Overpriced Parking Lot

Mayor Ann Thane expressed concern on the Bob Cudmore radio show (WVTL)
this morning when her proposal for the City to buy a vacant lot on 55-59 Bridge Street in Amsterdam for $45,000. was defeated by the Common Council last night, and rightly so.

Given our current economic situation, why would the City pay $45,000. of taxpayer money for a property with an assessed full market value of $4,500.?

What is the extra $40,500. for?

This type of spending is what helped put the City in poor fiscal shape. We cannot continue spending money we do not have. If a parking lot was needed for the South side project, it should have been figured into the plan and budgeted for accordingly.

Categories: Amsterdam, Politics | Tags: , , ,

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21 thoughts on “Overpriced Parking Lot

  1. Diane

    Thanks Jerry for the info, no wonder the mayor or GD did not want to answer that question when asked last night. That is a considerable profit.

  2. Alayne

    Can the city rent or lease the lot for parking space until the Chalmers building is knocked down? Maybe there is a reason this cannot be done, but it seems like it would make more sense than to purchase it for $45K it when there will space will be available soon.

    • The actual parking lot would have to be built. That cost would be in addition to the purchase price.

  3. Alayne

    Wondering why parking was never taken into consideration to begin with? Again, priorities, everyone was so worried about burying power lines (aesthetics) and no one thought about the parking situation (a necessity) !!!!!!!

    • robert purtell

      Just for the record, the value of the property is substantially more than the assesed value, and even then the equalization rate would have to be adjusted, traditionally vacant land does not carry large assesments.
      I can see the value being 25-30 k, but then again I am not in the market for a parking lot.

      • The assessed value is $3,000. while the full market value is $4,500. The assessed value reflects an equalization rate of 66.67% for the City of Amsterdam. (That is why I included the record)

        If the Amsterdam Assessor is that far off ($40,500.), we need to do a total revaluation!

        • robert purtell

          Land assesments are historically low in any city, if they were not and taxes were higher on the lots, the city’s would own every lot and it would drive down the real estate pricing in neighborhoods.
          You will have to take my word on the value of the lot, it is almost 3/4 of an acre with good road frontage, and real estate 101 on value is what a ready willing and able purchaser will pay and what a ready willing and able buyer will sell for.
          Assesments are not a reliable way to value real property, they are a way to distribute tha tax burden of the municipality.
          Just as an example, your home is assessed at 40,000 and I see you paid significantly more than that for it, I am confident you would not want to sell your home for 40k.
          Just sayin!

        • I had some first hand experience challanging assessments when I first bought my house, eventually winning a small claims assessment hearing. The necessary evidence used in the hearing was comparisons of property currently on the market (full market value) or currently sold. The goal of the Assessor is to get as close to that figure as possible. The equalization rate is applied to those areas not yet at 100% of assessed value. The property data sheet contains both the assessed and full market value.

          Can a realtor get more for a particular property? Of course. Did I overpay for my property? Yes, based on what I now know about property values in Amsterdam. Vacant lots are definately not selling for that amount in Amsterdam. Also on last nights agenda, the City sold two vacant lots to a private individual for $500.

  4. robert purtell

    Well this is what the difference is, the city has historically sold their lots for around 500 apiece, they are ussually small lots, 50x 100 and they are not great building lots, usually not in the best neighborhoods.
    Again I am not buying this lot or in the market for a building lot.
    The City is also known as a distressed seller.
    The fact of the matter is, if someone, say stewarts is looking to buy a lot that is in a “commercial” district, that has ample size to support their goal, and achieve the proper setbacks, it would not be unheard of for them to pay 25-30 k or more for the property.
    If I could buy that particular property for $4,500 dollars, I would consider it a great investment. If I wanted to build apartments there, I would not hesitate to pay 40k for the property.
    Please keep in mind two things:
    1 I never said that the city should pay 45k for the property (all I said was I thought the value of the property was between 25-30k)
    2 It was never my intent to say that you over paid for your property, as amatter of fact the pictures of your home on this site appear to be very nice.

    • I took no offense to your comment, and I m not judging your ability as a realtor. I just wanted to point out the large difference between the official full market value and the price the Mayor proposed to pay for it. Your points about property value are well taken. I guess the real question is (as Alayne stated) why do we need the vacant lots when the Chalmers building is slated to come down freeing up a lot of space that the City already owns.

  5. Diane

    Here is why we need that vacant lot: While Bridge street is torn up and when it is finsihed, there will be NO PARKING on the street, as it will be too narrow. Even with the Chalmers property down and a temporary lot put in, it would be just that, because hopefully someone is going to buy that property and develope it and the parking will be lost.

    While the mayor says they have been working on this for over two years, it was just presented to the council last month or the month before with no way to finance it. Now she and GD are claiming they can use some excess Bridge St. grant or bond money for the cost. However, since the mayor and GD were speaking away from the microphones, it was hard to hear this discussion. I am not sure where the money is coming from as a result. The mayor was not sure of several things last night and this was just one of them. There is an additional issue of the Enviromental that has to be done for 2000.00-6000.00 for the property. If it does not come up clean, then what?? I say do the enviromental first and only finalize if there is a clean enviromental. If it is dirty then the property owner would need to deal with it. Does anyone remember what has been on that lot in history??

    We should be equally concerned as there are some additional problems with the new budget, which has prevented me from obtaining a final one, per the city clerk. The controller has also been absent from the office, complicating things more.

    Now there is parking behind Parillos Sandwich shoppe that is owned by Altieri’s, but I understand he will not rent it temporarily, maybe someone can confirm or deny that. But no matter what, the city is going to need a parking lot down there somewhere, preferably on both ends of Bridge St and this should have been dealt with in the overall grant funding for the project and should have been dealt with sooner and not at the last minute trying to shove it thru.

  6. Robbie

    This city will do it, cause it has the right to do it and it is going to do it no matter what because it is a city and you are a peon and they can do it. Got it! lol

    • Easy for you to say, you live in Albany!

    • Diane


      The common council has tabled it twice and voted it down once. They must have the Common council’s approval to buy the lot, period.

      • Alayne

        Not so fast Diane, I just read that the mayor may play the veto card. What I do not understand is why the common council was not provided with all of the necessary information, such as the assessed value, an accurate amount needed for the environmental testing, and exactly where the money would be coming from. Instead they are pushed to make a rash and uniformed decision. And you are right Jerry, this type of thing is exactly what has gotten us into this mess!!!

        • Alayne

          Let it be known that I am definitely in favor of finding a solution to this problem as I am pro-business friendly, (and love both of these places and their owners) my hope is a less expensive solution can be found.

        • Diane


          Forgot about that little thing. But you are right, she can veto. It would be better if she had the correct and complete information after three meetings, she has not been able to answer any questions with facts. Her conversations with GD were not audible for the audience. Obviously, they do not want the public to know the real price of the lot. For some additional comments, see above about the price.

        • The Mayor can’t veto a resolution that failed to pass. Veto power is to override legislation approved by the Common Council, invalidating it, not validating a resolution that failed to pass.

  7. robert purtell

    A lease my be appropriate, but that still will cost real money and not have anything to show for it.
    Damn, if they only had used a Realtor!

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  9. I think an even better proposal is for the Amsterdam Urban Renewal Agency or Industrial Development Agency pursue this purchase and development as a parking lot. Both agencies have the authority to take on such a task.

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