from April 27, 2006)
In Curt Schoeberl’s letter of 3-13-06, he claimed that
he and co-drafter Todd Wiley explained the merits of the Large
Parcel Bill to Senator Larkin when seeking his sponsorship.
He emphatically insisted that the language of the bill included
“reservoirs” and that Sen. Larkin knew that it included
reservoirs. In fact, the bill describes “large utilities
companies or research and manufacturing facilities”. Reservoirs
are not mentioned.
In his letter to Town of Olive counsel Smith, Sen. Larkin states:
“The Law was not intended to apply to reservoirs, particularly
where there are no wild swings in value from year to year. Furthermore,
it was my intention that the use of the alternate equalization
formula in the Law would be optional and used only if all affected
municipalities opted to use the large parcel equalization process.”
Given that the actual bill is very technical and somewhat unintelligible
it is not surprising that the sponsors apparently took the drafters
at their word and informed the Governor and NY Legislature via
letters and memos that it was an optional relief measure with
Home Rule Veto as a key provision. In fact, the touted Home
Rule Veto provision does not exist in the bill. Lawmakers were
never told prior to passage that the bill could be used to confiscate
50% of a small towns tax base against its will and cause the
very problems that they were told the bill would relieve.
Due to the lack of any measurement standards in the bill those
already at the proper assessment (because of a recent purchase
or renovation) unfairly suffered many thousands in increased
levy. The stated problem in Olive of parcels with outdated assessments
was not solved. The Town of Olive solved that problem by doing
a recently completed revaluation of all parcels.
Schoeberl’s claim that non-reservoir towns in the county
paid an addition 1.2 million in taxes in 2006 is absurd. All
towns in the state are assessed in their entirety. The UC Legislature
voted against confiscation of Olives tax revenue for re-distribution
to far flung towns in the county. One hundred years of development
opportunity value has been lost to Olive taxpayers. Severe restrictions
encumber the remaining 50% of our landmass. Despite these liabilities
borne by Olive, Schoeberl and others would like to confiscate
the only asset that Olive derives from the reservoir which is
the tax revenue that is lawfully due to any town within which
any property is located.
Unfortunately, it appears that the ire of thousands of residents
of reservoir towns has been misdirected at the bill sponsors
who may be due an apology.(from me, anyway.) Schoeberls letter
is simply one more indication that the drafters of the bill
are the source of the misrepresentations made to lawmakers and
Essentially, if the Town of Olive feels that the value of the
reservoir is greater than the 320 million value assigned by
NYORPS, (which is the case), the law allows half of Olives tax
base to be confiscated from Olive and distributed to the other
towns in either the county or school district. I am very saddened
by the fact that instead of figuring out how to properly value
the reservoir, our leaders and their technicians have imposed
upon us a perpetually divisive law that has caused deep rifts
and much enmity between towns within the school district and
This letter is addressed to Curt Schoebert, Assessor, Town of
Shawangunk. You should get your facts straight before you speak.
Regarding Large Parcel Bill, first of all, the reservoir in
the Town of Olive was built over 100 years ago. The reservoir
displaced many areas of Olive. Mr. Assessor, drive all around
this town, you will see where there used to be communities.
Fifty percent plus was taken for the reservoir with compensation
to the Town of Olive. The Large Parcel Law is very new, the
tax base because of fifty percent reservoir property is the
only tax base Olive has. There is nearly nothing else in Olive,
Mr. Assessor. Your comment regarding non-reservoir towns picking
up an estimated $1,200,000 in county taxes was high.
First of all Mr. Assessor, these towns are non-reservoir. Also,
why don't you write about the cost overrun of that jail? It's
a lot more than what you say non-reservoir towns picked up.
Get all the information on this tax increase, and remember these
non-reservoir towns shouldn't take away from Olive. Do you remember
what increase Olive paid when the Large Parcel Law was passed
by the Onteora School District and the County?
You should also know that Olive has the most update tax assessment
in Ulster. Our taxes will increase due to this. Also your friends
in Shandaken haven't had one in many years. They need one so
they can pay their fair share. We in Olive do.
Much has been written about the transportation situation at
Onteora, but nothing from the contractor’s point of view.
As the largest transportation contractor at Onteora, we would
like to share our perspective. There is some misinformation
about the bidding process that needs to be cleaned up.
