It’s not over ’til the fat lady… er, dude sings

Post Star Newspaper – Hartford supervisor sings his ‘yes’ vote as landfill saga ends

October 18, 2013 3:33 pm • JAMIE MUNKS — jmunks@poststar.com

HARTFORD — The decades-long and storied saga of Washington County’s controversial ownership of a piece of land in the town officially came to an end Friday.

The Washington County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted Friday in favor of selling the 485-acre tract in Hartford for $400,300 to a local dairy farmer, but will need to share the sale revenue with Warren County and also pay some closing costs.

“This cost will be a minute fraction of what this fiasco has cost us over the past twenty-some years,” Kingsbury Supervisor Jim Lindsay said.

The Eldridge Lane land, initially slated to become a landfill, never served that purpose and was the subject of multiple lawsuits over the years.

The land was slated to become a landfill for byproducts from the Hudson Falls trash plant, then owned by Warren and Washington counties.

It was deemed more cost-effective to ship ash from the plant elsewhere, so the property sat undeveloped, and Warren County sued Washington County for the money it put into improving the site.

That lawsuit was settled when Washington County paid Warren County more than $700,000 and signed a lien agreement, giving Warren County a secure interest in the property if it was ever sold.

Based on the agreement, the amount Warren County could receive was capped, but since the sale price is nowhere near the cap, the two counties will split the money evenly. There are expected to be some closing costs, which will come out of the sale price amount before the money is divvied up.

Hartford Supervisor Dana Haff has pushed for years for the county to sell the land to return it to the tax rolls. The town sued the county for money town officials believed was owed to the town, a lawsuit that ruffled feathers at the county level, but was settled earlier this year for $40,000.

“It’s not over ‘til the fat lady sings,” Haff said, before singing his “yes” vote.

Gary Fullerton, a Washington County dairy farmer, was the successful bidder in an online auction that closed last month, purchasing all three parcels and 485 acres for more than $400,000.

The property will apparently return to its previous use — it was owned by three different farmers before being purchased by Washington and Warren counties more than 20 years ago.