B y Jaime Thomas
Ending a 20-year ordeal between the town of Hartford and Washington County, the nearly 500 acres slated to be the Eldridge Lane landfill will be up for sale.
Officials are tentatively planning to sell the spot as three different lots on an online auction.
The county purchased three separate parcels in Hartford in the early 1990s, for a landfill that was essentially never used. Hartford Supervisor Dana Haff said the county owned a burn plant in Hudson Falls, and therefore owned the resulting ash. The plot in Hartford was supposed to be for the ash, but the landfill was never built or employed.
“That has cost the county and tax payers a million dollars a year, because it never got used,” Haff said. When the three pieces of land—Howard and Elinor Burch’s 240 acres, Leonard Moore’s 130 acres and Andrew and Emily Boros’ 115 acres—originally sold, the property rate was low. However, the county paid $2,000 per acre for the plots.
“The county gave them an offer they could not refuse, because the county was going to make a lot of money. They didn’t make the money,” Haff said.
“That’s our tax dollars at work,” said Councilman Robert Dillon.
Mark Miller, Hartford’s code enforcement officer, echoed Haff’s sentiments that selling the land will put it back on the tax roll.
“The sale will put an end to that; then we can start drawing in some tax money,” he said.
Meanwhile, the county was supposed to be making regular payments to Hartford for the land. But an issue arose last year when Haff took issue with the county for failing to offer these PILOT (Payment in lieu of taxes) amounts for a number of years. After months of meetings and litigation about the issue, the two sides came to an agreement in April.
The county agreed to pay a $40,000 lump sum settlement to the town is on top of $126,340 the town and school had already received from the county since 2011.
Washington County has a lien that requires them to give half of any money from a sale to Warren County, but as of Dec. 31 Warren County has no say in the process. And though one of the parcels is currently landlocked, Haff said the supervisors are planning to move property lines to give it road frontage.
“Hopefully in September the county will no longer be the owner of this property,” Haff said.
Also at the meeting, the town board voted in Amber Mercure Lindgren as youth commission alternate to finish out an unfulfilled term.
Haff said both Lindgren and the other candidate, Adam Fish, were very qualified and well liked by the board, and officials hope Fish will apply again at the next opportunity.