Contrary to what some school officials would have the taxpayers
believe, the bid specifications did not contain route descriptions,
run numbers, or route summaries of any kind. In fact, this very
concern was raised by the contractors at the pre-bid meeting
on February 2 (in the
presence of trustee O’Connor) and the contractors were
told that “run descriptions were not necessary because
the runs were all going to be changed substantially and would
not be operated as presently configured.” Nor did the
bid specifications specify the number of
busses that the contractor would be required to supply - only
that the new contractor must provide however many vehiclesthe
District requires and perform any extra work that the district
requests. The bid specifications also set forth in detail a
number ofd substantial penalties related to non-performance.
Thus, the bidder was faced with bidding on a contract to provide
an unknown number of buses to travel over runs that were not
described while facing substantial penalties for non-performance.
As a contractor presently performing 28 runs in this district,
we know the district as well as anyone, and this was a task
with way too much uncertainty. Simply put, the District should
consider itself lucky that anyone was even willing to bid at
The district would like the taxpayers to believe that their
actions were necessary in the name of safety. Implicit in the
district’s position is that the contractors have been,
and are, operating in an
unsafe manner and are not in compliance with Article 19A. Nothing
could be farther from the truth. As school bus contractors we
are in compliance with 19A - it is the law. Furthermore, our
insurance carriers impose substantial additional safety requirements
and our DOT Operator Profile has been well over 96% for the
past several years. The district did not need 67 pages of bid
specifications that will now cost the taxpayers hundreds of
thousands of extra dollars to make us achieve
this! And if the new requirements to be imposed on contractors
were truly necessary for safety reasons, then why haven’t
the same requirements been imposed on the district-owned buses?
Are the children who ride on District buses not entitled to
the same level of safety?
Another justification offered by the District is that the contracts
were 20+ years old and could not be changed without a new bid
process. This is not true. We have contracts that are, in some
cases, over 20 years old and believe it or not, they are not
being operated with the
same equipment and in the exact same way as 20 years ago! Over
the life of those contracts the routes and safety requirements
were changed several times through the renewal process. The
District was able to add or delete mileage, add radios, stop
signs, yellow warning lights
and other safety devices, and in some cases combine runs, without
having to re-bid each time. The renewal process is a mechanism
adopted by the State of New York to allow local school districts
competent contractors in place without going through a costly
bidding process. Why were the incumbent contractors never even
approached to discuss renewal as a possibility? We also had
several contracts that are less than a year old. Under the District’s
rationale why did these runs need to be re-bid at significant
additional cost to the taxpayers?
When the bid results were tabulated by the District, they informed
contractors that the winning bid was $2.27 million. Yet this
amount has been presented to the taxpayers as $1.8 million.
Where did that $400,000 go? The District is now seeking voter
approval to purchase
two new vehicles when it can easily require the new contractor
to supply those vehicles under the terms of the new transportation
contract at a fraction of the cost - why?
We have served the Onteora community for 46 years, so it is
to say goodbye. We would like to thank all of you for the opportunity
to serve this wonderful community. Over the years, we have had
the pleasure of transporting three generations of OCS students.
During that time we grew from one bus to a fleet of more than
50 buses. While we
will no longer be taking your children to school, we will remain
a committted part of this community. Our roots are here and
they remain as strong as ever.
We would like to give special thanks to our drivers and employees.
are true professionals whose dedication to safety and commitment
to their community made our safety record possible. Those who
have tried to imply otherwise in order to justify the actions
taken should be ashamed. Our drivers join us in wishing the
Onteora community all the
Glenn R. Every
Arlos “Bucky” Every
Tonche Transit, Inc.
Evco Transport, Inc.
The Catholic Archdiocese of New York has recently decided to
close down St Francis deSales “Parish” located in
Northwestern Ulster County and transfer-out the attending St.
Francis deSales parish priest, also close the Boiceville, West
Shokan and Allaben mission chapels and convert the (140 person
capacity) Phoenicia St Francis Chapel to a mission chapel of
St John’s Parish, in Woodstock. This recent Archdiocese
decision will have a devastating effect on all practicing Catholic
populations of northwestern Ulster County, especially the senior
citizens. The fastest growing segment of our rural Catskill
area population is our senior citizens, many of whom are faithful
practicing Roman Catholics. These shifting Catskill Park/Watershed
population demographics truly indicate an increased need for
senior citizen social services, local medical & religious
counseling support. Not a decrease! Public transportation is
poor at best; many seniors no longer drive (at least not long
distances). Senior Citizens are very dependent upon family,
friends and of course, their clergy.
