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Et tu, Buell?

To the Editor:

In 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 themselves.

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.

Michael LoPorto

Troy

Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters addressed to the editor. Metroland reserves the right to edit letters for length or clarity; 300 words is the preferred maximum. You must include your name, address and day and evening telephone numbers. We will not publish letters that cannot be verified, nor those that are anonymous, illegible, irresponsible or factually inaccurate.

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419 Madison Ave., Albany, NY 12210

e-mail: metroland@metroland.net

fax: 463-3726


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