Hartford Land Rush

The link at the bottom of this email is from a PostStar story today about plans the County has to sell the 485 acre Eldridge Lane “LandFill” property.

The details of the sale not included in the story are;

The sale will conducted by Auctions International via an online auction for 60 days to be listed on two websites starting around July 22nd. These sites are auctionsinternational.com and auctionzip.com.

Auction.zip is made available to over 850,000 users. Because Auctions International pays $24,000 per year to auctionzip.com for advertising, they have preferred customer front page advertising on their state specific sites for Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, NY, NJ. and the New England states. They are now ranked #1 in NY and #6 in the nation, in the last 3 months they have received over 1 million hits.

There is a lien agreement between Washington and Warren County that says if the property is ever sold it shall be by an auction. Washington County decided to do this via an online auction in order to reach the most potential customers. Also as per this lien agreement between the two Counties, Warren Co gets 50% of the sale proceeds.

Auctions International will budget $4,000 to advertise the property which includes the above websites plus; The PostStar half page ad, Greenwich Journal & Salem Press, the three Manchester newspapers (The Granville Sentinel, White Hall Times, FreePress), Hill Country Observer, and the Lake George Mirror.

The cost of advertising will be paid by Auctions International which will be paid out of the commission they receive. The commission is a 5% buyers premium.

Washington County will also display a poster size ad for the property in the County building at the Washington County Fair.

The auction will be open for 60 days starting around July 22nd and ending Sept 23rd at noon. If you are interested in bidding please do not take my word for details in case I have an error. Please go to the websites and get specific info about the exact closing time and how to do it. This info should be up on the sites around July 22nd.

The plan is to bid this out as three separately deeded parcels. The largest parcel 241 acres will be listed first. Then 10 minutes later the next larger 129 acre parcel. Then 10 minutes later the final smaller 115 acre parcel. After this 10 minute delay between each parcel rollout, they would then be available for bidding for the next 60 days until Monday Sept 23rd.

I have been told not to expect much activity on the bidding until the last day. People do not like to tip their hand too early and it may end up looking like the Oklahoma Land Rush at the end.

At the end of the 60 day bidding for individual parcels, the bidding will close and the totals added up. 10 minutes after the close of individual bidding happens, the bidding will re-open for the entire 485 acre property. The requirement to bid will be the total prices so far added together plus another $3,000. The bidding will continue as long as a bid comes in at least every 59 seconds. If 59 seconds elapses without a fresh bid then the auction closes and high bid gets all of it.

At the end of the auction, all successful bidders will be required to submit a $10,000 deposit via credit card immediately upon notification of winning bid.
The fee for accepting the credit card payment is 4% which is what Auctions International is charge by the card provider.

There will be no reserve price or minimum bid required because any bids have to be approved or rejected by the Washington County Board of Supervisors at the Oct 18th Board meeting anyway. If the Board rejects any or all bids, then the County must pay back the advertising budget up to $4,000 expended by Auctions International.

Once I get a color flyer on the property and sale, I will pdf email it to you. Plus I will attempt to send it to the Amish communities that have been driving around Washington County lately asking about parcels of farmland 60 acres and larger. I think an Amish community would give Washington County a new unique agricultural flavor. I have been told that the Amish, even though they shun electricty/computers, etc. have agents that can represent their interests for an online auction.



Amish in Hartford


Amish contingent toured county-owned property

• JON ALEXANDER — [email protected]
Q: Why the sudden interest by the Amish to buy farmland in northern Washington County? Rumor has it they have bought one in Whitehall and inquired about a second in Fort Ann.

— Patricia Henry, Fort Ann

A: Scuttlebutt about a potential Amish boom in Washington County has been circulating for a few months.

The talk apparently started when, this spring, a half-dozen Amish men from the Fort Plain area of Montgomery County hired a driver and were stopping at farms in Hartford asking about available land.

That’s when Hartford Supervisor Dana Haff, tipped off about the interest in his town’s farmland and hoping to market the county’s soon-to-be-auctioned property on Eldridge Lane, jumped into his truck and tracked the visitors down.

Haff escorted the men to the 580 acres on Eldridge Lane, and the men immediately started asking if the county would bypass the auction and sell it to them directly, Haff said Friday.

“They make good neighbors. They’re not known for raising hell, they pay their taxes and just want to be left alone,” Haff said.

Amish family farms are typically sited within 10 miles — a horse-and-buggy-ride — from another Amish farm, officials said.

Luddite Amish populations have for years faced development pressure from the ever-expanding modern world. Finding 60- to 80-acre lots each family needs to sustain itself is becoming increasingly hard in many traditionally Amish communities.

A local dairy farmer last year hired a group of Amish to build a new barn. That may be how the sect heard about the rolling fields in Washington County, Haff said.

The Amish, who build their own houses in 19th-century style, have increasingly run into spats with local code enforcement in some areas. Most local fire codes, for instance, require new homes have hard-wired fire alarms, a problem for a people who reject electricity.

The St. Lawrence County town of Morristown eventually dropped criminal charges last year against 12 Amish men who refused to install smoke detectors and larger windows.

