Land Fulton County was purchased for $ 520,000 in the fall and valued at $ 721,000 in 2016


A planned but never executed subdivision of the 35.15 acre property in the city of Northampton, which was bought by Fulton County in October for 520,000 US dollars to build the Great Sacandaga Lake History Museum, was made in 2016 for a total of 721,000 Valued at US dollars.

In response to a New York State Freedom of Information Law request from The Leader-Herald and The Daily Gazette, Fulton County officials provided 2016 assessment documents and a letter from the assessor setting out his estimated value for each part of the potential subdivision of the Country was specified.

Fulton County officials announced in October that the county is purchasing 33 acres near Great Sacandaga Lake with funds drawn from the $ 10.4 million federal grant it received from Congress-approved and signed American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) was granted to President Biden in March of 1.9 trillion US dollars. However, a copy of the sales contract states the size of the property at 35.15 acres.

The Fulton County Board of Directors voted 16-1 in August to approve the Destination: Fulton County strategic plan to use federal funds, which included $ 1.2 million to build a new, state-of-the-art museum and recreational facility Present the story of the modern engineering marvel that created the Great Sacandaga Reservoir. $ 600,000 went towards the purchase of real estate, engineering, and design, while the other $ 600,000 went towards building the museum.

Almost immediately, the plan sparked some controversy after Fulton County’s Sheriff Richard Giardino proposed that the county convert the retirement program for its sheriff’s alternates from 25 years of service to 20 years prior to receiving a full pension, at a lead-in price of US $ 880,000 – Dollars or lower payments for an overall higher cost over several years.

Some proponents of the pension plan change have said that spending federal funds on economic development projects like the Northampton Museum or the Parkhurst Field Foundation’s “Field of Dreams” baseball project is reckless with the Parkhurst Field Foundation little league’s request to keep it Deputy sheriff through reforms to improve their retirement program.

However, district officials note that federal regulations in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 prohibit spending the money on employees’ retirement plans.

Fulton county administrator Jon Stead said the county board of directors had debated the possibility of building a Great Sacandaga Lake History Museum for years, but it was federal funding that proved to be the catalyst for the property’s purchase.

“The fact that the ARPA money came up all at once and suddenly went to all of these communities pushed the project forward in a different way,” said Stead. “We wouldn’t have [gone] Forward. We needed the money. “


The property’s valuation in 2016 was conducted by state-certified real estate appraiser Robert Whittaker of the Whittaker Appraisal Group in Clifton Park.

Whittaker worked on behalf of the three previous owners of the 35-acre property: Richard E. Smith, 1 Las Olas Circle, PH2, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Robert L. Smith, with a listed address of PO Box 152, Northville, and Cynthia C. Huntley, 1 Brumwich Road, New Hartford, Oneida County.

According to a June 24, 2016 letter from Whittaker to Richard E. Smith and Robert L. Smith – mailed to 386 Seven Hills Road, Northville, listed as Smith’s address – Whittaker provided estimates for two “proposed” commercial subdivisions of the main package, which he described it as 35.15 acres (SBL # 31.2-1-1) on State Highway 30 in Northampton. Whittaker estimated both of the potential commercial divisions at $ 175,000 each.

“I have personally viewed each of the properties, conducted market research, and made a final estimate of the market value for each property,” Whittaker wrote. “Most of the weight and attention was devoted to a sale on 2480 State Highway 30 in Mayfield, NY. That sale was on March 28, 2015 for $ 220,000. It was a 1.60 acre property that was equipped with a single family home. After the closure, the single-family house was demolished and the area opened up for commercial use for a shop. After adjustments to differences in topography, location and site size, a final appreciation for each of your suggestions [subdivision] Packages cost $ 175,000. “

Whittaker goes on to say in the letter that “This letter is viewed as an evaluation of all of the two commercial packages mentioned. If you need individual reports for each property, please let me know. “

Fulton County provided the Leader-Herald with two Whittaker appraisal reports, one for the largest section of the parcel, 25 acres valued at $ 230,000, and one for a smaller 7 acre theoretical subdivision of the land valued at $ 141,000 Dollar was valued. No further documents were submitted after June 24, 2016 to support Whittaker’s assessment of two additional 1.5 acre subdivisions.

Stead provided a written summary of what the county understands by Whittaker’s assessment of four theoretical subdivisions of the 35.15 acre property:

• Segment 1 – 25 acres, $ 230,000
• Segment 2 – 1.5 hectares, $ 175,000
• Segment 3 – 1.5 hectares, $ 175,000
• Segment 4-7 acres, $ 141,000


Stead said Monday that Fulton County will no doubt need additional sources of funding before it can build the Great Sacandaga Lake History Museum. He said the county has already completed part of the estimated $ 80,000 cost of clearing the property, including demolishing dilapidated buildings on the property, removing debris, doing rough grading, and putting up signage to secure the site for the winter season. He said he anticipates the county will retain architectural and engineering firms to begin planning the project in the first few months of 2022.

“We didn’t really have a full-time line in place for this,” he said. “This project was talked about for a long time, but we always knew we would need funding. We might need more funding at some point based on the product cost and the inflation we see in construction products and things like that. We’ll likely do it in stages with a smaller initial stage and then add it as collections [of funding] grow, something like that. “

Stead said he believes Whittaker’s estimates and the county’s plans for the site make it clear that the county didn’t pay too much for the package.

“We just had the feeling that we had a fair price with the proximity to the lake and the proximity to an important federal highway.”


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