LoBue: “We Look Like Fools”

Legislators bicker over Butterfield lease minutiae

By Holly Toal

A sixth revision to the secret lease between the county and Butterfield Realty to rent space at the former Butterfield Hospital site in Cold Spring for a senior center was approved on Sept. 14 during a special meeting called by the chairwoman.

The gathering was not without the usual debate, confusion and heated exchanges that have accompanied the matter over the past several months.

The county plans to lease 6,000 square feet in the Lahey Pavilion over 15 years at a total cost of about $4.5 million, including rent, taxes, common area charges and renovations. During its regular monthly meeting on Sept. 6, the legislature approved a fifth amendment to the lease and an $800,000 bond referendum to help pay for the $1.3 million project.

The Sept. 14 meeting opened with Kevin Wright (R-Mahopac) objecting to the board accepting correspondence from the Cold Spring Planning Board, which proposed an amendment to a graph related to the transportation provided to seniors. He noted the proposal had not been received by the legislature at least 48 hours prior to the meeting, as required by law.

Asked to clarify, legislative counsel Clement Van Ross said because the Physical Services Committee approved proposed amendments to the lease at its Sept. 12 meeting, the 48-hour deadline had been met. However, he said, the last piece of correspondence received from the Cold Spring Planning Board was dated Sept. 13. “In this case, it’s difficult to see that 48 hours was met,” he said.

Legislators Castellano, Albano and Scuccimarra (file photo by Ross Corsair)

Legislators Castellano, Albano and Scuccimarra (file photo by Ross Corsair)

Barbara Scuccimarra (R-Philipstown), was clearly perturbed by this judgment. “This is an atrocity, and I don’t believe you are correct, Clem,” she said.

Chairwoman Ginny Nacerino (R-Patterson) explained that the Cold Spring Planning Board had approved the proposed amendment well over a week before, but because one member was absent, it had waited as a courtesy for that person’s input.

The change to the lease, she said, involves seven words: “…and any extensions and/or renewals thereof.”

“That’s what you’re objecting to,” Nacerino said to Wright.

Nacerino said she understood Wright’s diligence to follow legislative process but argued that the delay was counterproductive.

Carl Albano (R-Carmel) also expressed frustration.

“We’re playing games with this now,” he said. “It’s not that you have a problem with the language — this is spite. Kevin, you’re just wasting our time.”

Senior Center Wish List

In a memo dated Sept. 1, Deputy County Executive Bruce Walker outlined the estimated costs of building out the senior center at the Butterfield development. The estimate totaled $1.5 million but the legislature has reduced that amount to $1.3 million.

Connection of sewer system: $5,000
Siding: $10,000
Connection for water supply:  $20,000
Labor (carpenters):  $150,000
Framing (modifications for interior space): $68,000
Concrete work for bathroom connections: $15,000
Electric (including power supply): $25,000
Steel upgrades to support rooftop HVAC: $10,000
Emergency exit doors: $25,000
HVAC: $60,000
Engineering costs: $75,000
Rough plumbing: $45,000
Wood stairs, Sheetrock, insulation, outside loft stairs: $300,000
Kitchen equipment (pending design approvals): $200,000
Fire curtains, fire doors, ADA lift, pull boxes, etc.: $120,000
Bathroom fixtures, ADA accessibility: $100,000
Drop ceiling, painting, furniture, cabinetry, window treatments: $85,000
Light fixtures, fans: $45,000
Flooring: $40,000
Tables, chairs, banquet equipment, bar equipment: $25,000
Wi-Fi connectivity: $25,000
Folding partition to optimize space: $10,000
Security/access control: $15,000
Propane tanks for kitchen: $2,000
Gas fireplace with glass front for lounge: $25,000

Dini LoBue (R-Mahopac Falls) said the board put itself in the situation by “rushing” to approve the latest amendment.

