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Bethlehem employees get free rent as caretakers

Cunningham described his caretaker duties as a sort of "park ranger" to oversee the riverfront park. Wickham looks over the park, which has restrooms, a pavilion and a boat launch, after hours and on weekends.

Bethlehem tax collector Nancy Mendick said no taxes have been paid on the property since 2006 when $65.47 was paid to the town.

The home has since been exempt from town taxes.

In Guilderland, the town has done away with allowing officials to reside in town-owned property in exchange for caretaker duties.

Guilderland Supervisor Ken Runion said that Guilderland had done so in the past, but that "we've kind of gotten away from that." He added that it was beneficial for historical properties in particular because of the maintenance needs involved.

"There were good purposes for it. You did get rent for the property," said Runion, who added that it's not uncommon. "The state does the same thing when they lease their recreational facility."

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