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Tax District dropped for townwide plan to fix drainage

Guilderland GOP robo-calls McKownville residents, supervisor says change not political

— “The tax was unnecessary and it didn’t solve a problem and it should be opposed,” Matthew Nelligan, chairman of the town Republican Committee, said.

Nelligan, who lives in McKownville, agreed repairs should be made to address drainage issues in the neighborhood, but disagreed with the approach to levy a new tax on hamlet residents.

Don Reeb, president of the McKownville Improvement Association, previously said more than 400 of the hamlet’s 600 residents signed a petition asking for the drainage district. Of the people reached, Reeb had estimated around 25 people expressed opposition.

Nelligan claims when Reeb had visited his home he had pitched the idea to his wife, but didn’t make it clear the petition aimed to levy a new tax. Once Nelligan read the petition and realized what was being proposed he opted to not sign it.

“It is completely false to say the McKownville residents wanted to tax themselves,” Nelligan said.

Reeb could not be reached for comment before The Spotlight went to press.

Nelligan claimed if the town raised $50,000 annually through the district it would take 124 years to complete repairs outlined under the town’s plan.

A Delaware Engineering report estimated completing all needed repairs across four target areas would cost $6.7 million. The town also has $500,000 available for McKownville projects through a member item from Sen. Neil Breslin.

The plan chiefly involved creating new catch basins, adding residential sump pump connections and methods to redirect stormwater to several downstream detention basins. Some streets would also be milled to lower its elevation to improve drainage.

The drainage district designation was also said to allow the town to apply for additional federal and state grant opportunities.

Even if the town used the full $100,000 allocated for stormwater repairs, Nelligan contested it “would not fix the problem for many years.”

Runion said his change to approach repairs wasn’t politically motivated and it was the fairest solution for residents. He said hamlet residents were pleased with the decision.

“There are people would like to make this political,” Runion said. “This shouldn’t be a political thing. We have people that are losing their basements. We have people with mold in their house. We have people with swamps in their backyards. … This is something that we ought to all be working together to help people maintain their quality of life and keep up their property values.”

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