Morristown officials are now installing smoke detectors in every newly built Amish home in the town, but whether the devices stay up will be up to the homeowner, under a settlement agreement. The Amish agreed to install larger windows.

Marketing the Eldridge Lane property to the Amish before September’s auction could be a challenge, as traditional sources, like online advertisements, won’t reach them.

Kingsbury Supervisor Jim Lindsay jokingly suggested sending smoke signals, at a recent meeting of the county Board of Supervisors Public Works Committee.

Haff said the county should ask its auctioneer to travel to Fort Plain and hand out fliers to the Amish community.

Haff said he thinks an Amish farming population would greatly add to Washington County’s cultural complexity.

“I’ve had a lot of Hartford people say, “If they come back, take them to my place,” Haff said.

The Amish are a quickly growing population, according to a 2012 Ohio State University study. Fifteen new Amish communities have popped up in New York since 2010, researchers found.

The Amish and code regulators have clashed throughout the country.

Bourbon County officials in Kansas are clashing with Amish farmers who use outhouses instead of modern septic systems. A Pennsylvania man was sentenced in 2009 to 90 days in a local jail for using an outhouse, the Associated Press reported.

Hartford is going to the dogs

Issues relating to dogs in the town, whether they be lost, stray, nuisance complaints, etc. easily make up the majority of the calls that I receive as Supervisor.

The Town contracts with trained Dog Control Officers from Cossayuna to handle these issues. They are Ed Holland and Nancy Quell 692-2840.

In this age of modern communication (if you are lucky enough to have a cell signal or internet connection other than dial up), facebook is now becoming the preferred form of instant contact since many smart phones are capable of getting instant facebook updates.

The Town’s Dog Control Officer has a facebook page called “Municipal Dogcontrol”.

I would suggest if you have a dog, and have a facebook account to “friend” this page. If your dog happens to become lost or a stray wanders into your yard, a posting on this page will get your message out to a lot of local facebook people instantly.

When a dog is lost, time is of the essence and social media can really help. There is probably no faster method than this because these people can then re-post again on their page so their facebook friends can see it to. Within minutes hundreds of people will know.

Please fwd this email to those that you think are interested.


New Speed limits on Rowe Hill Rd, Wright Rd, & Blood St.

Highway Superintendent Greg Brown requested that NYSDOT review three Hartford town roads to reduce the speed limit as a result of requests from residents.

The State has completed its review and has determined that a reduction in the speed limit down to 40 mph is warranted for;

Rowe Hill between State Route 40 to County Route 30.

Wright Rd between County Route 23 (Main St) and Warren Rd.

Blood St. between State Route 149 and Burch Rd.

The town will order traffic signs and install them when they come in.


Hartford’s Fiscal Stress Test Score

The NYS Comptroller’s Office is now conducting fiscal stress tests for Counties, cities, and towns.

The System’s financial indicators are based on nine different calculations in the following five categories: Year End Fund Balance, Operating Deficits, Cash Position, Use of Short-term Debt and Fixed Costs.

The lower the score the better.

Fiscal stress scores of
65% and more = Significant stress
55% and more = Moderate stress
45% and more = Susceptible to stress

Hartford scored a very impressive low score of 3.3%

By copying or clicking on the link below, you will find the Comptroller’s fiscal stress score for Hartford (page eight) and other municipalities in the state for the year ending 2012.

Click to access municipalities_summary_list.pdf


Historic robbery

Hartford Group,

One of Hartford’s most historic homes recently had a very damaging robbery and the NYS Police needs your help.

It is #7684 State Route 40. The old Louisa King home. Louisa King was a famous horticulturalist and very good friends with Henry Ford. The home later became the home of Dr. Clary. It is the white brick house at the top of the hill as you exit South Hartford, it is just down hill and across the street from the Wayne and Betsy Foote farm.

The entire copper roof on the backside of the house was stolen right around June 1st. The tar paper has been torn away and the roof underlayment is no match for all the rain we have had since then. I was at the property yesterday peering into the windows and large sections of plaster roof are now falling down and there is a heavy odor of mildew in the air.

This property has been in foreclosure status since 2010 with PNC Bank.

I contacted the property management company who has a sticker on the door and
was told that the bank solicited bids from contractors to cover the roof on June 8th but have not yet awarded the bid. That was 10 days and many inches of rain ago.

The County Clerk told me that the owner of record is Wanda Valenzuela and Benjamin Waring. They will be the owner of record until such time as the bank foreclosure is completed.

But when an owner walks away from a home and the bank enters foreclosure proceedings, the owner has essentially abandoned responsibility. The average length for a bank foreclosure proceeding in NYS is 447 days, one of the longest in the nation. While the property is in this limbo status, it is very hard to enforce any maintenance on the home. The bank does not technically own it yet, is in no hurry to own it, and the owner has walked away.

In this case, when the bank finally does own it, so much decay will have occurred it might become a tear-downer instead of a fixer-upper.

NYS Police officer Logan from the Granville Substation is investigating the robbery. His records show Wanda Valenzuela as being the only name on the title but until she can be found, there is no one to sign a complaint. Without a complaint he is really limited on what he can do.

