To the Valley News:
I’ve struggled to find the right word, but I suppose it has to be “gall.” It’s in the context of describing the costly Otis Bridge drama, and the outrage of Harry Gough.
Harry and Elizabethtown Supervisor, Margaret Bartley, want credit for donating dirt to the E’town golf course, which came from the base of the new Otis Lane. The new Otis Lane was paid for by the taxpayers of Essex County to replace part of the original Otis Lane. Roughly 500 feet of the original Otis Lane will become the private driveway of Margaret and Harry. It took 8 years of protest and litigation from them to cause this to happen.
Harry’s outrage stems from my incorrect statement regarding the current ownership of the new Otis Lane. I had stated the Town owned the new road, but looking back at the Oct. 2010 original contract I see that the County has the new road until the bridge and road construction are complete. Then the new road will be transferred to the Town, but only if “the Town of Elizabethtown agrees to the abandonment and closure of the present Otis Lane.” The old road will then become Margaret & Harry’s private driveway. Sweet!
Margaret and Harry signed the contract that acknowledges the old Otis Lane is “ a town road known as Otis Lane.” Harry is determined that the Town never owned the old road, however, the taxpayers have maintained it for the last 99 years as a Town road.
Harry also states a 50’ wide new road is needed to facilitate logging. I don’t believe that to be true, but even if it were I‘d think simply widening the old road would be cheaper for the County taxpayers.
So, to summarize, the County taxpayers get hosed big time by a more expensive bridge ( than in 2005); expensive litigation; an expensive new road; and an expensive relocation of the old lead painted bridge to Westport. Margaret & Harry get a nicely maintained private drive; plus they want kudos for giving County dirt to the E’town golf course, and providing us with a maintenance nightmare for the fairgrounds, requiring County tax dollar’s that we don’t have.
On second thought, maybe “chutzpah” is the right word?
Ken Fenimore, Elizabethtown