To the editor,
I attended my the Fulton Common Council meeting on Sept. 1, the first for me since the new administration took office.
Things have changed a lot.
Due to the pandemic and anticipating a large attendance, the meeting was moved to the city community room.
There were more people than I had seen in a while other than when big issues arose. The meeting started out with a very inviting nature. It ended shortly after I addressed the Common Council. I attended the meeting because of the issue of the sale of city-owned property.
The reason I have such a great interest in the sale of city-owned property is that in most cases they are sold to out of city and some times out-of-state buyers (I call them carpet baggers). They purchase the property at a rock-bottom price and rent them out to make a small fortune off taxpayer dollars. In the meantime, because they don’t live in the city, they let the property become run-down therefore causing a domino affect in the entire neighborhood causing quality of life issues and costing the taxpayers with public safety issues.
Also, property is sold in an effort to gain payment in lieu of tax (PILOT) agreements. These are a way of life and are accepted if they generate enough jobs to offset the agreement and the loss of tax dollars.
I asked questions about the sale of four properties: 361 N.1st St., 505 Utica St., 215 W.1st St. S. and 308 Erie St.
I wanted to know if the properties were going to be assessed at the sale price or the assessed value listed on the Oswego County Real Property Tax rolls. I wanted to know if they were going to be owner occupied or rentals. I already knew whom three of the owners were going to be and two of them owned other rentals in the city.
One owns two two-family properties and they are not what anyone would like to have in their neighborhood and depreciate the values of all the properties around them. This is what causes property values in the city to decline and solid, tax-paying residents to leave. We will soon become the rental capital of central New York.
One of owners owns 28 other properties in the city and of those properties, five of them were listed as two-family houses as early as 2013. All five have multiple bedrooms and bathrooms and more than one mailbox, causing one to question the fact that the city has them listed as single-family homes. How much money is the city losing in rental permits?
When I asked about the properties’ ownership, I was given a very short answer of, “You will find out when we bring that resolution forward.” When the resolution moves forward, I would be no longer able to ask questions. I asked the same question again, and it was like I was speaking a foreign language. Eventually, I was told that my time was up and to sit down.
If you so choose to attend any Fulton Common Council meetings, you may speak your mind but if you ask questions that a leader feels are offensive to the authority of that leader, be ready to not have your question answered.
This from a leader that ran on a “Transparency” platform. That didn’t take long to abandon.
Frank Castiglia Jr