Does anyone from Hartford know Wanda Valenzuela or Benjamin Waring so contact can be made with them so that Wanda can sign a complaint?

The lawn is being mowed by a male in his 20s known as “Eric”. He brings in a Cub Cadet mower. Does anyone know anything about this young man as the police would really like to talk to him.

Please spread the word, if anyone has any info, please let me know and I will relay it to the authorities.

In the meantime, even though I suspect the damage has already been done by the rain, I will try to get the bank to cover the roof.


Painting the Town Barn

A few months ago Washington County Alternative Sentencing Director Mike Gray told the County Supervisors that they were looking for a fresh round of summer projects.

I asked if we could get the exterior of the Hartford Town Hall and Hartford Highway Garage painted since it has been many years and the green paint on it now is quite faded.

The Town supplies the primer, paint, brushes and the County provides the workers. The labor is free to the Town as this is a way for them to work off their court sentences.

This same program is how the Town painted the old wooden highway barn on Main Street a few years ago and had the Old Hartford Baptist Cemetery iron fence painted last year.

The workers started the Town Hall job yesterday, scraping the old paint, caulking windows, etc. Greg Brown, the Highway Superintendent anticipates the whole project might which will include surface preparation, 1 coat of grey primer and 2 coats of green finish with white trim may take up to 3 weeks.

So, for about $1,000 worth of material, The Town will get the whole building scraped, primed and painted. Besides looking pretty, it will also help to preserve the building. This is not some sloppy Tom Sawyer paint job because Alternative Sentencing work foreman Scott Lee is making sure that a high quality job is being performed. Paul Miller, owner of Fort Edward Supply Co. is graciously donating the use of his scaffold system so the painters can safely work up high.


Grievance day

I understand that this year’s re-assessment by Hartford’s Sole Assessor has quite a few people upset in changes to their property assessment. The last time the town performed a reassessment was in 2005.

Hopefully, if you were upset, you have already had a sit down appointment to discuss this with Sandy Foley, our assessor.

If you were not satisfied with the info Sandy gave you, you can grieve on Grievance Day. Grievance Day is scheduled for May 28th. On Grievance Day you appear before the Hartford Board of Assessment Review (BAR) and plead your case. This board is made up of Hartford citizens that were appointed to the position by the Hartford Town Board.

In order to grieve, you need to fill out a form and make an appointment before hand to grieve on Grievance Day. Denise Petteys, the Hartford Town Clerk has forms if you want to grieve on Grievance Day. These forms need to be filled out and returned by Friday May 24th.

It is very important to understand that you must grieve on Grievance day in order to preserve your right to appeal any decision made by the Board of Assessment Review. If you do not agree with the decision made by the BAR, you can continue your appeal to Washington County Small Claims Court for residential assessment or file an Article 7 appeal for commercial & non-residential properties. But, if you do not appear on Grievance Day before the BAR, you are not allowed to continue on to Small Claims or do an Article 7. An Article 7 is usually handled by an attorney.

Information on how to properly grieve will be on the forms that you pick up from the Town Clerk.

The following notice can be found on the Town of Hartford Website www.hartfordny.com and facebook page Town of Hartford.


The Board of Assessment Review will meet on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 between the hours of 3 pm to 5pm and 6 pm to 8 pm at the Hartford Town Hall, 165 County Route 23, Hartford, NY in said Town to hear and examine all complaints in relation to assessments, on the written application of any person believing himself to be aggrieved.



Town Wide Clean Up Day

Yesterday’s Hartford Clean Up Day was very successful with over 50 people and 10 pickup trucks participating.

This year we had an EWaste Collection day for the first time. This response far exceeded anything we anticipated. For a town the size of Hartford, the EWaste people dropped off 3 pallets and 3 Gaylords (4 foot tall heavy cardboard box on a pallet).

Greg Brown is supposed to call the EWaste people and inform them how much room they should reserve on the large panel truck when they do their pick up. Greg is going to tell them we need the entire truck.

There are two stacked rows of electronics in the highway garage each about 4 feet wide by 40′ long. We anticipate we have collected about 8 pallets and 14 Gaylords worth of electronics.

A few cars showed up packed to the brim with televisions and there are some TV’s that are unbelievably large and will not even fit on a pallet.

Next year’s Ewaste collection day will undoubtably be smaller because most of the town’s electronics stash is now sitting in the Highway garage.

Regards, Dana

Large fire simulation for Hartford

On Monday April 15th and Tuesday April 16th from 6:30 pm to 10 pm there will be training taking place in the back lot of the Hartford firehouse simulating an ethanol tanker fire.

The Washington County Haz-Mat team is stationed out of the Hartford firehouse.

NYS Office of Fire Protection and Control will be bringing in their flammable combustible liquids training truck. This is a tractor trailer tanker mocked up as an ethanol tanker. They will be able to set it on fire over and over again so that the firefighters can tackle different scenarios.

During this live burn training, there will be times of considerable fire load as well as heavy smoke which may be seen from some distance, this could cause concern for citizens not aware of the training since we are in the “burn ban” season, so please help spread the word.

Regards, Dana