During a recent Stockton Town Board meeting, it was interesting to watch how our local governments talk in circles, blame colleagues, then the taxpayer.
The issue - a minor one in the big scheme of things when it comes to local government, but very important to the individual - has to do with a dilapidating barn near the four corners in the town. Edward Buseck wants to demolish it, but because the barn is located on two properties, he has been denied.
"I want that piece of property so I can put a store on the corner that I own," he told the board. "I can't put anything there. Anyone that looks at it said I can't do any development."
"When the property line is changed and you own the entire barn, then the town can issue you a demolition permit," town Supervisor Dave Wilson answered.
Buseck continued his argument. "Do you charge half of the taxes to what's her name?"
"I'm not the assessor. Ask the assessor," Wilson answered.
So while the county moves ahead with a proposal to seize foreclosed and abandoned land, a local taxpayer wants to demolish a deteriorating structure and develop land - he pays taxes on - yet cannot demolish due to half of the structure being on a neighbor's land.
Which begs the question, does the town approve of allowing the eyesore and dangerous building?
If the structure is not safe, that should be enough to have the town step in to have someone tear it down. If this structure is acceptable, then other questionable sites can also be judged by the lack of action on this piece of property.
Whatever the case, the decision is holding up development in a town that desperately needs it. Chalk up another hurdle in private development to small government.