To the editor:
Tom Catillaz purports to be the champion of lower Harrietstown taxes. But ... Harrietstown voters should not forget Tom's actual, factual history with respect to Harrietstown taxes. Tom Catillaz is one of a small number of individuals who have actually been personally responsible for RAISING Harrietstown property taxes. Here's how that happened.
For many years, surrounding towns purchased fire and ambulance service from the village of Saranac Lake, and they all paid according to a formula which divided the costs in proportion to the amount of the service that each town received. That is how you buy most things in this country - you pay according to how much you use.
Then in 2005, when Tom was mayor of the village, he and his board realized that they owned a monopoly on critical fire and rescue services and that they could "stick it" to their customers (the neighboring towns) and charge them whatever they wanted for these services. Tom devised, championed and voted for a new plan which charged the village's neighbors not according to how much service they used but rather, it seems, according to how much they thought they could get away with.
For many years, this was negotiated ... until Tom's great friend, Clyde Rabideau, became mayor and, with Tom's support, friendly negotiation became a thing of the past. In 2005 Harrietstown taxpayers paid $64,500 for fire and rescue services purchased from the village. This year we are paying $269,700 for the same service, and we will pay even more next year! (Source: Harrietstown interim supervisor Barry DeFuria) Wow ... a 318 percent increase in that portion of our tax bill. Thanks, Tom!
Over the next 10 years, Tom's plan will likely cost Harrietstown taxpayers at least an additional $2 MILLION (if the $200,000-a-year increase continues).
So now Tom wants to claim the "high ground" with respect to Harrietstown taxes. After years of personally helping to raise Harrietstown taxes, he now says that he is going to do an about-face and lower taxes! To call that disingenuous is using too small a word.
If we elect Tom, I wonder what new "tax plan" he and his too-close friend Clyde will come up with next? Maybe Tom will suggest that Harrietstown should start paying a big chunk of the cost of the village police department ... for what in return? Maybe he will propose that, in the name of "cooperation," we should apply Harrietstown's profits from Dewey Mountain to help cover Saranac Lake's annual loss at Mount Pisgah?
Personally, I think that voting for Tom Catillaz would be like handing the Big Bad Wolf the key to your grandmother's front door!