To the Editor:
Of all the nonsensical stances I have ever seen, the one taken by the Potsdam School Board on the subject of Main Street development ranks right up there.
Here is (finally) something that would help increase the village and school tax base, and some folks on the school board are casting stones at it. Coming from a group that was willing to break the 2 percent tax cap that stuck us with an even larger school tax, this is interesting and regrettable.
For one example, the president of the board says, “we need development, but do we need this development?“ And there he leaves it--no further explanation Others obviously do not like the initial 35 percent discount on the property taxes which decline by 5 percent each year for the first five years- a common practice in all municipalities that want to encourage building, particularly when the assessment on that property will be 5.5 million. Pat Turbett bleeds for the current landlords who have not gotten tax breaks.
Take a good look at some of that student housing, Pat --some of it looks like scenes from a movie called “Ramshackle Inn.” Give those landlords a tax break? I think not. Then again, this same Pat Turbett says that this Main Street development is “clearly commercial-they’re going to be making money.” Of course they are. Is there something wrong with that?
All in all, I hope the board comes to its senses. Right now, it looks like they are coming down on the side of the present landlords and not for the village, its taxpayers, their own students, and for college students who would have a real choice in some very attractive off-campus housing in competition with what is now the case. For whatever reason, the Potsdam Board of Education is toying with the future of a many good people. It is not at all becoming, and it may have some repercussions if we are asked to pay even more in a renovation project that the Board of Education is pondering. Ignoring the public can have its consequences.
Dick Hutchinson, Potsdam