“Why did we have to call a special full meeting?” she asked. “This has been going on since November, and in two weeks we’re going to have a [regularly scheduled] full meeting.… This is the sixth revision and it’s embarrassing. And we’re here again, not sure if this is the proper language, and we look like fools. This is ridiculous.”

Roger Gross (R-Brewster) encouraged his colleagues to wait two weeks for the full meeting on Oct. 4 to consider the proposals. While he acknowledged that “the house has the five votes” to approve the lease, “let’s give it due process.”

Nacerino countered that the reason she called the meeting was to get the project back on track after it was “railroaded” at a contentious legislature meeting on Sept. 6.

“What occurred at the Sept. 6 meeting was exactly what occurred tonight,” she said. “The reason for the special meeting was to offer resolve. We just want to put this to bed. Now we’re going to go to October and do it all again.”

Legislators Dini LoBue and Kevin Wright (file photo by Ross Corsair)

Legislators Dini LoBue and Kevin Wright (file photo by Ross Corsair)

After hearing the grievances of legislators who wish to have the lease finalized, and after emphasizing that the “underlying principle” of following process is of utmost importance, Wright backed off his objection.

“I know this language will pass in two weeks, so I withdraw my objection,” he said.

That allowed the legislature to vote, although because it was as special meeting, unanimous consent was needed. However, LoBue voted no.

“Really, Dini? Really? You make me sick,” Scuccimarra said before leaving the room to make a phone call. When the legislator returned about five minutes later, she proposed accepting the amendment approved by the Physical Services Committee two days earlier but not the more recent seven-word change. That vote carried, 6-3, with Gross, LoBue and Wright voting no.

It was not stated whether the legislature will consider the seven-word change on Oct. 4 or scrap it altogether.

21 thoughts on “LoBue: “We Look Like Fools”

  1. A $200,000 kitchen? A stairway to a non-existent second floor? $25,000 for a couple of $400 commercial routers? A two-sided $25,000 gas fireplace? I hope Mr. Guillaro appreciates the fine multi-million dollar catering facility & restaurant we Putnam taxpayers are about to create for him. It should fetch quite a rent or taxpayer-boosted resale value when our lease ends. Such eagerness to waste millions of our money on a rental by Putnam legislators should not go unrewarded.

  2. The legislative counsel, Clem Van Ross, is a former employee of disgraced former Senator Vinnie Leibell. Van Ross is a good government employee who has served the Putnam Legislature as its counsel for more than a decade. He is almost always voted in unanimously by generations of legislators who, for whatever unknown reason(s), are fearful of replacing him with someone who is more qualified.

    It is beyond my comprehension how Van Ross manages to hold on to this plum job when he clearly doesn’t know what he’s doing. To put it bluntly, his advice to the legislature is dubious at best. But then again, this is Putnam County we’re talking about, where anything goes.

    Once again, what we see here is the utter incompetence of the mental midgets who rule Putnam. If they are starting to realize that they look like fools, well… at least it’s a good beginning.

  3. [Editor’s Note: This statement was submitted to The Current by Putnam County legislator Carl Albano, who is chairman of the Physical Services Committee.]

    In my opinion, misleading information has been distributed to the public regarding the Butterfield Senior Center project. I find it discouraging that the majority of complaints about this well-intentioned County project come from residents in the very area it is designed to serve. Fortunately, it is a small minority who have voiced dissent based largely on partial and inaccurate information, which in my opinion, has been disseminated by groups and media outlets, such as Tax Watch and the Journal News.

    Inaccuracies should be corrected with facts. For example, the original lease agreement NEVER indicated the County would pay 52 percent of the tax on the entire assessed property at Butterfield. The lease clearly referred to the Lahey building alone and not the entire site; the County proposed to rent and pay 52 percent of that particular building’s property tax.

    Those taxes work out to an estimated annual tax obligation of $29,000, broken out as follows: approximately $19,000 going to the [Haldane] school district; $5,800 to the Village of Cold Spring; $1,200 to the Town of Philipstown and $3,000 to the County. All tenants at this site would pay their fair share of the taxes. Although this point is straightforward, we revised the lease to further clarify these tax questions for those who misunderstood and to further emphasize we are only obliged to pay tax on 52 percent of the building we occupy.

