on the News
Review Or Two?
The papers filed by Gerstman on behalf of CPC ask for release of a draft
DEC Unit Management Plan for expansion of their ski area which has been
referenced throughout the resort's DEIS as well as by officials at Belleayre
Mountain throughout the past year. A request to DEC to inspect
a copy of that plan under the federal Freedom of Information Law (FOIL)
on March 24 was turned down in a May 21 letter from DEC, stating that,
"staff has determined that these records are intra-agency documents
which are not statistical or factual tabulations of data, instructions
to staff that affect the public, or final agency policy or determinations."
An appeal of that denial is pending.
In his motion to the DEC, Gerstman bases CPC's argument for access to
the Belleayre Mountain UMP on the fact that "extraordinary circumstances
are present due to the Commissioner's unique role in evaluating the
significant adverse environmental impacts of two interdependent related
actions, one of which is a DEC initiated project."
Answering affirmations by both DEC and Crossroads deny any interdependence
between the projects.
Gerstman also cites clauses within state environmental law that require
the lead agency on environmental reviews, as DEC is in the case of the
Belleayre Resort, to evaluate "cumulative impacts" of projects
within close geographic proximity, common impacts, and similar construction
time-frames. Among evidence cited are a series of local newspaper
accounts of statements and presentations made by Belleayre Mountain
Ski Area Superintendent Tony Lanza last winter regarding the expansion
promised imminently in the DEC's new UMP, and for which funding appears
to be available in the 2005 state budget. According to Gerstman's
filing, "the department staff are asking the Commissioner to ignore
her own department's actions which directly implicate the environmental
impacts associated with the project. Such a position is contrary to
the Commissioner's responsibility pursuant to the Environmental Conservation
Also quoted in the filing is Crossroads Ventures' DEIS, where it states
the developer's intention to "bring to fruition the creation of
a four season world-class Resort associated with the Belleayre Mountain
Ski Center as contemplated in the state and regional planning studies
over the last 40 years." Gerstman also quotes the DEIS as saying
"In order for the ski center to truly function at the level of
the proposed Resort (and not, in fact, detract from the resort's marketing
orientation), a major redevelopment of the lodges and other supporting
facilities should be completed. Although the facility is currently state-owned,
the current management team appears to be aware that a major upgrade
will be necessary for the Ski Center to function in this regard."
As for the DEC's plans for its Ski Center, Gerstman quotes the DEIS
as stating that the unreleased UMP calls for increased snowmaking capacity,
adding parking spaces, expanding lodges, and constructing new ski trails."
Statements by Lanza over the last two years record him stating similar
things, while noting on several occasions that the release of the UMP
was imminent. Lanza was quoted in this newspaper on January 22 of this
year in fact, saying that he was expecting the final UMP to be released
to the public "within 60 days."
"DEC, in its dual role as lead agency for the project review
and the proponent of the BMSC expansion has acted contrary to the interests
of its mandate to protect and preserve the State's natural resources
by denying CPC access to the records in question," Gerstman summarizes.
"It appears that DEC is seeking to avoid the complications of a
combined environmental assessment of the two projects."
Additionally, Gerstman's filing includes an August 19, 2003 internal
memorandum from DEC Commissioner Erin Crotty, that appears to formally
adopt the new Belleayre Mountain expansion plans. According to that
document, "the UMP Amendment is consistent with the State Constitution,
the Environmental Conservation Law, rules, regulations, and Department
policy. The plan includes management objectives for a projected management
period and is hereby approved and adopted."
As of press time, DEC had not returned phone calls requesting comment
on the Motion for Discovery filed by CPC. Answering Affirmations filed
both Crossroads and by DEC lead counsel and Assistant Regional Attorney
Carol Krebs seek denial of the discovery motion. A decision by Judge
Wissler is expected by the end of the month.
In other major developments at the hearings, the towns of Shandaken
and Middletown along with Delaware County, which all recently passed
a Coalition of Watershed Towns resolution indicating they were not taking
a position on the proposed Belleayre Resort project, now appear to have
reversed position, and are supporting the project's developer in its
effort to eliminate further discussion of alternatives to the project
as proposed, including reductions in its scale.
