Yet last month, the Village Board made a dramatic about-face on the issue and agreed to extend water and sewer lines out to the Town so Lowe’s could tap into them. Given the Village Board’s steadfast refusal to do exactly this over the past several years, one wonders, why the sudden change of heart?
Call me cynical, but I’m thinking the decision has something to do with Lowe’s offer to take the $200,000 it would have spent building an on-site water and sewer system and give it to the Town and Village instead. The Times-Journal essentially interpreted this move as a good will gesture (June 4 2008, “Cobleskill Finally Gets Water Deal”). I, however, interpret it as a pay-off.
According to the Times-Journal, Lowe’s developer Rob Jess made the announcement of his decision after the Town and Village came together and made this deal. However, Jess must have insinuated or just came and told Town and Village officials that they would get the 200K if Lowe’s got the water.
It’s interesting that Lowe’s chose to take the position that it did not need village water and sewer; though it obviously wanted it. Given the developer’s eagerness to obtain Village services, I have to believe that building their own water and sewer systems would have presented complications and potential costs far exceeding the $200,000 to be given to the Town and Village. Let’s not forget that with water and sewer hook-ups, the site becomes more valuable as it can be marketed to more potential businesses such as restaurants.
For three years the Village Board has maintained a wise policy of requiring annexation for projects interested in receiving Village services. This reversal makes a mockery of local government and democracy and indicts the character of all the local officials who signed on to the deal. This clearly demonstrates that our local community is for sale. What a disappointment.