    Keep in mind, if the County owned the building, no taxes would be paid to the community. Over the initial term of the lease, more than $400,000 will be put back into the community through property taxes and about $50,000 will come back to the County. The most recent changes to the lease also included the elimination of the Charitable Donation section, and at the request of the Planning Board, we revised the language that referred to providing seniors with transportation. We already do this at our other sites and we intended to do this at Butterfield before the revised specific verbiage was added.

    We did consider some of the special features in the build-out, such as a fireplace and teaching kitchen based on input of the parties that were making the $500,000 charitable donation. Now that the offer has been rescinded, we have scaled back the scope of work to fit into a more modest budget.

    I can understand that some Putnam residents would be upset and confused by much of the misinformation regarding this project and I can understand their concern when they are unaware of the correct facts. That said, it astonishing to me that even when the facts are clearly stated some still choose to surface negativity, creating issues that do not exist. This only leads me to believe that there may be other factors, such as total opposition to the developer and the entire project. I for one would welcome the chance to see an abandoned property in my neighborhood be brought back to life.

    Anyone who has questions can attend the Physical Committee Meeting or call the legislative office and I would be happy to provide the facts in detail.

    At this point, I would like to point out that I stand corrected on statements I made at recent meetings. The first is that the lease was signed. The lease was in fact only approved by the legislature at that point. The second statement I made was about the square footage of this project. I did not recall at the time, however, when I checked my records, I found that 3,000 square feet was initially discussed based on the size of the area we occupy now. It was determined quickly that 6,000 to 7,000 square feet was necessary and that has been our direction during the last few years.

    There was much discussion about purchasing a site over the last three years. This came up again at a recent legislative meeting. I have always been receptive to purchasing a site under the right circumstances. No such site, however, has ever been offered or identified that would accommodate this type of center. Keep in mind that interior build-out of an existing structure is expensive. If you add a building, site work and approvals to the equation you could easily be in range of $3 million to $5 million or more. That building would also require maintenance, updates and continuous care over its useful life. A County-owned structure would pay no tax. This center will have an initial total cost of about a third of what the other senior centers cost us. For these and other reasons owning for the County is not necessarily as advantageous as many assume.

    Approximately 25 percent of Putnam residents are over the age of 60 and our senior population continues to grow rapidly as the Boomer Generation advances in age. This Senior Center has the potential to address the needs of this important population for the next 25 years. I thank the developer for offering it to us and accommodating the many changes. I also want thank all of those who have been instrumental in bringing this project to a point where it can move forward including the legislators who supported this, especially legislator Barbara Scuccimarra for her endless effort.

    • Legislator Albano, we appreciate your interaction now and information in this format. I am still not clear on your understanding of how the taxes work in this triple-net leasing agreement. In fact, the $29,000 in taxes that you state is the County’s fair share of the property tax bill (your pro-rata share for 6,000 square feet in a triple-net lease) actually supports the understanding that you are in fact committing to paying 52 percent of the entire parcel. 

      You are taking 6,000 square feet in a project with a total Gross Leasable Area of 42,500 square feet. So you are taking 14 percent of the Gross Leasable Area. That is your pro-rata share for bills that come in. Triple-net leasing is that that base rent is net of (does not include) 1) Property taxes 2) Common Area Maintenance (CAM) 3) Insurance. So when any bill comes in you pay your pro-rata share. You have the CAM pro-rata share right in the lease for 14 percent. So when maintenance bills (snow removal, landscaping etc) come in you pay 14 percent of all CAM bills. That is how your lease will be administered by the landlord. The property taxes should be handled the same way: by agreeing to a 14 percent pro-rata share of a 42,500 square foot project.

