Mr. Aiello- Hope all is well? Just wanted to respond to your wonderful letter to the editor. It really shocks me that someone who served in the legislature so long is so unversed in the laws of tax collection in Ulster County.
First off you say after three years, the properties go up for auction by county. Did you know that is only the case if they do not pay the town or school tax, not village taxes? And in most cases when people get to the three-year point, they go to the county and pay only their town and school tax and then they are taken off the auction list and if they owe Village Tax?, Oh well, that’s OK. no one is forcing them to pay that.
Secondly you say that the village has no right to ask the county to make them whole? Then why does the county make both the school and town whole on back taxes across the entire county? Perhaps you did not know that? All that aside, I do understand your concern that there are people who just simply have fallen on hard times and cannot afford to do so. Well what the paper failed to mentioned (and perhaps I did not go into on detail on this at our last meeting) was that I have gone over this list and highlighted people who I felt may fall into this category and rather than embarrassing them, I am offering an opportunity to work out a payment plan and will not publish their names. Now with that being said, keep this in mind:
I have gone over this list and 90 percent of the people who are on the list own multiple properties and are landlords. There are other people on this list who I know personally drive around in expensive cars but choose not to pay their taxes. To give you an example we have one restaurant owner who owes us $27,000 in back taxes that have accumulated over the past five years and on the day he and his wife came in to cry poverty when they got an overdue notice they arrived in a Mercedes and his wife had enough diamonds on her to buy my house. We also have two other residents who have not pad in over seven years. Bottom line is we are not going after people who are just behind on the current taxes. Our intent is to go after those who are two-plus years in arrears and have made no effort to respond to our letters or made any effort to come in and set up payment arrangement, which I would be more than willing to do.
So while I totally get your point and trust me, I empathize for people down on their luck probably more than anyone, and have done many things to assist these type of people over the years. However as I mentioned, that is not the case with almost all of our delinquent tax payers. Also, it is not fair to those of us who pay taxes that have to pick up the tab for the slackers (not those who are down on their luck, but slackers) year in and year out.
Also, in regards to your blast about overspending— In the five years since myself and this board have been in office, we have not raised taxes once and overall have reduced the Village tax rate of 22 percent going from $8.14 per $1000 in 2011 to $6.36 per $1000 in 2015.
Mayor, village of Saugerties
I think our signs saying “Welcome to Friendly Saugerties” should have an addition saying “Get a Friendly $225 Fine for Jaywalking!”
Although I appreciate Police Chief Sinagra’s concern for our safety, I think he has a very wrong idea about how to achieve his goal. I can see that better and more signage could be a good idea but his plan for punishments is most unfortunate. Very bad for our village and town and its businesses! Do other villages have such a policy?
I’ve heard of “Police States” but never of a “Police Village.” And, by the way, how is it that one person has the power to institute such a policy? Does the Village Board and mayor not have a say in this? And if I recall correctly, I read that he says that there will be a first warning unless the officer gets back talk in which case a citation will be issued. Really? A citizen can’t express their thoughts or feelings about the situation? Who decides what is inappropriate speech? I think officers will need to carry tape recorders.
Learn about the pipeline
The Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipeline is supporting the Saugerties Town Board’s public informational meeting June 18 at 7 p.m. at the Senior Center about the pipelines which Pilgrim Pipeline LLC are proposing to carry crude oil which has been fracked in the Bakken Shale Fields of North Dakota and transported to Albany by train. This bi-directional pipeline would be 178 miles long carrying crude oil from Albany to refineries in Linden, NJ. and then refined product back up through Albany along the New York State Thruway right-of-way.
Many Hudson Valley towns along the route have passed resolutions of opposition to the pipelines and Saugerties Town Board will be considering such a resolution. Representatives from Pilgrim Pipeline have been actively approaching landowners who live along the proposed pipeline route to survey the land. Some landowners have been falsely told the company would have eminent domain if needed. Reports have been made that some seismic blasting while surveying might have begun in our area.
The forum will include a presentation by a representative from Pilgrim Pipeline as well as a presentation by Kate Hudson from Riverkeeper and Kathy Nolan, MD, of Catskill Mountainkeeper who have done extensive research on the issue.T here will be ample time for questions and comments from the public and from the board. We urge Saugerties citizens to come and learn about this possible threat to our safety.
The color purple
The Alzheimer’s Association recently announced that they were moving Alzheimer’s Awareness Month from September to June and renaming the recognition-based event to the Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. This new distinction in the name change is significant, because it not only recognizes Alzheimer’s as an adverse deterioration of brain function, but it also opens the recognition of other cognitive functioning abnormalities of the brain such as dementia, post-concussion syndrome and other degenerative conditions that adversely affect brain function.
In Saugerties, we are very fortunate to have the Ivy Lodge for Assisted Living as a retirement home and assisted living facility where there is a specialized unit that focuses on the care of those afflicted with Alzheimer’s and dementia. The founder of the Ivy Lodge for Assisted Living, Joan Hyde, relocated from Boston to Saugerties three years ago so that she could apply her expertise as a PHD-level nurse and assist those afflicted with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Ms. Hyde is known as being an expert in the care and treatment of those afflicted by Alzheimer’s and dementia after having written several books on these issues.
As someone who has had family members who suffered from these cognitive functioning conditions, I think that it is important to foster awareness and to share some new advances in nutrition which have been shown to improve those afflicted with conditions that adversely affect brain function. Recently, the ingestion of virgin coconut oil has been clinically shown to improve the mental functioning of people who suffer from various conditions that cause cognitive functioning impairment.
In summary, the Alzheimer’s Association asks that people where the color purple sometime during the month of June in recognition of June being the designated awareness month, so if you see the color purple in people’s wardrobes this month, you will know the meaning behind it.
Ulster County Legislature