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Monday, August 30, 2010

Resident: Town Took What They Wanted and Walked Away reprinted from Troy Record

This is an article printed in The Troy Record.  It was copied and pasted here.  This story speaks for itself; see what you think.

Resident: Town took what they wanted and walked away
Published: Monday, August 30, 2010

By Dave Canfield
The Record

EAST GREENBUSH — Resident Sue Colatosti is still waiting for the town of East Greenbush to honor its end of a contract that was signed almost two years ago.
Colatosti’s half of the agreement that was signed on Sept. 24, 2008 was effective immediately: she voluntarily gave .69 acres of land she owned to the town to make a water retention basin to control water running to nearby creek. That basin was created, and it appears to be doing its job preventing flooding downhill in the city of Rensselaer, which at the time had experienced heavy flooding.
But in previous efforts to manage rainwater drainage, underground pipes were run, blocking access to sewer and water for a pair of empty lots Colatosti owns at the end of Vermont and New Hampshire avenues, she said. So Colatosti paid a lawyer thousands of dollars to draw up a contract. Under its terms, she would give the town an easement to run piping through her lots and give them the parcel for the basin. In exchange, the town would run water and sewer lines to her vacant land, which she hopes to sell to a builder once it has the added value of those connections.
The contract, signed on behalf of the town by Supervisor Rick McCabe, allows the town 12 months to complete that task. That’s a completion date of Sept. 24, 2009.
With the one-year anniversary of that deadline approaching, none of the work has been completed, Colatosti said recently as she walked at the site.
“It’s like they just took everything they wanted from me and then walked away,” she said.
In addition to running the water and sewer lines, the contract calls for the town to build a chain-link fence around the basin and a line of trees to block the unsightly view from Colatosti’s land and home, which is nearby on Vermont Avenue. That was supposed to be done no more than 60 days after the basin was completed, according to the contract she provided.
“Do you see any trees or fence? I don’t,” Colatosti said as she gestured towards the basin.
Before executing the deal, she had the land where it sits appraised. It was valued at $59,000.
“Do you know anyone else who donates $60,000 of land to the town? They didn’t even say thank you,” Colatosti said. “You know that old saying: ‘No good deed goes unpunished.’”
McCabe said the town worked hard to finish everything it can do on its end and has contracted remaining work to Poestenkill-based Chip Kronau Construction. He said the town has done nothing wrong.
The world’s not going to stop because something’s not done that she thought could be done right away,” McCabe said. “We’re doing the best we can. I think we’ve lived up to our end of the bargain, and we’re just waiting for the contractor to come in and do the work.”
Kronau, however, was not brought into the picture until after the September 2009 deadline. Colatosti said she saw the proposal go out for bidding in December in the legal notices in the newspaper.
McCabe’s response: “She didn’t seem all upset about that last year.”
For specifics on the project, he deferred to public works supervisor Chris Defruscio, who could not be reached Thursday or Friday.
Kronau, who Colatosti has been in contact with, was out of his office for several days and could not be reached about his timeline for the project.
The paved portion of Vermont Avenue ends at Colatosti’s land and continues as gravel to the basin. The contract says it was supposed to be paved.
Splotches of gravel, which she said were created by work done by the town at the site, dot the empty lots Colatosti hopes to eventually sell.
She has kept a record of every e-mail and phone call she’s made to the town. She could sue, she supposes, but then she’d wonder when the work would ever get done.
“I try to be reasonable, but I’ve got to look at it. Every day I see it,” she said. “That grates on you.”
Dave Canfield can be reached at 270-1290 or by e-mail at dcanfield@troyrecord.com.

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