Arguing at last Thursday's hearings in opposition to the need to consider
alternative-build proposals, the attorney representing all four entities
above in the proceedings, Kevin Young of Young Sommer, LLC, pointedly
dropped any appearance of neutrality on the project with an impassioned
appeal to Judge Wissler on behalf of developer Dean Gitter. Elaborating
on a published letter he read into the record from Delaware County Economic
Development Director Len Neil, Young said:
"We've looked at it, we've studied it, and we NEED a destination
resort∑Marriott and the big guys, they're not coming here, "
said Young. "So here's a person, he's local, and he's willing to
come here and he's willing to make a capital investment∑What we
look at is, is it a viable project? The way the applicant's done it
is the way we as an involved agency would want to see it done."
The Marriott Corporation is one of several large resort companies listed
by Crossroads as a potential future operator and co-owner of the project,
should permits be granted for its construction.
Young's remarks came in the wake of a withering analysis of the methodology
used in the DEIS to assess the resort project's viability as an investment
by Columbia University professor and H,R & A principal Dr. John
Altshuler. Altshuler, who testified on behalf of the Catskill
Preservation Coalition, was a principal author of the landmark 1998
study of the region commissioned by the Catskill Watershed Corporation,
and is widely regarded as one of the leading economic development experts
both nationally and specifically on the Catskill region.
"The only way to rationally understand viability is to look at
the capital structure from the point of view of the people who are actually
providing the capital, which the current analysis does not allow us
to do," said Altshuler. "The form of analysis is a different
one than I would use or a different one than I would accept∑ It's
impossible to tell whether (the project) is economically viable."
According to Altshuler, the "fundamentally circular" logic
in the DEIS concludes that "the only alternative worth examining
is to build a world-class golf destination", a scenario he called
"highly unusual" for a mountainous 2,000 acre property.
Crossroad's own expert witness Eric Baum of HVA International, who characterized
Altshuler's analysis as "an awesome job"; also described
the resort project as an "extraordinarily risky" investment
whose feasibility is "kind of marginal."
Altshuler also stressed the need to consider "lower build, less
capital intensive" alternatives because they "make more sense"
from the standpoint of viability, saying he didn't think the DEIS "looked
at (lower build) alternatives at all."
According to the Catskill Preservation Coalition, the DEIS' alternatives
analysis is deficient because it both fails to provide adequate alternatives
analysis, and it fails to take a "hard look" at the issue
as required under the state Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA.)
The Coalition of Watershed Towns, Delaware County, and the Towns of
Shandaken and Middletown also took a position mirroring that of the
developer, concerning the lack of any need to adjudicate issues related
to the project's effect on the character of its host municipalities.
"Our position is that community character is not a proper issue
for adjudication" said Young's partner and co-counsel, Jeff
Baker, speaking for Shandaken and Middletown among his other clients.
Baker's conclusion, made last Wednesday, preceeded by a day the extensive
presentation on community character impacts by Mary Kopaskie of
Peter J. Smith & Associates, on behalf of the Catskill Preservation
Coalition. Kopaskie cited significant data errors in the DEIS
including incorrect population growth, employment, and income data as
well as omissions such as the failure to include the impact of 15 heavy
trucks per hour, 10 hours per day for five years in its traffic projections.
Kopaski's report also took issue with a range of what she characterized
as underreported visual, noise, and land use impacts, socio-economic
issues including housing, job creation and salaries, and the need for
local services and other secondary growth impacts.
The issues conference resumes on June 18 at the Margaretville fire house
with further consideration of traffic issues.
At Monday night's budget hearing, trustees and
administrators outlined their second proposal, which incorporates cuts
to administration and special education, made in response to public
complaints about expenditures in these areas. After the meeting, trustee-elect
David Patterson said that the board was making progress in questioning
costs and that, while he felt there was room for improvement, he would
vote for the new proposal. Several parents continued to express frustration
and skepticism over administrators' responses to their questions, but
the atmosphere was subdued and the audience scantier, in comparison
to the hearing for the previous budget proposal.
Business administrator Chuck Snyder presented a detailed comparison
of Onteora's spending with the expenses of other Ulster County school
districts, all of which have lower per-pupil costs. The break-down,
which will be posted on the district's website, showed that Onteora's
comparatively highest expenditures are in the areas of staff salaries
and benefits, transportation, and special education. High transportation
costs were attributed to the large geographical size of the district.
Addressing the special education costs, pupil personnel services director
Barbara Boyce said that when she began to implement inclusion of special
education students in mainstream classrooms, in response to federal
and state mandates in the late 1980's, parents of regular students were
concerned that the quality of their children's education might suffer.
In response, Boyce said, "I made a promise that I would not Œdump'
students. But it is cost-intensive." Her model involves the use
of consultant teachers to accompany students with special needs in regular
classrooms. She pointed out that these teachers also help regular students
in those classes who have learning disabilities.
