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Otis Bridge fate should be decided assessment

To the editor: At the Dec. 27 Board Of Supervisors meeting, Mr. Scozzafava stated that Essex County should listen to the property owners with the highest assessments when deciding whether to replace the Otis Bridge. The owners of the forest land on the East side of Otis bridge are assessed at $292,040. In 2007 Essex County only collected $2,162 in property tax on this forest land. The five summer camps, on the east side of the Otis Bridge, are assessed at $928,700 and in 2007 Essex County collected $8,429 in taxes. Members of the Otis Mountain Camp & Home Owners Association with property on both sides of the Otis Bridge have an assessed value of $1,388,700 and Essex County collected $11,193 in 2007 property tax. If assessment matters, as Mr. Scozzafava stated, the camp owners & home owners should be the ones to decide what happens to the bridge, since they pay the most in taxes not the woodland owners. Regarding the woodland owners, Mr. Scozzafava said If they want to log that property, that's their right. Why should they be prohibited from logging their land?" We believe the forest owners should be able to log their land, but the taxpayers shouldnt pay for a 40 ton bridge so they can log. The woodlands owners have another way of getting their logs off Otis Mountain. They have recently received a DEC permit and cut a new road into their land from the Simonds Hill Rd. This road cost the taxpayers nothing. Why does Essex County want to spend so much money to build a bridge for landowners who pay so little in taxes? No one wants to abandon the Otis Bridge. Our association has always been committed to preserving and maintaining the Otis Bridge. Every bridge replacement in Essex County doesnt have to be a forty-ton bridge. The county recently approved the repair of the Old Chesterfield Bridge bringing it back to a three-ton limit. Harry Otis Gough
Elizabethtown

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