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The following letter appears in the 1/9/14 edition of THE GAZETTE; it is from Joel Gingold, is re-printed with permission and is very much worth your time. Important additional information links are provided at the end of the letter.
January 2, 2014
To the Editor,
Shortly before Christmas, I saw a
news article that offers some perspective on the Village Board’s obsession to
acquire the Gouveia property.
It seems that back in 2000,
Westchester County executed an agreement with Henriette Suhr of Chappaqua in
which Ms. Suhr donated her 13-acre private garden, Rocky Hill, to the county
along with an endowment of $500,000. The
property was to transfer to the county, and become a public park, on Ms. Suhr’s
death. However, last month the county
terminated the agreement citing the high cost of maintaining the property.
While there are parallels to the
pending Gouveia agreement, there are some very significant differences. Ms.
Suhr did not ask for a tax exemption during her lifetime, nor did she demand
the right to live on the property after the county took title. Ms. Suhr is 97, which is an indication of how
long Croton might have to wait before it has full control of the Gouveia
property (Ms. Gouveia is 71).
The county obviously did a real
cost-benefit analysis (not a phony analysis as was performed by the Village
Board on Gouveia) and concluded that it could not afford to properly maintain
the land. So rather than burden the
taxpayers with these costs, it withdrew from the agreement. Is there a lesson here for Croton?
Ms. Suhr is now looking for
another organization to accept and maintain the property. Maybe the mysterious religious organization
that wanted Gouveia will take it. Or
better, Croton can continue its program of open space acquisition and add Rocky
Hill to the Village’s inventory. It
would not result in any tax loss to the Village and so what if it’s in
Chappaqua. You have to drive to get to
Gouveia, so why not spend a few more minutes on the road and visit Rocky
Hill. To justify the acquisition, I’m
sure the Board can conjure up a cost-benefit analysis that will show that accepting
the Suhr property will result in a net profit to the Village.
Joel E. Gingold
PAUL STEINBERG ALSO HAD A LETTER IN THE PAPER http://everythingcroton.blogspot.com/2014/01/paul-steinberg-gouveia-letter-1914.html
You may also have an interest in http://www.everythingcroton.blogspot.com/2013/12/top-five-most-read-2013-gouveia.html