Opinion: Rich says vote saved $2 million in taxes for Town of Potsdam
Friday, September 8, 2017 - 7:31 am

To the Editor:

My name is Judith Rich, and I am running for my fourth term as Potsdam Town Councilwoman. Prior to serving on the Town Council, I served for 15 years on the Potsdam School Board.

My husband and I raised both our daughters here. One of our daughters recently said, “Mom, you raised us in Paradise.” I totally agree. There is nothing like a small town to bring out the best in people. In a small town, you get to know your neighbors and you get to know what your neighbors need and want.

Being a member of the Town Council has been very rewarding. The people with whom I work, both elected and employed, have been constant in their commitment to their jobs and superior in their performance of them. Government should be a team effort. We don’t always agree, but we always listed to each other.

Several years ago, a business known as Affinity Cottages wanted to build a series of apartments across from SUNY Potsdam on Main Street. They wanted a PILOT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) which would greatly have reduced their tax burden for the first ten years. If the town voted “no,” then the village and the school boards could not vote “yes.”

Initially, I was the only board member who believed we should vote “no,” and I fought for that position over many months. I believed they would eventually build and that the PILOT was unfair to local landlords.

At our final meeting when we voted on the subject, one board member recused herself and Rose Rivezzi decided to vote “no” (yah, Rose). Since it took three votes to pass, it failed. This has saved the town, the village and the school around $2 million in taxes, and now Affinity is going to build more apartments and has not even asked for PILOT.

The above is just one example of how I think I have “earned by keep.”

I will be so gratified if you vote for me once again on Sept. 12. It has been a pleasure serving my community and I hope to be able to continue doing so.

Judith Rich