Trustee Kathy Hochman, a special education advocate, said her experience
in the region shows that Onteora's approach, while more costly than
those of other districts, results in a higher rate of students with
special needs obtaining Regents diplomas. Administrators have planned,
for next week's meeting, a presentation comparing the performance of
the Onteora's regular students with those of other districts, suggesting
that the higher teacher salaries attract high-caliber staff, resulting
in better test scores and graduation rates for students.
Patterson, who campaigned on a platform of fiscal responsibility and
will take office in July, stated that although he didn't feel the administration
had justified the costs in detail, "I believe the board is making
the right strides and beginning to ask specific questions regarding
costs. We're not that far away from a contingency budget. A lot of transitions
are happening, we'll have a new superintendent, and I'm coming onto
the board. I've asked a lot of questions from the podium, and I'll keep
doing it. We need a tourniquet, but they've put on a pretty good-sized
band-aid." When asked whether he would recommend that people vote
for the budget, he said "They should make a decision based on how
they feel." But he acknowledged that he would vote in favor of
the new proposal. "This is the first time I've publicly told people
how I'll vote on something. But to go for a contingent budget is not
a direction to take."
Hal Rowe took on the issue of the West Hurley Elementary School closing,
saying that many parents have incorrectly quoted the figure of $361,000
as the savings due to the closing, while the number is actually considerably
higher. Besides the savings on a principal and support staff, the closing
also eliminates special area teachers (art, music, library, gym), special
education teachers, and academic intervention staff, for a total of
$581,000. Keeping the school open would involve an additional $100,000
for the hiring of custodians to replace two retirees. He added that
the savings would be repeated year after year, as long as the district
is not operating the school. Hochman added that there is also the possibility
of revenue from renting out the building, as the board intends to do.
asked how much costs will be for renovating the Woodstock Elementary
School interior and parking area to accommodate the influx of students
from West Hurley, but Snyder said they have not yet been determined,
although discussions have begun in the Facilities Committee. Parent
Darlene Griffin asked where the money will come from and whether the
cost will negate the savings from closing the West Hurley school. Snyder
replied that the cost would be a one-time expenditure, as opposed to
the yearly savings for the closure.
expressed anger over the lack of a finalized plan for the allocation
of space within the Woodstock school and over the possibility that her
child will be "taking Reading Recovery in a closet with no windows."
Board president Marino D'Orazio reacted to her persistent questioning,
saying the board merely made the policy decisions and has no control
over the details of plans, which are implemented by administrators.
He urged her to contact the administrators for answers to her questions,
and she retorted that her calls are not generally returned.
Lev Flournoy announced that he would like to create a committee to improve
communication between the district and the community, which he finds
inadequate. Among suggestions for the committee to consider will be
distributing sheets of frequently asked questions and their answers,
as well as a system for soliciting questions from the public.
proposition to spend $133,500 for vehicles will again be on the ballot,
and transportation supervisor Mike Grehl said the expenditure would
actually save the district money, as the vehicles would otherwise have
to continue to be leased, a measure not requiring voter approval. In
addition, the state will reimburse 37∏ percent of the purchase
cost. Rowe said if the proposition is approved but the budget is defeated,
the district would be forced to purchase the vehicles out of the contingency
budget, reducing funds available for programs.
and Snyder described several reasons for the budget increase that are
out of the district's control, such as the 15 percent hike in required
contributions to the employee retirement program, due to the poor performance
of the stock market in recent years. Health care costs are also rising,
although trustee Neil Eisenberg pointed out that the staff contracts
negotiated this year involve higher staff payments to health insurance.
Governor Pataki is proposing to increase the district's state aid by
only $12,000 this year, "truly a pittance," said Rowe. D'Orazio
observed that the spending down of the reserve fund balance by a previous
board removed the cushion of emergency monies that could have been used
to reduce the tax levy. "The perception is that we're mis-applying
expenditures, but it's not easy and there is no magic formula,"
he added. "I hope people who voted against the budget realize we're
all in this together. We're making an effort to save as much money as
possible in these difficult times."
polls will be open from 2:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 22.
Vote at your local elementary school.
Their pocket-reaching brethren of Woodstock and Shandaken,
who stand to profit by the stripping of reservoir properties from the
Olive tax rolls it would cause, are sighing with anticipated relief.
correct Jeopardy question for the above would be "What is the Large
Parcel Bill?" But a more pertinent question might be "From
whence?" How and why did the divisive LPB legislation originate
and what is it really meant to do?
thing which becomes quickly apparent in addressing topics like tax apportionment
and equalization rates is the necessity of keeping some
aspirin within easy reach as the numbers start to fly. You quickly discover
that even the experts will have a bottle of them in their desk drawer.
