Comments by ronzo
Posted on January 23 at 7:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)
sparkling: you keep affirming what I keep saying - people would rather pay the high property taxes in NY in order to keep their small town, village or school district. That may be OK for you, but I'm guessing it's not for the majority of New Yorkers who seem to speak loudly about the unaffordability of living here. The exception is that they are not willing to do anything about it but complain. And for people like me who have experienced living in other states, where a sense of community is very present without all those multi-layers of local government, it's difficult to understand why New Yorkers are the way they are about the subject.
Corporations merge to obtain savings by eliminating duplication and replication. I know that governments are not corporations per se, but the principles of consolidation and benefits apply. It's been proven over and over in other states where cities are merging with counties like in Kentucky, Indiana, Georgia and others.
I understand that the Village of Scotia has some of the highest property taxes in the Capital Region. If that's what you want and like, I guess that's up to you. I am not willing to pay these high taxes. I'm just saying that's not for me and I've tried in many ways to get people interested in changing the system, to no avail. I guess that's what makes us different. I do not need to see a town hall building with a sign on it to give me sense of community where I live. What makes me feel no sense of community is annually getting the egregious property and school tax bills. That turns me off completely about the New York system of local government. And I do not blame the State for that. They're trying to affect change. It's the locals who want it that way. And the irony to me is that in most upstate suburban towns and villages, the people who govern are from the party that is allegedly against big government. But they are the sponsors of enlarging local government. And the governor is of the party of allegedly big government and he's trying to entice the locals with cash to reduce their size of government. That the paradox.
Posted on January 22 at 1:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)
sparkling: not sure you got the jist of my message. What does the identity of a location have to do with who or what governs that location? What do parades, fire works and other public events have to do with a village government? Why is it important for someone to personally know a municipal employee? The Governor and State does offer to give to local towns, villages and school districts millions of dollars of support for them to consolidate and merge. So far there's not too many takers. Small government is more accountable. The question is, how much are you willing to pay for those multiple levels of very small local government?
I do not know anything about your specific local politics between the two individuals you speak about.
How do you actually know that merging governments in the state will not realize savings to the taxpayers? And how can you guarantee that the property taxes will not go down? Here's what I know coming from outside New York.
New York is the only state where I have lived that has other than cities, these multiple levels of local government - multiple towns, villages, school districts within a county. Each entity does the same thing - courts, clerk, highway department, tax collection, police and fire service, school districts, etc. redundantly in their own small way, each with their own bureaucracy and staffs replicated many times within that county. And I can unequivocally say that my property taxes (plus school tax) here are the very highest I've paid anywhere by a lot. This is the only state I've lived that has school taxes.
You sound like the person I spoke of earlier. You do not mind paying the high taxes if you can keep the identity of your small local government. And I believe that you speak for the majority of upstate New Yorkers.
Posted on January 22 at 9:56 a.m. (Suggest removal)
So the mayor says that the village does not want a combined municipal building. Or does he mean that HE doesn't want that. The other guys says - “We don’t want to sacrifice our identity 100 percent for cost...".
What constitutes the identity of where you live? Is it your neighborhood? Is it a sign that welcomes you to that place? Is it a sign on a building? Is it your tax bill? Is it your zip code? Or is it something else.
Why can't you have a feeling of identity where you live by just the name of the place where you live? That's the way it is in most states. Why does the name for that area have to include a local government? Why can't a county in New York have "sections" called e.g.- Glenville, Scotia, Niskayuna, Rotterdam, Duanesburg, Princetown, Delanson, Ballston, Malta, Halfmoon, etc. plus a city or cities within that county like in most other states? Why does the name have to also be associated with a local government?
New York does have place identities within a county that don't include a local government and people are OK with that. Here they're called Burnt Hills, Alplaus, Jonesville, Ballston Lake, Elnora, Crescent and others. When you ask someone where they live they'll say Burnt Hills. Why don't they say they live in Glenville or Ballston since Burnt Hills is in both towns? Because Burnt Hills is their identity.
So what's the answer to all this? It's the hypocrisy. People believe that in order to have an identity to the place where they live, it has to have a "town hall" or some other government institution with all its amenities and they are willing to pay for that in high property taxes to support that government. But they'll blame everyone but themselves for the high property taxes that they're willing to pay. Additionally, every May they'll vote themselves a property tax increase to keep their school district identity and also blame the State and everyone else for their decision to raise their own taxes.
