.
They still feel that injustice, and anyone who hears Maria’s monthly plea for mercy feels it too. Injustice left alone festers, with unintended consequences: Fearful, the county board feels it must have a deputy sheriff on duty at all its monthly meetings.

To sum up, Treasurer Ruffles has taken a business-like step in shortening foreclosure from four years to three. Any business owner knows: If you let a bill go unpaid for even a year, the chances of getting paid are miniscule. But he and the county board, hand in hand, should continue to pursue not a best practice or two, but all THE best practices:
• One, pass the buy-back legislation, so captured value can be freed and people can stay in their homes.
• Two, ban every county employee from bidding on delinquent properties. Steady work, plus good health benefits and a secure retirement are recompense enough.
• Three, begin negotiations to make Maria Ajello and Bob Force whole – the properties they lost were worth many multiples of the taxes they owed.

County Task Force To Consider Selling Oneonta Building

County Task Force To Look

At Selling Off Old City Hall

By PARKER FISH • Special To www.AllOTSEGO.com

Oneonta’s Old City Hall at 242 Main St. may be sold by its current owner, the County of Otsego.

COOPERSTOWN – Picking up on Oneonta Common Council’s decision to sell the Westcott parking lot at 226 Main St., the county Board of Representatives today formed a task force to explore selling Old City Hall, located right next door.

Freshman Oneonta rep Danny Lapin, D-13, raised the task force idea at the meeting, and was named to chair it.

County Rep. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, who chairs the Public Works Committee, told his colleagues he has had preliminary conversations with Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig about a prospective sale.  But he emphasized, “nothing has been done as of this point. We have not made any decisions, and this is simply exploratory.”

400 Join March For Our Lives

400 Rally, Supporting

‘March For Our Lives’

Over 400 people marched from Oneonta High School to Muller Plaza this morning as they took part in the national March For Our Lives protest for tougher gun legislation. Above, Caroline Bagby, a OHS senior and recent recipient of the Women’s Trailblazer Award, delivers an impassioned speech to those gathered in the plaza. Numerous people spoke including Mayor Gary Herzig, Assembly candidate Daniel Buttermann, Abbey Koutnik and others. At right, county Representative Danny Lapin, D-City of Oneonta, holds his sign high as the crowd marches down East Street during the first leg of the march. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

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Otsego County Board Contingent Absorbs Lessons Of Governance

Otsego County Board Contingent

Absorbs Lessons Of Governance

A contingent from the Otsego County Board of Representatives – from left, chairman David Bliss, Cooperstown/Town of Middlefield, and county Reps. Michele Farwell, Morris; Danny Lapin and Liz Shannon, both of Oneonta, and Andrew Marietta, Cooperstown/Town of Otsego – are absorbing lessons of good governance from colleagues statewide at the New York State Association of Counties’ annual Legislative Conference today in Albany.  The keynoter was Harvard’s Stephen Goldsmith, director of Innovations in the college’s American Government Program.  Workshop topics ranged from shared services to ethics and integrity in government.
County Reps, 100 Attendees Consider County’s Future

County Reps, 100 Attendees

Consider County’s Future

Dr. Gerald Benjamin, SUNY New Paltz vice president for regional engagement, presents “County Manager v. County Executive” to a full house at Springbrook’s new Family Engagement Center this morning. The 45-minute presentation, moderated by Hartwick College President Margaret Drugovich, outlined the pros and cons of both governmental structures, as well as ideas for how the Otsego County Board of Representatives might begin the process of considering new management models for the county. At right, incoming county Rep. Danny Lapin, D-City of Oneonta, asks what resources might be available to the county board for further study. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

