Dear New York State Senator Tom Libous:
Dear New York State Assemblywoman Donna A. Lupardo:
I am writing to request your support in passing legislation being introduced by Senator Elizabeth “Betty” Little and Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward to correct the injustices and conflicting title claims in Township 40 in Hamilton County. Please contact their staff with any questions you have on the legislation per se.
I am directly affected by the practices of the State of New York during the 1800’s that have led to the current “contested title” situations of today. Some New York State Court of Appeals holdings:
· During the 1800s New York State conducted numerous illegal tax sales involving the entire township. [The comptroller directed no taxes be paid, then conducted a tax sale since taxes hadn’t been paid. The current owners were not allowed to pay taxes due, and were physically barred from attending the tax sales.]
· None of the proceeds of several of the tax sales were entered into the accounts of the state.
· In 1896, the State of New York had legal title to NO land in Township 40. [In 1896 the State was gifted 1000 un-surveyed acres by Dr. Webb.]
· After each tax sale the purchaser subdivided the township, often selling the same land multiple times. [Sometimes the new purchaser sold the same plot to different people at different times.]
Many title extracts go back before the existence of the State of New York, but because of the multiple sales the title chain is confusing (to say the least). This issue has been festering for 175+ years since the first tax sale about 1832.
Raquette Lake has approximately 135 voters with a median income of $25,000 to $30,000 a year. The really rich folks sued NYS years ago and have clear title. Interestingly enough, SUNY Cortland is the largest land owner with over 200 acres of ‘contested land’.
Senator Little and Assemblywoman Sayward and their staffs and supporters have spend hundreds of hours determining the history of every current taxpayer’s property in the Township. They also have spent hundreds of hours negotiating with the AG’s office, DEC, environmental groups and the Governor’s office to reach a workable solution to the problem.
Raquette Lake is not totally unique. The extent of the collusion is unique. There are several other areas that have ‘title issues’ and the best solution is to amend the constitution to allow NYS to resolve these claims within the forest preserve currently prohibited by Article 14.