Comments by birmy
Posted on August 6 at 8:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)
Bentia Zahn and Bill Lambdin stated on news tonight that Joe Bruno is 84. Based on the responses I believe this is a game changer.
Posted on July 23 at 7:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)
The taxes are so high in Schenectady that the homes go for a discount as illustrated above. The problem is the taxes are high everywhere in Capital Region. We can say Latham has low taxes but the reality is it is not that much lower than other municipalities and obviously high compared to other states. And the homes in Latham cost a lot of money on the whole and therefore assessed higher in addition to fact that you are paying upfront for the low taxes in part.
I don't know enough about the $500,000 referred to in article but the company seems like they used leverage making it seem like they would not build apartments unless that got money to demolish the homes. Seems like they would of worked that out prior to buying the properties. There is a price for economic development!
Posted on July 20 at 3:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)
I read the homebuilder accepted the cash. $375,000 or so in bag. It is tougher to take out a loan these days...
Posted on July 12 at 3:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)
The BMX bicycle idea could give the writer of The Pines movie an idea for a sequel? More local non-actors could get big speaking role parts too!
Posted on July 8 at 7:12 a.m. (Suggest removal)
Regardless of color when students act up in the classroom or commit infractions they get "ejected from the room" and subsequently administered a punishment such as a suspension. If you want equity in suspensions you might need equity in behavior.
Posted on June 14 at 11:08 a.m. (Suggest removal)
If you own a $300,000 assessed him in Niskayuna you would pay about $8,000 a year in taxes. If we go to the income tax the questions is at what threshold would the owner of that home meet their current tax liability? So if the owner of the home makes $100,000 a year would you like the income tax (now adjusted to account for elimination of property taxes) to be $8,000 extra above and beyond what they pay to state and federal govt.? So every $100,000 the owner pays $8,000 extra in income tax? The point is there will always be winners and losers in this equation. The taxpayers do not vote on fire, police and state worker contracts. It is your personal opinion if you feel we get great value for the taxes paid to support those public positions. You do have a say with school budgets by voting. It sounds like since we cannot get many people to vote for school budgets for whatever reason we need to change how we do it and not have a say like other public worker jobs. Schools are not means tested. If you don't own a car you still pay taxes to fund road repair. Everyone pays to fund schools.
Posted on June 9 at 7:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)
Elizabeth Lynam, vice president and director of state studies for the CBC, stated “Even in this era of budget cuts, we’ve managed to increase education spending,” she said, adding that how school aid is distributed is “a very rich topic.”
Her statement is misleading. State aid levels are lower than they were 4 years ago. So if you punch someone in the stomach and take $50 and then give them back $30 over a period of 4 years it seems disingenuous to state we've increased education spending. While a technically accurate statement that she said it is very misleading. Don't you think?
In 1991 a family health insurance plan was $2,000. It is now $15,000-$18,000. Do we blame the teachers for maintaining quality insurance or do we blame the health insurance industry? NYS pensions are expensive and that is why new teachers under Tier 6 will work until they are 63 and pay 49% of all the costs associated with their defined benefit. Do state, city, county workers, police and fire get the same pension? For the most part YES!
Teachers in NYS have a high per pupil spending amount but the article did not detail why? Do we have more teachers in NYS than other states? Do we have more administrators? Do we have more transportation costs? Is the pension the #1 determinant in why NYS costs more? Why are we $2,600 more per pupil than NJ? Do we have more school building projects? 50 million here and 50 million there?
I know teachers cannot abuse overtime as I have written before. Teachers cannot earn more than 10% of their base salary doing the chess club or coaching. So we know overtime is not the reason. Is the reason that we have close to 900 school districts? You would not know by reading this article.
I hear a lot of people stating how bad NYS schools are. My neighbor used to live in Alburquerque, NM. He said his taxes increased 3 fold when he came to NYS but he did not mind. He said the school system where he lived was outright awful. I think people look at the graduation rates of inner city schools and they go "gotcha, NYS schools are terrible." The graduation rate in suburban schools is great. No one has a definitive answer for inner city schools. That is why NYS schools get so much bad press. What is the answer?
Posted on May 23 at 9:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)
How can kids walk to some of the schools? There are no sidewalks. The cost of a sidewalk varies hugely. The one from Kinderhook to Valatie, about half a mile costs $1 million. Hard to figure why it costs so much. I suppose a concrete narrow sidewalk would run
$100 to $300 a lineal foot. That includes engineering. Where the costs run higher is for eminent domain, historical digs and moving utilities. You and I could put one in for next to nothing. But not so with the Town of Niskayuna and for any town that matter. I have not heard of anyone blaming the parents of Niskayuna students for their poor performance. Niskayuna students outperform most others. Niskayuna is ranked #1 school district by Capital District Business Review. If we were on a farm I believe we would give the most feed to the highest performing cows. Too bad the State of NY has not figured that one out yet. The budget was voted down I am guessing by primarily older residents who do not have kids in the district. They have every right to vote how they see fit. People who do not want Van Antwerp closed are more likely to have kids or grandkids there. Etc. Etc. Etc.
Posted on May 21 at 10:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)
Shen got millions of extra money. Shen had low tax increase. Niskayuna got next to nothing in the way of extra money from the state. Fiscal management and making taxpayers happy is easier when your legislators do more for your home district. Shen's Board of Education may be more "in touch" with greenbacks more than anything else. As long as they keep full-day kindergarten I can probably live with any cuts Niskayuna makes. I believe 2 school districts in the entire Capital Region do not have full-day Kindergarten. Let's hope we are not the 3rd. We are the #1 rated school district in the area. If we owned a farm would we give less feed to the highest performing cow?
Posted on May 15 at 8:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)
Your original post insinuated that police and fire are somehow getting bashed more so than teachers and state workers. I would love for their to be a study on how many "negative" articles if you want to call it that have been published over the last year and I have to believe the vast majority have been on teachers. Sure - once a year we see the highest paid employees in the cities and of course it is always police and fireman because they are eligible for overtime and earn 50% more than their base salaries in many cases. Is that a negative article? I guess no more negative than showing city school students underperforming their suburban counterparts. But the vast majority of negative articles IMO has been about teachers. Never suburban teachers. They seem to be doing well. Lots of articles bashing city school teachers. Somehow they must not be as good as suburban teachers.
Everyone can be mad at what teachers make. But your original post insinuated that teachers cost the state a lot more money than police and fire. In absolute terms a wholly true statement. But when we peel back the onion it does not pass the smell test. Everyone knows as valuable a service as police and fire provides they cost the state far more per employee than the per employee teacher cost. In fact in terms of pension costs 50% more per employee this upcoming year. Since at least 1983 teachers have not been able to use more than 10% of their extra pay (chess club, coaching) towards their final average salary for pension purposes. That has not been so with police and fire. That is why they are always the highest paid employees year in and year out in the city as overtime counts for their pension. It is not for me to decide if that is right or not. It is the way it is. But we shouldn't make it seem like teachers are raking it in more so than police and fire. They are not even in the same ballpark. And because police and fire risk their lives maybe they should be. I think teachers earn their pennies too. 60% of teachers quit teaching within the first 5 years so the benefits may not outweigh the stresses IMO. Why would 60% quit if it was a cake job with lots of time off? Why?