With 4 New Members Due, County Board In Transition

CLICK HERE FOR VIDEOTAPE

OF TODAY’S DECEMBER MEETING

With 4 New Members Due,

County Board In Transition

County Rep. Kay Stuligross, D-Oneonta, delivers her valedictory today at her last regular meeting on the Otsego County Board of Representatives. She and county Rep. Jim Powers, R-Butternuts, are retiring at the end of the year. Stuligross, Powers and two other departing reps, Len Carson and Craig Gelbsman, both Oneonta Republicans, were praised in resolutions passed by their colleagues. Incoming reps are Danny Lapin, Adrienne Martini and Liz Shannon of Oneonta, and Michele Farwell of Gilbertsville. (Video by Parker Fish/AllOTSEGO.com)
Absentees Affirm ‘Reform Coalition’ Can Take Control

Absentees Affirm

‘Reform Coalition’

Can Take Control

But Republican Chairman Declares:

GOP Will Construct Working Majority

Democrat Danny Lapin, left, the new county board representative from District 13, City of Oneonta, and Republican Len Carson shook hands after today’s tallies were announced. In the middle is Maguire Benton, former Otsego County Young Democrats chair. (Jim Kevlin/www.AllOTSEGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN – Today’s count of absentee ballots confirmed the Nov. 7 election results:  A bipartisan “Reform Coalition” can control the Otsego County Board of Representatives after Jan. 1, if like-minded Republicans and Democrats continue to find common ground.

At the end of an afternoon-long recount, with Lynn Krogh, a partner in Casale Associates, representing the GOP, and Richard Sternberg the Democrats:

  • The current county board chair, Kathy Clark, maintained a narrow District 3 edge against Democratic newcomer Cathy Nardi in Otego/Laurens, 561 to 543.
  • In District 13, the City of Oneonta’s Wards 5 & 6, newcomer Danny Lapin, age 29, a Democrat, kept his lead against Republican incumbent Len Carson. The final tally was 252-247.

Absentee Ballot Counts Due In Tight Races First

Absentee Ballot Counts

Due First In Tight Races 

Key Tallies To Be Done Next Wednesday

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN – Absentee ballots will be counted first in close races where they might change the outcomes, Elections Commissioners Lori Lehenbauer and Mike Henrici said today.

Usually, absentee ballots are counted in alphabetical order, according to the names of the jurisdictions, they said.

questionnaire — danny lapin

DANNY LAPIN

COUNTY BOARD OF REPRESENTATIVES, District 13 Oneonta Wards 5 & 6

COMMUNITY OF RESIDENCE: City of Oneonta 5th Ward

EDUCATION:
B.S. Environmental Science, University of California, Riverside (2006)

M.S. Environmental Policy, Bard College (2014)

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Environmental Planner for the Otsego County Conservation Association (OCCA).

  • Built a bipartisan coalition to fight a high voltage transmission line;
  • Lead author of the Otsego County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan;
  • OCCA’s Circuit Riding Planner helping municipalities;
  • Wrote $400,000 worth of grant applications for clean water and climate change protections.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: City of Oneonta’s Planning Commission member; Oneonta Little League baseball coach; Blendos Basketball League player; work with SUCO and Hartwick students on environmental policy; my wife teaches art and communications at BOCES; my son is a fourth-grader at Valley View Elementary school; and my family attends the Unitarian Universalist Church.

FAMILY: I live on College Terrace with my wife Lindy, son Raphael, and cats Yoshi and Nariko. My father-in-law lives in the First Ward.

PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNMENT: I firmly believe in a unified, nonpartisan approach to county government. Business must be conducted in a transparent, ethical and inclusive way, allowing citizens to hold officials accountable.

MAJOR ISSUES FACING OTSEGO COUNTY: High taxes; lack of good paying jobs; inadequate supply of middle-class housing; weak environmental protections; and an opioid crisis.

MY QUALITIES: I’m hard working, energetic, and skilled at building consensus among my colleagues. I’m a relentless advocate while being fiercely loyal to my constituents.

STATEMENT: This is a truly exciting time to be a resident of Oneonta and Otsego County.

If given the opportunity to serve on the Board of Representatives, I’ll hold the line on taxes, fight for projects that’ll create jobs, provide better housing options, and protect our environment. Let’s inspire change in November. Vote Lapin for County Rep!

 

 

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