Nov 02, 2010 Gifford Duffy Uncategorized
There is something prophetic about the mayor of Manlius, in charge of one of Upstate’s most wealthy villages, driving around in a Mercedes in the wee hours pilfering bottles and cans from his constituent’s bins in violation of his own village’s by-laws. Oh yes it was for a noble cause – medication for his dog, long since passed away, but he’s got the fever and just received his second ticket in as many months. Now he’s being linked to pilfering at the fire station. Can anyone say obsessive-compulsion disorder?
But the village has a long history of employees caught with the proverbial “hand in the cookie jar.” You’ve heard the one that made it to the front pages, but there were others that were swept under the rug and quietly let go. How many more were never discovered? Bad management? Dysfunctional? A joke? All of the above. I’m waiting for Leno and Letterman to show up after the election because this village has become a laughing stock.
Let’s talk about the reality of the village of Manlius. As my 13-year-old daughter remarked a couple of years ago as she surveyed the empty and decrepit spaces along Route 92 in the village, “Gee Dad, Manlius is starting to look a lot like Syracuse!” No parking. No long term planning. No bypass to ease traffic congestion. Only one thoroughfare right through the middle of the village. Have you ever tried to exit Brueger’s at rush hour? Meanwhile south and east of the village keep building. Three beautiful waterfalls that are only accessible via private property. Recently a couple of the strip malls were refurbished by new owners out of New York City. Yet they still have vacancies.
The board spent lots of money on its “Vision Manlius” study. It’s no closer to reality than the day they commissioned it. A pipe dream. Talk to anyone in the know. And what’s with the $2 million in the budget surplus fund? That money belongs to the tax payers!
The amazing thing is the village and surrounding area has probably the highest average household income ($80,000-plus) in the county. Businesses would love to move into the village but it takes an act of God to get anything through the board. The parcel of land from the fire station to Stickleys, over to the P&C mall (Tops) and back could be generating millions if not tens of millions of tax revenue for the village and town. Prime real estate. Yet what we have is a police station and fire station that both need replacing, A new library, village offices, baseball fields on the hill that are so cold in April and May that kids play in parkas and snow caps, another field that is really a Canada goose toilet, a soccer field, oh and a swan pond that really looks more like a penitentiary for water-foul! How much money is the village putting into redoing the swan pond? They generate no tax dollars and could all be put somewhere else. Meanwhile all the other businesses in the area are undervalued due to the decrepit state of the village business environment. In any other area this parcel would be providing much needed property and school tax relief especially in light of the new county sales tax agreement that will skyrocket our property taxes over the next few years. Do you know that the village of Manlius is the most taxed place in the entire country? Well, okay, maybe top .0001 percent.
Back to the real pressing issues. Do you know that Marc Baum, who lost to Mayor Serafin in the last election and probably wants the mayor’s job, organizes fundraisers with the local bottle return company on Route 173 where you can return bottles and cans and have the proceeds go to the Manlius Democratic Committee? Now there’s an organization in desperate need of some change. Could it be that Mr. Baum does this to impinge on Mayor Serafin’s income? Then there was “Bottles for Boobs.” Mayor Serafin was not happy. Conspiracies? Rumor has it, cans and bottles have gone missing from the returnable station. Where’s Jon Stewart? Well at least Mayor Serafin is a good mascot for the village, he reminds us that the village of Manlius is not ready for the big bucks, just nickels and dimes. Recycle this village.
Fayetteville resident Gifford Duffy is a businessperson and purveyor of political acumen.
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