TO: Batchellerville Bridge Action Committee Members
FROM: Peter VanAvery
DATE: February 25, 2009

The Hudson River-Black River Regulating District's board did not meet in February. The next board meeting will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 10, at the Utica State Office Building, 207 Genesee Street, Utica.

The NYS Department of Transportation has officially rejected the two bids it received for the Batchellerville Bridge Replacement Project. While DOT has budgeted $39 million for the project, the lower of the two bids was for a whopping $64 million.

A DOT spokesman said that the agency might be able to obtain a lower and more competitive bid by adjusting the bridge's substructure design and other considerations. No schedule was given for a possible redesign process.

Unless the cost is brought down significantly, the Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC) will apparently not approve the replacement project. No Federal funds can be expended on such projects without the CDTC's OK.

The CDTC is the designated "Metropolitan Planning Organization" or MPO for the Albany-Schenectady-Troy metropolitan area. Every urbanized area in the U.S. with a population of over 50,000 must have an MPO for transportation in order to qualify for Federal funding. More than $100 million in Federal highway and transit funds are spent in the Capital District annually.

Each MPO provides a forum for State and local officials to discuss transportation issues and reach a consensus on plans and specific programs. The CDTC fulfills this purpose for four counties: Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga (where the bridge is located), and Schenectady.

The CDTC's Policy Board is composed of elected and appointed officials from the four counties, eight cities (Albany, Schenectady, Troy, Saratoga Springs, Cohoes, Watervliet, Mechanicville, and Rensselaer), DOT, various authorities and commissions, and at-large members representing the area's towns and villages.

As part of his 2009-2010 Executive Budget presented to the New York State Legislature, Governor David Paterson proposed a cap on tax payments on state land. This change would have a lasting and negative effect on nearly every Adirondack community. The following is extracted from a recent Action Alert issued by the Adirondack Council. You'll find a link to the full text at

"The Governor's proposed budget would permanently 'cap' the amount of property taxes the state pays on land it owns at 2008 levels. This would disproportionately affect the Adirondack Park, where nearly half of its six million acres is owned by the state. Currently, the state pays about $70 million in taxes to counties, towns, villages, school districts and special taxing districts in the Adirondacks.

"By limiting the amount of of tax payments the state makes to localities, every landowner in the Park will suffer the consequences. In at least one town, it is estimated that with the cap in place, a five percent increase in spending would result in an over 30 percent increase on property taxes on non-state owned land!

"This proposal is fundamentally flawed. Since 1886, the state of New York has been paying full taxes on its property in the Adirondacks. New York has seen difficult financial times, but has never failed to pay its full taxes on this land. The state should continue to make these tax payments now and in the future."

This is a pocketbook issue that will impact you, so complain now or pay later.. The budget is now in the hands of the NYS Legislature. Tell your state Assemblymember and Senator to reject the Governor's proposal to cap tax payments the state makes on the land it owns in the Adirondacks and other parts of the state. If you are an Adirondack Park seasonal resident, be sure to include your Park address.

Also send letters to the following:

Assemblyman Herman Farrell
Assembly Ways and Means Chair
NYS Assembly
Albany, NY 12248

Senator Carl Kruger
Senate Finance Chair
NYS Senate
Albany, NY 12247

Senator Liz Krueger
Senate Finance Vice-Chair
NYS Senate
Albany, NY 12247

Senator Antoine Thompson
Senate Environmental Conservation Chair
NYS Senate
Albany, NY 12247

Assemblyman Robert Sweeney
Assembly Environmental Conservation Chair
NYS Assembly
Albany, NY 12248

The lake's level is at 747.9 feet above sea level -- about 1 foot below target.