the letter titled “Sound and Fury” [Letters, Nov. 26], Jeff
Buell indicated that there were a number of legitimate reasons
for opposing the proposed Business Improvement District of
Troy (BID), chief among them being the additional tax that
would be imposed on the current tax property liability. However,
the rest of the letter was spent personally attacking me.
This type of conduct is quite typical of Troy’s current administration.
Mr. Buell spent more time in his letter committing libel than
constructively addressing the issues and discussing the facts
of the proposed BID. Nevertheless, the facts here speak for
The BID’s organizational plan outlined a number of its objectives.
Among these are managing and expanding existing events such
as the Troy Pig Out, the Chowderfest, and the River Street
Festival. It also includes public services and improvements
such as tree and flower planting, holiday decorum [décor],
street banners, security, and maintenance, including sidewalk
sweeping, cleaning and snow removal. While these are all laudable
objectives, they are all currently being performed by the
City and are being supported by our property taxes.
The question then becomes, Mr. Buell, why does the City need
to duplicate its efforts in these areas? Is the City’s administration
telling us that their current efforts are not sufficient enough
in the business district? If our tax burden is not enough
to support current efforts, where is our money going? Tell
me that Mr. Buell. You receive a salary to write press releases
and letters supporting the administration’s actions and policies,
yet the city apparently does not have enough funds to support
security and street cleaning in the business district!
Additionally, there is a full-time salary of $50,000 for an
executive director [position for the BID]. The small businesses
in downtown Troy are struggling to stay open or to keep from
laying off employees because of current economical times.
The creation of an unnecessary, politically connected job
during these times cannot be justified.
You also questioned my ethics. I find that hypocritical and
laughable coming from you, Mr. Buell. Yes, I applied for the
Frear Park Golf Course restaurant concession. The City actually
invited me through a mailing to respond to the solicitation,
something that you obviously did not know, Mr. Buell. What
you also did not tell the readers was that I supplied the
only reasonable proposal to the solicitation for the concession
when it was first released, and the city issued several more
solicitations before a contract was awarded. Additionally,
after the contract was awarded, the City put nearly $30,000
of equipment into the restaurant, which was not mentioned
in any of the solicitations.
Why did it take several solicitations to award a contract
after receiving legitimate and acceptable offers, and why
did the city pay for $30,000 worth of equipment? Was the city
looking for someone in particular, as they did when they bid
out the insurance contract or the towing contract? I thought
that the bids were open to all those that meet the requirements,
and provided the best and most reasonable offer. The City’s
questionable practices seem to indicate that this is not the
case. This city’s administration has been playing fast and
loose with many of its contracts, and our tax dollars, and
you are questioning my ethics. Check the facts before
you make those types of accusations.
Additionally, several long-time employees were not rehired
at the golf course this year, because they supported politicians
who were against your boss, the mayor. Yet, your brother,
who was working at the golf course, received a substantial
amount of overtime during the summer and actually earned more
than his boss. This all seems to be a conflict of interest
and an ethical issue, not to mention a financial issue. It
seems to me, Mr. Buell, that you and your family have benefited
mightily from your connections to this administration. Is
your support for the BID just another example of this?
Mr. Buell, if you want to create a better community, give
back your raise and have all your political buddies do the
same. Give the taxpayers, especially the small businesses,
tax relief so they can afford to stay in operation and reinvest
that money or hire new employees to better their businesses.
This would be a significantly better use of the taxpayers’
money than paying you for your time to attack small business
owners who are contributing to Troy’s downtown environment
and the City’s tax base.
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