St. John’s parish rectory is located on the eastern side
of the town of Woodstock which is about a 60 mile round trip
for a parishioner in the far northwestern Shandaken villages
of Pine Hill/Big Indian/Olivera & Highmount (a considerable
distance) not only for the senior parishioners but also for
the priest from St. John’s (in eastern Woodstock). Especially
if an unplanned compassion visit must be made on a slippery
winter night, in order to spend some quality time with an extremely
ill or grieving senior parishioner. The St John’s parish
priests’ tasks are now expanded as the single spiritual
Catholic shepard to such a large widespread area, only visiting
the one Northwestern Ulster County Phoenicia (mission) church
for a single Sunday mass, One Sunday mass will/can not serve
all the current area practicing Catholics, St Francis deSales
is a very small (140 capacity) Chapel. These changes leave the
regular and summer resident Phoenicia/Shokan/Allaben/Boiceville
practicing Catholics with an extremely limited opportunity to
spend any quality time with the “Shepard of Their Flock”.
They will not all fit into St Francis chapel during a single
The affected parishioners understand there is a severe shortage
of priests and all the many other stated reasons why the recently
announced church closures are being considered, they also understand
there is no real property or population growth in this rural
Catskill State Park/Watershed area, there are no longer too-many
jobs or career opportunities either. However, our senior citizen
population does live on a limited retirement income and may
not be not financially prepared to move away from their owned
family homesteads or affordable senior residences, yet. The
families with young children are moving away to assure their
financial stability, which helps explain the recent reduction
in Baptisms, Confirmations and Marriage statistics, as was recently
reported to the Archdiocese, by the St. Francis deSales parish.
In recent years a single constant for of our practicing Catholic
seniors has been the spiritual support and counseling by their
parish priest, now that too will soon be much less accessible
or literally taken away.
In these times of the “throw-away society” are the
Catholic Church Leaders throwing away the loyal (rural) seniors?
They are old, frail, in poor health, on limited incomes so do
we toss them aside like a broken TV, radio or computer? It just
does not seem to be very compassionate to abandon the faithful
at this time of their lives (near their end time) when they
need the support of their parish priest who should/could be
stationed relatively close (certainly not a 30 to 40 mile distance
away). In a few more short years these very seniors who helped
build this (one time) “sustainable” parish plan
to be interred in their “self-sufficient” Catholic
parish cemetery plot, perhaps then would be a better time to
transfer their priest and reduce their parish to a mission outpost
of the St. John’s of Woodstock, but surely not now.
Is it not one of God’s commandments to “Honor thy
father and mother”?
What eventually happens to the closed mission chapels, St Francis
Parish Hall, the Rectory, the Catholic Cemetery and all the
real estate (including the Phoenicia Recreation Fields behind
the parish hall) which used to belong to the (former) St. Francis
When the alarm goes off the first day of school, September,
2006, will it be too late when you wake up and realize that
we let the Onteora School Board implement its plan to permit
a single bus contractor that is located many miles away from
the Onteora School District have the contract of all school
buses transporting out precious children to school, reported
at a cost of more than a half-million dollars more than the
district currently pays for the very first year of a new contract?
We the parents and taxpayers cannot vote on it. On top of that
they are asking us to vote yes for proposition #3 to authorize
Onteora Central School District Board of Education to contract
for all transportation for an additional two years for the same
contractor at an estimated annual cost of millions through the
Why would they want this to happen? Just to think that this
will happen in our school district!
The school board has submitted no evidence that switching from
our present transportation system to their present proposal
will be beneficial to our children or the taxpayers. Can they
do whatever they want? Let's do what is best for our children!
Business administrator Victorial McLaren pointed out that many
existing contracts are over 20 years old and allow little or
no flexibility. I ask, "why are we vogint for a multi-year
contract through 2009, for the very same contractor?"
I think it would be appropriate for the school board to get
some additional information for the parents and voters. Figure
out what it is really going to cost the taxpayers and then let
us decide to either support or not support this drastic change.