      So how do you explain that the CAM share is 14 percent, but the property tax share is a different, much larger parentage at 52 percent? Further, how do you believe the property tax pass-through to you as tenant will be administered? The 42,500 square foot, mixed-use project will get one tax bill. The only subdivision that was already done was for the three single-family residential lots, leaving 5.17 acres on the tax rolls for the mixed-use condo and commercial space of which you are leasing 6,000 square feet. So I am at a loss of how you believe that there will be a way to determine what 52 percent share of just the Lahey Pavilion property tax will be? Further, how the Landlord will accurately administer this when he passes this through to you?

      If you review the tax records, you will see that the full tax burden on the parcel as assessed is now approximately $60,000. That includes all municipalities and school tax. As taxes are paid in arrears, this tax burden is based on the assessment of the full parcel including the now demolished hospital. It will of course be reassessed when there is a Certificate of Occupancy for the new medical offices. It should be expected that the taxes will go up considerably as the new Medical Building will be of much greater market value than the demolished hospital. The taxes will continue to go up as the other buildings and landscaping is completed. So you want to be absolutely certain and covered in your lease that you are only committing to 52 percent of the Lahey Pavilion if, in fact, that can even be administered with a separate assessment and tax bill for just the Lahey Pavilion.

      As the parcel stands right now, that will not happen. So you place the taxpayer at risk to agree to 52 percent of anything. It would be a far better financial arrangement for the taxpayer for the Legislature to ensure the lease specify the correct pro-rata share of property taxes as is specified for CAM at 14 percent, not 52 percent. That way there should be no confusion and can be no challenge to the proper administration of the property tax pass-through charge.

  4. Chair Albano states: “We did consider some of the special features in the build-out, such as a fireplace and teaching kitchen based on input of the parties [Roger and Beth Ailes] that were making the $500,000 charitable donation. Now that that offer has been rescinded we have scaled back the scope of work to fit into a more modest budget.”

    If we are to believe your comments here, Mr. Albano, please make your re-scoped budget and floor plans available to the public. As of the Legislature’s Sept. 6 meeting, the budget and floor plans included in the Legislature’s backup documents still reflect the Ailes-defined scope, budget and design. The public record seems to indicate that you and your colleagues are forging ahead with a lease based on a now-inaccurate plans.

    I hope the Legislators would have re-scoped this project to a more modest plan serving the needs of our seniors at a price we constituents can afford. That’s the fiscally-responsible thing to do, and certainly part of the elected body’s fiduciary responsibility. But so far, such a revised plan has not been made public. When have you had time to do this re-scoping, since you forged ahead with the lease immediately after the Ailes money was withdrawn? Where did these discussions take place and why were they not public, or at least minutes of the discussions made public? Did you have a quorum of the Physical Services Committee when you did this re-scoping? Did you have the participation of local stakeholders, like programming staff from our Rec Center (the folks who currently — and laudably — run our senior trips, events and exercise classes)? Are the re-scoped budget and design ones you feel are fiscally responsible? Do you feel sufficiently confident in and proud of your work to share it with the public?

  5. Legislator Albano has written courteously and well here. I hope he will be willing and able to discuss certain specifics: the fate of the stairways, the cost of the fireplace, the Wi-fi and the kitchen. I would welcome assurances that the final specifications and costs will be reasonable.

  6. I would like to acknowledge Legislator Albano’s thoughtful explanation regarding the proposed senior center. There was a lot of information that I certainly didn’t know about until I read his letter. This project is going to affect every taxpayer in Putnam, just as the other senior centers did that were built previously.

    I really wish that before the Putnam Valley center was built, we had this kind of interest from the townspeople instead of just seeing a fait accompli. To be honest, I still don’t know to this day all of the costs that were/are involved with that project, but after seeing this Butterfield deal, I’m almost afraid to find out. It does seem that when the County is involved, money is no object.

  7. Nothing in the recent news, arguments and counter-arguments changes the fact that the Philipstown Senior Center in Cold Spring, New York, as it has been proposed, is and always has been a trophy project for some (the seniors? a select few personalities?), and an obvious white elephant and financial dead-weight for many others (the taxpayers of the county, the town and the village). Despite the tireless efforts of a relative small number of investigators, many, too many in the county are still blind to this fact.

