July 12, 2019
The following letter was published in this week’s issue of the Gazette.
To the editor:
In light of some misunderstanding about my letter last week, I would like to clarify: the Croton Board of Trustees is certainly within its legal authority to dispose of the Hollis Lane property, and in doing so it does not have to accept the highest price. It also has broad discretion in the manner of sale.
However the State Comptroller has taken the position: “Although there is no public hearing requirement in Village Law… we note that the village board is subject to the Open Meetings Law…and, therefore, board actions in connection with the sale of real property are subject to the requirements of that law” (for the full document, Google “OSC opinion 90-37”).
If the Board of Trustees takes action in a meeting which is closed to the public in violation of state law, this can subject the taxpayers of Croton to liability, and also potentially the individual trustees in their personal capacities unless they dissented from the decision to enter into “Executive Session.”
If you stand in the middle of Grand Street with a megaphone and shout that you are contemplating putting your house on the market, the publicity does not “substantially affect the value” of your house. Nor would it “substantially affect the value” of a lot on Hollis Lane if the Croton Board of Trustees openly discussed selling that lot. READ MORE HERE.