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The Best Gifts from Schoharie County

Showing posts with label Guilford Mills. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Guilford Mills. Show all posts

Opinion: The Power of a Job

Written By Editor on 12/16/14 | 12/16/14

It has been said that a job is the most effective anti-poverty program there is.

Schoharie County's finding that out after a long, slow learning process. The deal to bring in up to 900 jobs to the Guilford Mills site is a Christmas miracle. Even any significant fraction of such employment would be a boost to the local economy not seen in well over a decade. For the first time since Interknitting started closing down in 2001 will the private sector make up for its loss of 700+ jobs.

Many jobs are dependent on local tax dollars-- local schools and governments are vital part of local society. However, private sector jobs also have the ability to branch out and bring in addition investment, new jobs, and pay in more to the local tax base. Altogether, one person with a new $40,000 job and the means to pay for a house, car, and local products is a massive boon to our local economy.

Just imagine 900 of them. Imagine the extra demand this will put on our local restaurants, contractors, shops, and other parts of local commerce.

The process is being started across the County. Middleburgh has created dozens of local jobs over the last several years, and Cobleskill is preparing a large growth spurt. Schoharie is opening new businesses and repairing old buildings. Just add 900 jobs and the long reaching effects on top of all of this.

Let's try to keep young and working age families here in the County. We can build enough of a tax base that the rates don't have to jump every single year for many school districts and municipalities. We have a golden opportunity: let's use it to our full advantage.

Letter to the Editor: Changing Assessments for Political Purposes Improper

Written By Cicero on 12/1/14 | 12/1/14

After reading several news articles concerning the pending sale of the Guilford Mills property I find myself compelled to respond. One article quotes County Treasurer Bill Cherry saying “the county never asked Cobleskill Assessor Alan Danforth to lower the assessment because a higher number makes the plant look more attractive”. While I won’t comment on whether the tactic is effective or not, I can’t stand silently by while our elected officials attempt to pervert the assessment process and deceive would be buyers of the property. But what is perhaps even worse is the lack of indignation or even concern by the local paper’s editorial staff concerning blatant and overt injustice in our tax assessment system.

The sole responsibility for determining and assigning an assessed value to a property lies with the Town Assessor. The Schoharie County Treasurer, the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors, or even a Town board should have no bearing or influence on the process. Mr. Cherry’s comments and the local paper’s subsequent portrayal indicate that the County has interfered with Mr. Danforth’s assessment. This is highly irregular and improper. Mr. Danforth has no option but to assign the correct assessment for every property within his jurisdiction. On each tentative assessment roll issued by the assessor Mr. Danforth must sign and attest that he has assigned the correct values. Either Mr. Danforth believes and can justify an assessed value of 4.5 Million dollars or he has violated his oath of office and sworn statement.

If what has been reported is true, some serious ethical and legal violations have occurred. Manipulating assessment values is a serious offense with severe implications for all county taxpayers. By inflating the assessment of the Guilford property every tax payer outside of the Town of Cobleskill and Cobleskill Richmondville School District has paid more than their fair share of property taxes. Meanwhile those taxpayers living in those two tax jurisdictions have paid less than their fair share. Certainly no system is perfect and assessment mistakes can and do happen, but to learn that the Schoharie County Treasurer has willfully and intentionally conspired to manipulate the system goes too far. This action cannot go unchallenged. Therefore I have written the attorney general and asked for an investigation to determine if a crime has been committed.

Of course, we all hope that the sale of the Guilford property goes through and promised jobs come to fruition, but our need and desire for jobs cannot trump government honesty and transparency. We must be disciplined enough to do things the right way. That requires a local press that is able and willing to call out elected officials for their misdeeds not glorify them or sit idly by.

Robert Mann, Jr.
Blenheim Resident

13 Years Later: County Still Looking to Find Buyer for Guilford Mills

Written By Andrew Hartnett on 4/1/14 | 4/1/14

Before closing in November of 2001, the Guilford Mills building on Mineral Springs Road in Cobleskill, New York was home to more than 500 jobs. Since closing on the eighth of that month, those jobs have not been replaced, and the building has sat vacant.

The plant, and the parcel of land on which it sits, is owned by Schoharie County. This means that, at least for the time being, it is fully the county’s responsibility to find new businesses to occupy the space. To this point, the county has found little success on this front. The most recent possibility came last year when Butternuts Beer and Ale, a company based west of Schoharie County in Garratsville, New York, expressed interest in turning the facility into a brewery. However, the deal fell through when Butternuts failed to meet certain purchase deadlines and, on October 15 of 2013, the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors voted not to extend the Butternuts purchase contract.

Stewart’s Shops was rumored to show interest in the building to open a creamery. According to Schoharie County treasurer Bill Cherry, though, Stewart’s has yet to formally express interest. Cherry did say that both he and the Schoharie County realtor have been in talks with Stewart’s Shops.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, the property was used as a temporary home for some of the County facilities that had been damaged in the flood. Notably, the Schoharie County Department of Motor Vehicles used the facility for a short time. Since the parcel is owned by the County, it is entirely possible that it could be used for County purposes in the long term, but Cherry said that the County’s mission is for the building to be occupied by a private sector firm.

The likely cause of Schoharie County’s difficulty in marketing the building is its size. When Guilford Mills operated the complex, the 460,000 square foot building was used in the production of consumer fabrics, an industry which Guilford exited in 2001 to focus on the performance textiles and automotive market. It is unlikely, Cherry says, that Schoharie County will find another company in need of that much space, or willing to invest the three million asking price.

To combat this, the County is considering subdividing the property into sections of around 100,000 square feet or less. According to Cherry, this size industrial space makes the building much more marketable, although it would require the interest of multiple companies to fill. Cherry also said it is possible, once the entire building is occupied, that the County could sell the parcel to an outside investor.

“Our goal is to create new jobs in Schoharie County,” said Cherry of the plant. The goal number Cherry quoted was the 500 lost on Guilford Mills’ closing, whether they all come from one company or segmented from different companies. As we approach the thirteen year mark for the building being unoccupied, Schoharie County residents are left to wonder if the building will ever again be home to any jobs at all.

Board Votes 12-1 to Contract Guilford Mills Marketing to CBRE

Written By Editor on 11/15/13 | 11/15/13

The Schoharie County Board of Supervisors, on a motion by Seward Town Supervisor Carl Barbic, voted 12-1 to enter into a one year contract with CBRE-Albany, a global real estate firm that focuses on property management and leasing, to handle the marketing of the vacant Guilford Mills property in Cobleskill.
Treasurer William Cherry, who was tasked by the Board at last month's meeting to manage marketing of the former Interknitting property that has gone without an occupant for twelve years now, recommended CBRE be contracted because of their extensive global and local portfolio in handling similar transactions.
Mr. Cherry reasoned that since there is "no market for a 265,000 square foot building," that you would "subdivide it and break it up." Cobleskill Town Supervisor Tom Murray, who still believed the offer from Butternuts should be considered, questioned the judgment of the county "becoming a landlord," saying that it would be a "bad road to go down."
In the end only Jefferson Town Supervisor Dan Singletary voted against the motion, arguing that people can "look wonderful on paper," and that he would "like to see another proposal." Supervisor Barbic called that argument a "delay."
CBRE will receive a 5% to 6% commission depending on the final asking price of a potential sale, which Mr. Cherry recommended be set at $3 million but could be lowered to $2-2.5 million depending on the situation.

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