    That the county is arguing it’s actually a feature for it to be covering its own county property taxes in this transaction should be enough to indicate something is wrong in the thinking here. County services should be provided by and in county-owned facilities. That would be most simple. And tax free! Taxes are already too high for everyone, the county included. The cross-taxation argument is no more advisable or fruitful today than a similar argument made long ago of how Peter needed to be robbed in order to pay Paul.

    The fact that the county has not been able to identify suitable non-taxed property for use in providing services shows that it’s not really interested in doing so. Fiscally irresponsibility rebounds in our county government.

    For less than the money proposed the county could easily purchase and develop a property which it would own outright at the beginning and at the end of any 15-year lease term. Real estate in Cold Spring is at an exceptional premium. However, this facility, intended to serve all of Philipstown, need not be located in Cold Spring! Nearby would make sense, of course. I doubt however that much more than 3,000 square feet of indoor space is needed. By the way prefab construction is a low-cost option and particularly easy and rapid when used outside of historic districts.

  8. Mr. Albano, welcome to the lively dialogue! I am surprised and pleased to see you here. We often go to see you in Carmel, send you letters, and reach out. This is the first time I have seen you responding.

    You may remember my name. I am one of Barbara Scuccimarra’s livid constituents. Why am I angry? Well, for starters, she doesn’t seem to want to hear from us. I wrote a letter this week and it was blocked from being read or acknowledged. Ouch. That hurts. Her “endless” efforts are laughable and have resulted in distrusting constituents. Who was she calling in this week’s meeting? Why did she not want to hear from Kelly House, a constituent from District 1? What was she hiding? Again, we have been asking for transparency. Her actions are about as opaque as can be.

    You are discouraged that, “the majority of the complaints about this well-intentioned County project come from residents in the very area it is designed to serve. Fortunately, it is a small minority.” Having been one of the administrators of the two petitions that collected names of Putnam County residents who were concerned about how the Ailes — oops! — I mean Butterfield Senior Center plans were coming along, I can tell you that we are not a small minority. And, why wouldn’t the people living side-by-side to the project rise up and check your work to be sure it is a success?

    You have acknowledged some missteps. Now, it is time for you and your cohort to pause, take a step back and make sure you understand the knotted paper trail in your wake. I am bewildered, and, based on what I have witnessed, I think you are as well. The design of this center must be made public. It should reflect careful thought to how it will be used. It should be flexible for uses unknown presently. The design should enlist the experience of the Recreation Center folks. Hand-me-down plans revised many times over and pushed by Barbara Scuccimarra does not exactly engender confidence.

    Neighbors have outlined excellent, specific places where the lease can improve to the benefit of seniors and taxpayers. Just a little softening on your part will go a long way to make this project happen. Show your work, make your reasoning clear, spend our money wisely, and have a plan.

    Our outcry has had an effect. You have been made accountable.

  9. Responding to Frank Haggerty: I am very much reminded about the rent vs. own argument as it played out in Putnam Valley regarding our high school which was built in 1997. For many years we did not have our own high school and we paid tuition to nearby schools in Westchester for our students to attend. At one time, back in the 1960s, parents had the choice of a number of different places to send their kids, including Peekskill, Mahopac, Lakeland, etc.

    It ended up that our nearest district, Lakeland, wanted to have all of our students for a number of reasons, including the tuition money. In fact, they had built Walter Panas high school specifically for the Putnam Valley students because they had such low enrollment in their district. It was a fantastic deal. I think in the years before the PVHS was built we were paying them $5,000 per student in tuition which was cheaper than it cost us for elementary and junior high students in the PV District. Not only that, but we only paid for the students we sent. Our taxes went down when enrollment was low.

    However, our town was split. There was a faction that desperately wanted their own high school, regardless of the cost. They made the same argument: that it was better to own than to rent, which in this case was demonstrably untrue!

