To the Editor:
I attended a Village of Hoosick Falls board meeting last Tuesday evening at which time I spoke about the inaccurate information that has been disseminated to the press and community regarding the possible decrease in property values caused by PFOA contamination. [private]I explained that there is no factual information to support the belief that property values have decreased in the area as a result of the community’s current predicament. I conveyed information from a valuation expert who spoke at HAYC3 a few weeks ago. The expert commented that it wasn’t possible to determine if property values had gone up or down since not nearly enough time has passed. I spoke of conversations I have had with the local assessor who commented that everything regarding housing activity seems to be normal. Listings are hitting the MLS with homes being listed at or above assessed values (with the exception of foreclosure properties). He also said there are currently 11 contracts pending. Nothing seems to be out of the norm.
When I finished my statement, the Mayor commented that my information was good news. However, Ben Patten seemed to look at my commentary in a different light. He asked me if I had gone to the press with that information and intimated that it was my responsibility to go the press with this information. I felt like a trustee was attempting to scold me for addressing the community with my concerns regarding the false information that had been put out by the Village Board. At the time, I explained that I thought the Board should be putting out that information since it would likely mean more to people coming from the municipality. I also asked whether or not it was the Board that passed that erroneous information to the Governor. The Mayor did confirm that he did announce it at a Hoosick Rising meeting and he did pass it on to the Governor.
Now, I’d like to expound upon my answer to Mr. Patten. Mr. Patten indicated that I had an obligation to go to the press to get the word out regarding property values. I would like to say that I do what I can to help this community prosper. That includes leaving my family two evenings last week to speak at the Town and Village Board meetings. My family is always my number one priority even before my community. As to whether I believe it is my responsibility to run to the press, my answer is an emphatic NO. It is your responsibility. That is why I voted for you. If the Board had done its homework and not depended on one realtor’s opinion (per the Hoosick Rising meeting), it would not have spread inaccurate information regarding property values. If you had done your job, I would not be fielding countless questions from people anxious over a perceived decrease in the values of their homes. If you had done what you should have done, I wouldn’t have to take time away from my family to help clean up a mess you have created.
As an aside, I find it interesting that a trustee would prefer that I go to the press. When I last sat down (3 days before Christmas) with the Mayor and another trustee as part of a meeting with Healthy Hoosick Water, our group was vehemently scolded for talking with the press. Ironically, Mr. Engel had only been quoted for comments he made at public meetings, Dr. Martinez had said nothing negative and I had never spoken to the press at that time. Although Mr. Patten’s question last week was the only time in the past year I have heard him speak publicly regarding PFOA, I hope this addresses the concern he raised last evening. As always, if he or any trustee has any concerns regarding any of this information, please feel free to contact me. You can find me right in the middle of the community.
Concerned Citizen of Hoosick Falls and Hoosick[/private]