In being good neighbors, both the Silver Creek Central Schools and town of Hanover recently approved tax-exempt status for the village Department of Public Works building. That exemption, however, needs to be revoked immediately.
Following a state comptroller's report released last week extremely critical of the process, it is very evident that Silver Creek's purchase of the site, which is located outside of the village at Routes 5 and 20, was flawed and overly expensive - twice the market value of the property.
Even in the village's response to the comptroller, which is laughable at best, the office of the comptroller notes:
The building, purchased for $725,000, has already been denied funding by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
No records were kept by the committee in charge of locating potential properties for the new DPW building.
Prior to purchasing the building, village officials were informed by the State Emergency Management Office that funding would not be provided as they had anticipated. However, village officials could not demonstrate that they ever re-evaluated or reconsidered the options upon realizing their original assumptions had been incorrect.
FEMA has not approved the village's funding request for this project and village officials have not obtained written assurance from FEMA the project will be approved and reimbursed as anticipated.
Overall, this is a lack of responsibility by Mayor Kurt Lindstrom and all village officials. How could they actually try to defend this purchase, which may leave village residents paying nearly $1 million when all is said and done?
It is inexcusable.
But back to the town and the school district, which did absolutely nothing wrong in this fiasco. Both entities, unfortunately, are now connected to this flawed process. By approving a tax exemption on a building that was so poorly purchased by Lindstrom and Co., it is - in a sense - a vote of support and a backing of questionable actions.
The school and town will certainly say otherwise, but there is no other defense. If the town and school district at least make an effort to revoke the exemption, it is a sign both boards understand they have been greatly misled.
Just like the Silver Creek taxpayers, who may now know the real reason why the Village Board has already approved exceeding the 2 percent tax cap set by the state.