Saturday, August 10, 2013


Welcome to Everything Croton, a collection of all things Croton--our history, our homes, our issues, our businesses, our schools--in short, EVERYTHING CROTON.

8/6/13-8/14 GAZETTE, ROBERT WINTERMEIER ON THE GOUVEIA PROPERTY DEAL, LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Pay particular attention to the section below highlighted in RED on who will pay the taxes if waivers from the town, school, and county are not granted.  

You may also have an interest in Joel Gingold's recent letter as well:

To the editor:

Over the past few weeks, concerned Croton taxpayers have voiced their opposition to the acquisition of the Gouveia property for many reasons including questions concerning its usage, HAZMAT removal, setting a precedent for other property owners, the impact on taxes, and the cost to maintain, repair and improve the estate.

Despite Trustee Gallelli’s admonition at the last Board meeting that our lawyers advised the Village not to discuss ongoing negotiations between them and Ms. Gouveia’s lawyers, our Village Manager, Abe Zambrano, showed up 4 days later at a Senior Citizen meeting to promote the venture and answer the seniors’ concerns about the Board’s plans.  As though we don’t have enough Village unused property, Mr. Zambrano advised them that the Board plans to use the Gouveia property for more Open Space but gave no specifics.  

Regarding costs, a certified financial planner and I spent about 20 minutes coming up with a rough Return on Investment (ROI) cost analysis that took several financial factors into account such as lost taxes, inflation, repairs, maintenance, security, interest on Ms. Gouveia’s million dollar donation, etc.  Our analysis was very informal, but the result was a conservative loss of about $85,315 annually.  At this rate, the additional million dollar Gouveia gift will be gone in 12 years or less.  Then what?  

Our analysis did not address the additional cost to build/repair roads, sidewalks and a parking lot, fence the property, install restrooms and sanitary facilities, etc.  In addition, I don’t think we can disrupt this property until she moves or dies. Also, I’m not sure how much access we will have to the property while she is there.  This is just another cash cow to waste our tax dollars on more studies and contractors. 

By comparison, our Village Trustees approved a $10,000 study of the Gouveia property with an engineering firm that did not include even a simple ROI analysis.  They produced a 148 page document that identified several potential environmental problems but ignored the costs to remedy them.  I am unaware of any study done by the Board to address these and other costs that will be associated with transforming this private property into public space.  That is key to a final decision.

Even more disturbing to me is the information I received from a Town official who stated that if the School, Town and County do not grant tax waivers to Ms. Gouveia, Croton taxpayers must pay her School ($19,180) and Town/County ($4,135) taxes in addition to her forgiven Village taxes ($17,000).   So far, the Town has stated they do not intend to participate in this venture and it’s unclear if the County even knows about the risky deal.

Based on cost alone, this acquisition is a bad deal.  I hope the Village Board will come to their senses and tell Mrs. Gouveia “thanks but no thanks” for her offer.

Taxpayers should be sure to make their opinions known at the next Board meeting or in the Gazette.  It’s your tax money.  See that it is well spent.

Robert Wintermeier

1 comment:

  1. Don't the schools also have to okay any pilots or less taxes for affordable housing? I seem to recall their waiver was needed for Symphony Knoll.