    After yet another Civil War-type battle and two referendums, the town narrowly voted to construct the white elephant that is today known as the PVHS. Contrary to what we were told before the vote, our school taxes quadrupled and many of those people who wanted the new high school were forced out of town. The truth is that we never really recovered and we now have a budget in excess of $48 million a year in a town that has zero commercial tax base.

    So, is it true that it’s better to own than to rent? Not necessarily when the government is calling the shots.

    • The question you pose is a vital one and I am sorry I have not been in a position to respond till now. Even now I cannot at this time provide a response with a level of comprehensiveness the question deserves. That would take more time and space and probably a different type of forum.

      I can say this: essentially no path is guaranteed to be entirely error-free or fault-free. Much stems from the inherent limitations of the democratic process itself. What comes from that process which is commonly termed (mass) democracy is more often than not a governing body subverted to the interests of powerful and well-organized elites. It may at times instead be subverted to an organized majority, or more commonly no more than a plurality, in the form of a coalition of seemingly unrelated special interests. Rarely is it true that the interests of the public at large are met or followed.

      Unfortunately I am unable at this time to explain in greater depth. It may suffice for now to summarize that the currently accepted mantra of a “winner takes all” consequence in the results of elections inherently involves an unnecessary and an unjust concentration of political legitimacy and power. The result is increasingly detrimental if not hazardous for the populace at large as the size of the electoral jurisdiction or district increases.

  10. In all the reporting over these many years I was most surprised to read “Really, Dini? Really? You make me sick.” If I had not listened to the meeting audio, I would still question the accuracy of this quote from Legislator Scuccimarra. The only apparent provocation was simply that Legislator LoBue was voting against Scuccimarra on process.

    There are warning signs and there are warning signs, and then there is this verbal assault on Legislator LoBue by Legislator Scuccimarra. It has a visceral intimacy and charge that one would more expect at family holiday dinner tables and sorority elections than a local government lease vote. So what makes a senior legislator behave in this unprofessional and desperate manner? What pressures are they working under that could possibly explain this? Based upon her behavior, this appears to be much more to Legislator Scuccimarra than a leasing transaction to get the seniors the expanded and upgraded facility they deserve. There is something very wrong here.

    We deserve better representation in District 1 and Legislator LoBue deserves a formal apology from our Legislator Scuccimarra. We are all flawed and cannot always be our best selves, but we should acknowledge when we fall so short.

  11. Perhaps we should all write to the legislators to ask that they bring a large printout of the updated floor plan to display at the Oct. 4 meeting. They should be prepared to discuss and explain it, as well as the updated and accurate renovation budget. And before they finally sign the Butterfield lease, they should accept any remaining input from the public.

  12. I would agree with Matt. Rep. Scuccimarra’s conduct in the last few weeks is unbecoming a legislator; the most recent outburst at Legislator LoBue is only the most dramatic display. But there are five other legislators who are also behaving badly: Chair Nacerino and members Albano, Castellano, Addonizio and Gouldman. That bad behavior ranges from apparently concerted efforts to limit public participation, seemingly purposeful withholding of public documents and obfuscation of facts, and what reads as a willful avoidance of critical thinking. I’m grateful to Legislators LoBue, Gross and Wright for continuing to try to pull back the curtain on the legislature’s dealings with the Butterfield developer and to force the Legislator and County Executive to follow the rule of law. All of this raises important questions about what we are witnessing:

    * What kind of pressure is being placed on our local officials to make them behave as they are — urgently, with no transparency, with little regard for the financial concerns of their constituents, and with so little composure?
    * Who is placing that pressure on our Legislators?
    * Why does the source of that pressure have so much more influence than constituents?

    Since Mr. Albano seems more eager now to provide “facts” to the public, perhaps he might address these questions as well.