Who profits from this ridiculous proposal? It certainly will
not be the taxpayers.
Parents, this is a big deal. This involves your children and
it should be the subject of full accountability. Parents in
the school district should have the right to decide who is busing
their children and for how much.
When we start the new school year in September, 2006, your child
walks out the door to board that bus for the first day of school.
Will they be in good hands? Are we willing to give up our hard
working reliable drivers? These drivers and aides are our next
door neighbors, friends who have been driving our children and
grandchildren to school for many years. Are we willing to let
the Onteora School Board hand over our children to the care
of a bus contractor that is located many miles away and to drivers
that may never have heard of the Onteora School District? Wake
up. The alarm will be going off sooner than you think. Is it
too late? Do you really care?
Mount Tremper, NY
I wonder how many Rush Limbaugh listeners realize that the self
proclaimed "know it all" political, social, family
and economics expert has changed dramatically over the last
year and a half. Limbaugh's world began to disintegrate when
he "assigned" himself to the "farm" to clear
his system of one or more controlled substances that allegedly
he was acquiring illegally by "doctor shopping". Doctor
shopping is the act of visiting three or four physicians with
the same complaint and assembling a collection of three or four
prescriptions for the same or similar "drug". The
Florida authorities began an investigation and preliminary proceedings
which have not as yet been adjudicated. Mr Limbaugh with the
assistance of Roy Black, a nationally known attorney has claimed
that his [medical] records are sacred, personal and privileged
even in a criminal action.
The road to justice in Florida is "blockaded" with
"stone walls" and Limbaugh is still as arrogant and
belligerent as ever. His third wife however did leave upon discovering
that Mr. Limbaugh along with all his other self proclaimed virtues
is a world class liar. More than once in pre-drug days Limbaugh
declared that the drug "user" is the one that should
be in prison and the drug peddler would be no more. When a caller
to his talk show reminds him of that philosophy he "cuts"
to an "ad" but insists he never shuts anyone down.
Just today [April 18] Mr. Limbaugh on his daily talk show took
up the defense of the "rich" lacrosse players at Duke
University against a party "stripper" who charged
she was raped, not because there may be a lack of evidence or
some other impediment to prosecuting but rather that "the
Prosecutor is an elected official and is playing to the people".
Limbaugh emphasized the "rich boys" and because of
that they are being charged. I always thought the Grand Jury
generated a "Bill of Indictment" along with the public
prosecutor leading. I understand where Limbaugh is coming from
there; most or all D.A.'s fit the mold of the Florida A.G. in
his warped mind.
I was an avid listener of Rush Limbaugh"s for approximately
12 of his 18 years on WABC radio but realized there is not enough
room for both of us on the same planet. It has become clear
that he will not tolerate dissent; my reason for never calling
in. I have a problem reconciling his theory that if you support
our troops in Iraq then certainly you support the war. I have
often wondered what we are doing there and now I know; because
the troops are there. And his current criticism of the "revolting"
retired Generals is a non starter in that Limbaugh has no military
experience at the lowest level, much less the senior ranks.
I now prefer Dr. Joy Brown, PHd, Limbaugh's competitor in the
hope that she may advance some solution to my problems, real
Glenn T. Anderson
To attend a meeting of the Onteora Board of Education is to
see political democracy at work. Political because politics
is the art of allocating scarce resources (somehow the state
formula for increased funding is bypassing us) and democratic
with a small d and big sense of responsibility toward their
constituents: the students and parents and taxpayers.
Tuesday evening, at the request of several parents, they discussed
instituting a policy to regulate (not eliminate) the amount
of access military recruiters have to the children in our Middle
School and High School. This is within their rights under the
No Child Left Behind Act. The Act only dictates that recruiters
have the "same access to students" as colleges and
Recently the absence of a firm policy at Onteora has resulted
in recruiters walking in without notice as much as once or twice
a week and spending lunch hours in or near the cafeteria.
I endorse the effort of the Board of Education and the Principals
to find a balance. The Board has a mandate from the local government
to act in the interest of the children. The federal government
interest is to get people to fight in the war.
Parents and taxpayers, if you agree, please praise the efforts
of the school officials to regulate (not eliminate) the military
presence in our school by a call to the Board at 657-6383 ex
264, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. or write PO Box 300