Another thing that pops out at you is a grim conviction among property
assessors that the New York State Office of Real Property Services (ORPS)
has a magic box filled with dark formulas and tables which they feed
numbers into and shake briskly to yield the rates they distribute.
Sommer, the assessor for Olive, isn't precisely sure of how ORPS arrives
at the rate figures they hand out but he is certain of their RESULT
in the case of the Ashokan Reservoir. The wide disparity between ORPS
evaluation of the New York City-owned reservoir properties and the value
placed on them by the appraisal experts engaged by the town makes the
tax equalization rates artificially high.
situation has led Shandaken supervisor Robert Cross and Woodstock
supervisor Jeremy Wilber to accuse Olive of "opportunistic assessing
methods" in a recent joint mailing. Wilber, in another letter to
Senator Bonacic and Assemblyman Cahill, claimed that was "established"
that Olive had a "practice of assessing its reservoir property
at a significantly higher percentage of value than other property in
the Town" which resulted in lower school taxes for Olive homes
than comparable homes in his town.
officials have pointed out that they have no say in the percentage;
that they are merely abiding by figures set by the court in the judgment
from a 1979 lawsuit between Olive and New York City.
now, ORPS is saying that the reservoir is worth approximately $115
million," Sommer explains. "The town just spent a lot of money
defending a lawsuit and we have an appraisal that says it's worth around
$390, $400 million. When the state determines an equalization rate,
that (difference) works out to about 3%. Now, if you look at the residential
have sold in the last year and their percentages, you're looking at
.007%. Now, when you have to value the whole town, our equalization
rate is around 1.2% because you have to add in the 3% and the .007%.
When you shake it up in a box and it comes out with whatever convoluted
formula they use, it's 1.2%."
equalization rate is artificially high because of that big 3% in there,"
Sommer continues. "If the state said the reservoir was worth closer
to what we think it's worth- and I firmly believe that it is UNDERassessed-and
compared that number to the ratio, the equalization rate would be around
.0085% and there'd be no need for the Large Parcel Bill."
said he wasn't going to beat up another state agency but felt ORPS lacked
the staff and resources to properly value multi-million dollar properties
and he believes that many of his colleagues would agree. But, as long
as the ORPS estimate of the reservoir remains as far apart from the
town's evaluation as it is, the equalization rate will remain artificially
question arises when there are large yearly changes in the evaluation
of a large parcel. In fact, the specific circumstances which triggered
the drafting of the bill emerged from these recurrent difficulties of
up and down appraisals.
sponsor of the bill, S6221A, Senator William Larkin, explained the justification
for the legislation in an attached memorandum: "The main purpose
of this bill is to reduce the wild swings both up and down that occur
for all assessed properties when a municipality has a high value
property whose assessed evaluation is in flux from year to year."
was ORPS's observation that certain municipalities have large parcels
which go up and down a lot as far as what their assessed value is,"
explains attorney Steve Casscles, an aide in Senator Larkin's office.
"What was happening was that the town tax for everyone else in
the town was going inversely in the opposite direction. So, if an assessment
went down, say, 20%, then the rest of the town would have their tax
rates go up by 20%. So, what they thought to do was take the large parcel
out of it when it came to developing assessed rate, then put it back
in afterwards. So, basically, you would know that your tax bills are
about the same as opposed to this wild fluctuation. It's a very technical
bill, statewide, but it was written so that people would not complain
that their rates are going up and down."
said that the bill was developed with parcels "like Knolls Atomic
Power Laboratory in Niskayuna" in mind. He said he was uncertain
how the provisions applied to reservoirs.
it's very large things compared to the rest of the town," he elaborates.
"But it was really things like power plants, nuclear reactors,
scientific research stations, that kind of stuff. Things that were very
taken aback by the commotion it was causing in the Onteora School District,
Casscles began reciting various agencies that the bill was circulated
to for comments.
we got the bill, it sounded like an okay idea and I had as many eyes
as possible look at this as possible to make sure it was done correctly,"
he explains. "I'm a lawyer but that doesn't mean I can do Security
Exchange type of work. It's a highly detailed kind of area. We had ORPS
go over it. We sent it to the Town Assessors Association; the Association
of County Clerks; the Association of Counties; (etc)..."