That mayor wants the new building because he wants "his" village hall. That's his perceived power and it supports his ego. To share that building that satisfies his ego with someone else is out of the question.
So in the end, you can report on this all you want, but the chances of any change happening here in New York regarding the administration of local government is zero until more people leave the state eroding the tax base even more and the ones left are so broke that they'll have no choice but to accept change. I hope I'm wrong.
Posted on January 16 at 8:29 a.m. (Suggest removal)
Of course it would be out of the question to combine the village and town into one municipality and build one government center. This is an example of why New Yorkers do not mind paying the property taxes that they do. The people don't care about the cost of gov't as long as they can have their little town or village. If the people really wanted lower taxes they'd do something about it instead of continuously rejecting the State's offer of millions of $$$ to consolidate and merge local municipalities plus let municipal leaders like the ones in Scotia and Glenville pile on more cost that lead to higher property taxes.
Posted on January 7 at 9:13 a.m. (Suggest removal)
Johnny: The upstate vs. downstate thinking regarding the economy of New York State was probably true in the '70s when New York City was bailed out by the State as it teetered on bankruptcy. That is no longer true. The economic engine that powered upstate New York is now in the Sunbelt. NYC and the 10 counties that make up "downstate" now power the economy of the state. Be careful what you wish for. If you take NYC away from the rest of the state, you'll have to erect new welcome signs at the Upstate New York border that states: Welcome to Northern Mississippi.
Posted on December 2 at 7:24 a.m. (Suggest removal)
It's also possible that the decline is due to more people doing what we do. Many years ago we and those who we gifted quit the holiday and special occasion (birthdays etc.) gift giving and donate whatever we would spend on gifts to a local charity. The exception is now with two grand children we limit them to two gifts each, purchased before October 1, but to no one else. It feels better to give to those who need than to those who don't.
Posted on November 20 at 7:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)
I moved to NY from New Mexico where state legislators are "citizen legislators" who get $0 salary. They do get an expense per-diem during the legislative session that occurs for 30 days in even numbered years and 60 days in odd numbered years. They always pass the budget on time and get the state's business done during the session because they want to get back to their jobs and businesses so they can earn a living. Also there's term limits for governor. Sure they may have less issues than a New York, but they actually "serve" the people, and do so very effectively. $79,000 salary for these people in NY is government sponsored larceny.
Posted on June 16 at 6:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)
Your opinions are very accurate, especially the one that states "lawmakers can begin their long, inevitable march toward almost-certain re-election". And therein lies the fact, or the problem, if you don't like what goes on at the Capital. Most New Yorkers who vote, like what they have in state elected government. They continuously re-elect the same people. Those who don't vote probably don't care one way or another. So what's the conclusion? People like what they have at the Capital. If they didn't they'd do something about it. As long as the people who vote, and they are the ones who decide, want what's in the Legislature, your editorials and opinions, while factual, don't mean anything to the person who casts their ballot. So you might as well save your ink and newsprint because it's just a few like you (and me) who actually care about this subject and there are fewer who are willing to do something about it. Of course, term limits would be out of the question for most New Yorkers because it might change the status quo at the Capital. New York is an unusual state this way. People vote for an incumbent umpteen times, then complain about the politicians. People continuously vote themselves property tax increases, then complain about New York taxes. It's an interesting paradox.
Posted on May 17 at 11:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)
James: Why do school boards come up with these egregious spending increases? Because through history, the odds are that the taxpayers (the ones who vote) have proven that they will have no problem voting themselves a tax increase. The school boards know it and don't need to go any further to control spending. They blame everyone but themselves for why spending must increase, and they get away with it because most people don't challenge their decisions. Those who do are thought of as the perennial complainers and generally ignored. The tax cap is a joke, as is most of the other phony rhetoric from the politicians about school spending and cost to taxpayers. The ones who complain the most are the ones who can least afford the taxes, but are over-ruled by those who don't mind paying the taxes, and by those who just don't care one way or another. The problem will not be addressed until the majority of taxpayers want change. Until then......
Posted on April 24 at 12:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)
James Bell: There's one important fact that you left out. The bill stipulates that the retailer keeps the 10 cent fee, not the city. This is not a cash-raising scheme by the city government. If the city received the money it would be a tax. This is not a tax. It is intended to reduce the cost of handling these bags by discouraging their use. Many other cities and states have enacted this exact legislation.