    • As someone who has spent many years dealing with County politicians of every stripe, I can tell you that what you are seeing with the Butterfield fiasco is not the exception to the way it works. It is the rule. Once these legislators get elected to their part-time, no-show jobs, it becomes nearly impossible to get any sort of response from them. The County is probably the least transparent bureaucracy in our local government. What happens in Carmel, stays in Carmel.

      They don’t return phone calls or emails. And that goes for everyone from the County Exec on down. If nothing else, the outcry from Cold Spring and Philipstown about the Senior Center should be a wake-up call. Let’s see if it has any long-lasting effect once it’s over.

      • The first fiasco was the total chaos of converting from a board of supervisors to this joke of a county legislature. When the county was smaller than it is today. The costs went through the roof.

        You think this is new? Wow, you should read Putnam County history. Years ago, New York City gave the county millions to protect their water supply in this county from seepage from old septic systems. Of course, all the systems were in every town except Philipstown. And what did they do with the money? Glad you asked. They bought a golf course (which hasn’t made a penny since) and an “airport” in Mahopac, and a horse farm. Goodbye stipend. Then, of course, the fiasco with the transportation director: another patronage plum — and not one bus trip for seniors, or anyone else. Every department head earns (and I use the term loosely) over $100,000, in a county with fewer than 100,000 people. And a budget of over $125 million.

        So this is nothing new! And these are just the highlights.

  13. Let’s keep asking them to make their case. For example, how does the Butterfield lease compare to leases on similar properties in our area? Is it the same price, more expensive, less expensive? How is it more advantageous, in their eyes, to pay real estate tax and direct a portion of that tax to local purposes, such as Haldane, than to own a property and pay no tax on it? Let’s ask them to explain themselves patiently and clearly, with accurate and up-to-date information.

  14. So what is the bottom line now? A lot of information has been presented on both sides. It looks like there is no real cost-effective solution, that is, building something for the seniors that would make economic sense if it’s done by the county government.

    Certainly there’s been a lack of creativity when it comes to solving the problem. By that I mean, it seems like you could buy a lot of house for $1.2 million or whatever the final cost will be. There was/are some spectacular properties for sale in the area. Imagine buying one of them for the seniors to use. For a million bucks you can get a place with every amenity. What would be wrong with that?

    With the exception of Mr. Albano, what do any of these legislators know about running a successful business, particularly construction? Have any of them ever built, owned or rented commercial property? Are any of them architects, engineers or builders? Have any of them ever overseen or brought in a project of this size, on time and within the budget? I think not.

    The senior center has been an issue for decades and they still can’t figure it out. It’s not just the current crew of politicians and bureaucrats, it’s their predecessors as well. That’s what’s a disgrace. And yet they keep getting elected, somehow.

    Here’s the truth about our legislators — a really practical, cost-effective solution was never on the table. Instead, the sky’s the limit when it comes to this project. It’s always so easy to spend other people’s money.

  15. One half of $60,000 is $30,000. 30,000 is 50 percent of 60,000. I need to remind myself of this while reading Mr. Albano’s comment.

    Total taxes for the entire Butterfield parcel are $60K. Taxpayers will owe $30K. The contract can say that 50 percent is attributable only to Lahey, it can say that it’s attributable to the Tots’ Park if they want, but it can’t change the fact that the 30K of which we’re responsible is half of the total 60K bill. Mr. Albano’s argument seems to be that we should ignore the math and simply believe the self-contradictory language of the contract.

    It’s gratifying to see Stephanie Hawkins’ analysis lauded above. Let’s remember that she was the single dissenting vote to the B4A amendment because even back then she saw things that didn’t add up. Let’s also remember, non-coincidentally, the systematic attacks on her by the other paper every week, the phony scandals that sadly many of our neighbors bought into, and the frivolous lawsuit threats by the Ailes, all designed to shut her up.

    Another pro-senior, pro-taxpayer public servant with similar knowledge of what a commercial lease is supposed to look like, or an entire development for that matter, is Matt Francisco. He was similarly maligned by the paper and saw similar frivolous legal threats. Does anyone notice a trend?