Sommer observed that in the latest of New York City's recurrent suits
to protest Olive's appraisal of their properties, the judge ruled that
the City failed to prove that the property was worth anything less than
what Olive's assessment said it was worth. The ruling essentially threw
out a number of the City's appraisal techniques as inappropriate but
attempt at an independent determination of value, leaving the matter
in a legal limbo of sorts.
the state says, with these big utility parcels, is that they have to
be valued by the 'cost' approach," Sommer details. "They can't
value it by using the market, as if there were similar reservoirs for
sale. You can't value it as if NYC was a money-making agency like a
private company such as Central Hudson. You can't value it by using
the income and expense
statement. I believe NY State law says you have to value that reservoir
using the 'replacement cost' method. If someone had to get all those
thousands of acres to assemble a parcel to engineer it- which is the
'soft cost'- condemn the property and the rest of it in order to replace
that reservoir... That cost, minus depreciation, plus the land, is how
it should be valued by state law.
believe ORPS uses a 150 year straight line depreciation standard- which
means the dam would collapse 150 years after it was built, without repair,
and there'd be no water in it. If that's the case and it was built 100
years ago, it would be depreciated by 2/3 or, say, if it cost $300 million
to replace, it'd be worth $100 million. But the industry standard is
that these types of properties can last 300, 400 or more years without
doing anything to them because that's the way they were built. But,
also, the City was using concrete costs from 1950, trying to trend up
into today's standards because you have to use current rates to find
replacement costs now.
thing was the land value. The City was using the land value of useless
landlocked, backwoods mountain tops, what have you, and the judge told
the City's attorneys that they could buy land at Love Canal for more
than they put in their appraisal- and you don't build reservoirs on
why the Ashokan Reservoir, with a dollar value which certainly does
not fluctuate from year to year, was included under the large parcel
bill, Sommer replied "That's a good question."
THE COST & MARKET ANGLE
Frui is the executive secretary of the NY State Association of County
Directors of Real Property Tax Services, the organization which wrote
the large parcel bill.
time you're talking about equalization rates, you should get a headache,"
Frui observes, confirming my own evidence. "The basic premise of
an equalization rate is that the higher it goes, the lower the market
value of the town is. That's the effect."
you're wondering if raising Olive's market value will lead to the posting
of a "Favorite Limousine Service" on the town's website like
Woodstock has on theirs, you might ask Frui how part of a city-owned
water supply system falls under the "wild swing" justification
for the bill.
tell you why," Frui would answer. "Because ORPS, over the
years, has come up with different methodologies to value these large
properties- and this may be where Olive is thinking- and probably more
so with generating plants for electricity. This is because, in the recent
past, they went from the cost approach to the market approach. Remembering
that some of the properties owned by these generating facilities are
reservoirs and they're using the water to create hydropower, what the
state has done has been to go in and look at it from the viewpoint that
this is property owned by an electric company- hydro plants that use
water, obviously, as a source of power to generate electricity."
the cost approach and the market approach again?
happened was, after deregulation, ORPS made a determination that there
's now a market for these properties- whereas, under real property tax
law, it was always defined as 'specialty property'- which meant that
you could use the 'cost' approach and the cost approach is generally
the higher valued approach.
made the determination, after deregulation, that there was now a market
but the NY State Assessors Association never agreed with them on that,"
Frui continues. "We said that there is no real true market because
they were being forced to sell these properties off under deregulation.
So, there was not a willing seller- willing buyer situation. We still
felt that they were still specialty properties but (ORPS) gets to do
what they want to
they made that determination and what occurred was that the values they
were generating were under the income approach and substantially less
what the municipalities had under the cost approach. That created that
false high equalization rate."
me, at least, the dawn was beginning to break and the parts of the large
parcel bill which didn't seem to fit were starting to clarify. A year
ago, a memorandum on the large parcel bill sent to Olive supervisor
Leifeld by ORPS director Dorothy Martin used that language to illustrate
its intent; "-if a town contains a substantial power plant"
and "disparities among the non-plant properties."
of the areas that showed up was in Sullivan County, in the towns of
Highland and Lumberland- because it was a very easy example to use,"
Frui elaborated. "Lumberland had a hydro plant and the two towns
made up about 90% of the Eldridge School District. So, you could see
the equalization rates changing in each town. In one year, one town
would get beat up and, in another year, another town would get beat
up- either Highland or Lumberland. That was one of the easy examples
to look at when we were talking about the large parcel bill."
of the over 30 school districts, statewide, eligible to exercise the
large parcel option, the Eldridge School District is the only one that
has thus far chosen to do so.
his recent book THE CORPORATION: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit
and Power, law professor Joel Bakan observes that "Regulations
are designed to
force corporations to internalize- i.e., pay for- costs they would otherwise
externalize onto society and the environment. When they are effective
and effectively enforced, they have the potential to stop corporations
from harming and exploiting individuals, communities, and the environment.
