Valley Viewpoints: Councilor addresses legislator’s questions

Questions answered

Legislator Frank Castiglia came to the Fulton Common Council meeting April 15, and if anybody had any doubts that he doesn’t know what he is talking about, he removed them.

He started out during the public session responding to a question posed to him by former Mayor Hayden regarding the different tax rates for Cayuga Community College.

Castiglia said Fulton has a higher rate than say Volney or Granby because we have more students living in Fulton. He then asked the mayor if we have anybody to verify that the students still live here.

The mayor told him that was a county function.

Okay, let’s review – the mayor had to tell a county legislator what the county’s function is. Reminds me of a previous meeting when he came and tried to tell us how to handle potholes.

Alderman Kenyon asked him what the county does with potholes. Legislator Castiglia intelligently said…..duh, I dunno. Maybe he should learn his own job before he goes around telling us how to do ours.

Now comes the public hearing on Aldi’s special use permit. Legislator Castiglia gets up and starts right out with his ridiculous questions.

He asked how much the property was going to be assessed.  If he knew anything about government he would know that March 1 is the taxable status date which is when the real property is assessed according to the price fixed as of the valuation date.

Like the mayor said, “you can’t assess a building that isn’t built yet.”  Frank, I don’t mind giving you lessons in county government but you could look this up yourself.

He went on to tell us: “right now the property is assessed at $2 million for the building.” The mayor corrected him and said: “for the entire complex.” Castiglia said: “no, no…(pause) for the entire complex, yes.”

He said in one breath the mayor was right and wrong.

At one point as he was talking about the zoning in the area he said: “the whole site wasn’t always industrial, Sixth Street always used to went all the way down to Kiwanis Park and was residential… it was residential so that area should actually go back to residential…that’s what the law says, if it’s left empty for a certain length of time it reverts back to its old zoning.”

Sorry Frank, that’s not the law, that’s a lie. There is no such law.

Then came the even more ludicrous questions. He asked how many employees they were going to employ. He asked what hours they would be open. Strupplers and Save-A-Lot are open until 9 p.m. while Wal-Mart and Price Chopper are open 24 hours, so I fail to see what difference it makes.

He asked where they would get their products. He asked if they will have fresh meat. He wondered about a “shopping cart patrol.”

All of these things are up to the store. These questions had absolutely nothing to do with the special use permit.

There was a gentleman in attendance that is the project manager and was willing to answer these questions, but Legislator Castiglia rudely dismissed him, which proves he didn’t care about the answers; he was just playing “gotcha” with the council.

Legislator Castiglia could have come to the Planning Commission meeting the night before and received those answers but of course, there were no cameras there.

Legislator Castiglia asked about a traffic study, which is premature at this point since there is no store there yet. If the police feel a traffic study is warranted then they will do one.

He said: “Fay St…. is almost a race track now and it may get bigger. My only concern is that you don’t have sidewalks on both of those streets, I don’t care to have sidewalks, if we had them, fine but we’re going to have walkers…..”

Did everybody get that? He said Fay Street is a race track but he doesn’t want sidewalks for the walkers.

Legislator Castiglia goes on to talk about stores that used to be on the east side referring to P&C. He said: “We had a store on the east side, we had P&C on the east side and we couldn’t support it.”

It wasn’t that “we” couldn’t support it, Penn Traffic, owner of P&C, went bankrupt and closed all the stores. You may have missed that, it was in all the papers.

During his speech Legislator Castiglia said: “If my wife was here tonight she’d be up here yelling at me because she, ya know, is 100 percent for a store coming in down there, an Aldi’s coming in down there.”

It’s sad to see that any county legislator would be against a new business coming into the area, but to have the legislator that represents the district be against it is even more shameful.

I guess he wants the people in his district to travel the 2½ mile round trip to Save-A-Lot, 3½ miles to Price Chopper,  4½ miles to Strupplers or 6½ miles to Wal-Mart.

Right after that statement he goes on to say: “I am voting the way the people, or I would say the way the people in the district are saying they want to see….”  I’m confused, when did he join the Common Council?

In his recent letter to the editor he wrote: “I didn’t think it was possible to obtain so little information from such a knowledgeable group about such an important issue.”

My response is: I didn’t think it was possible to have an elected official be so uninformed on the matters of zoning, assessment, special use permits, community colleges, county ways of fixing potholes, public safety and so many others things.

Jim Myers
Councilor, 4th Ward

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