Deregulation is really a form of DEDEMOCRATIZATION, as it denies 'the
people,' acting through their democratic representatives in government,
the only official political vehicle they currently have to control corporate
of corporate behavior may at times suit the conduct of the NYC
water bureaucracy but, right now, at its foundation, it is still a system
designed to distribute a public resource rather than compete on the
market with other supplies of water. Does the deregulation of the electric
industry logically extend to New York City's Department of Environmental
one of their websites, the NYC DEP acknowledges that the most valuable
commodity they own upstate is not the land or the structures upon it
but the water, itself. They recognize that fresh water will become increasingly
valuable in the decades ahead and a great storm is brewing worldwide
as multinational corporations maneuver to privatize the world's fresh
water supplies and grassroots movements struggle to establish public
water as a basic human right. Battle lines are forming.
the Giuliani administration, as the air was being sold off to corporations
under the Telecommunications Act, attempts were made to privatize NYC's
water system. The Mayor's plan was blocked by a lawsuit filed by City
Comptroller Alan Hevesi and the water system has remained a public resource.
Why then, it should be asked, should it be subject to market values
brought about by deregulation in the power industry?
thought I'd ask...
Although she's been dealing in antiques for more than 20 years, Joyce
started her website for vintage toys from the 1950's, 60's and 70's
in 1996, a year or so after the internet first began to take off. "I
had the antique center in the Phoenicia Plaza for eight years, from
'92 to 2000," she said. "In the early days I used the website
mostly to have people look at items we had in the shop, and to leave
bids for auctions." In the years since however, it's evolved
into something far more specialized and "very sentimental."
are a big thing to our generation" says Joyce. "When you reach
40 or so, a lot of times people want to relive their memories of childhood,
of simpler times. And for people my age who grew up in the 50's and
60's, that was when the Saturday morning cartoons started, filled with
advertising for Mattell, Marx, Remco, GI Joe, and Topper."
native of Chichester who's family's been here since the early 1900's,
Joyce recalls that TV reception wasn't so easy to come by when she was
a kid, but the grainy black and white images haven't faded much for
many of us. "We got one channel, Channel 6 out of Schenectady,
and it took some work with the rabbit ears."
who authored the definitive 1999 book on collectables from the 1964-65
New York World's Fair, ended up specializing in vintage toys as a result
of purchasing the content of estates for her antiques business.
"Once we bought the contents of a house in Kingston," she
said. "and the biggest ticket item we sold turned out to be Green
Hornet game from 1966, which brought $450. Two years ago I picked up
a Hoppalong Cassidy candy box from 1950, which sold on Ebay for $750."
internet, " says Joyce "has certainly opened up a lot of doors
for selling, even if it has killed a lot of the retail antiques business."
It is possible she says, to sell just about anything on line, and she
regularly does that, typically bringing fifty or 60 parcels each week
to the post office. That doesn't however, include things like
the occasional boat or telephone booth, sold online as "pick-up
Grant, the toy business isn't yet a full time job; for 20 years she's
also operated the Dustbusters cleaning service in the Woodstock-Shandaken-
Kingston area, though she's currently grooming a family member to take
that one over. One bottom line for Joyce is that the advantages of running
an internet-based business are hard to beat.
no time clock but you do have to be disciplined," says Joyce. "You
can work in your pajamas, and sometimes you can have a big sale at three
o'clock in the morning. Winters are great - no travel - and the
main thing is you're home with your family. But you usually do have
to invest a fair amount of what I call outside time, which for me is
either finding new inventory or selling for other people. That's actually
turned out to be a pretty good business, and people are usually happy
with the results. I sort through things for people, photograph them
and write them up, sell them online, pack and ship, and I only take
a commission after something's sold. It's a lot of work but it does
make things really easy for people, and they're often very surprised
by the prices things can bring."
nice thing about selling this way says Joyce "is that you learn
that people tend to be really nice and really considerate. In
eight years of doing business online with people all over the world,
I've never had a phone call in the middle of the night, or really had
any kind of bad experience at all."
be that kind of history plus the pajama thing, might just swing a few
more of us into sustainable home-based business mode. If Joyce's experience
is any guide, might be worth a try.