Monday, May 6, 2013

Building Blocks Day Care Eviction?

According to the 4/23/13 minutes of the BGT Committee of the PCS Board of Education, "a request was made to bring the eviction discussion before the full board at the 5/14 meeting." The Building Blocks Day Care (BBDC) lease expires on May 12, 2013. Apparently some problem must have arisen for the issue of eviction to be discussed in committee.  The committee minutes note, somewhat ambiguously, that "A visitor to the site indicates that they may not be ready based on little reconstruction." Presumably, a reference to the preparedness of the new BBDC site.

The end of this ten-year lease (the second of two ten-year leases), brings to a close (for Potsdam Central anyway) a legal agreement made twenty years ago among three parties: Potsdam Central, the Village of Potsdam, and BBDC.

Even twenty years ago, the serious fiscal problems facing the day care made one wonder how day care officials hoped to repay hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Village. Well, predictably, they didn't. The Village Board took action to forgive all the mortgage interest and put past interest payments toward the principal. However, money (BBDC's remaining mortgage obligation) is still owed to the Village.

Potsdam Central taxpayers came close to being liable for any remaining BBDC mortgage obligation (that PCS attorneys predicted would still exist at the end of the second ten-year lease) but, fortunately, eleven years ago Richard and Jane Hollister notified the district of its exposure and pressed the district to take action to protect PCS taxpayers. School officials, under pressure from the Hollisters who were prepared to appeal to the NYS Commissioner of Education, then drew up legal documents to ensure that the taxpayers of the PCSD did not have to assume any unpaid BBDC mortgage liabilities once the building became the property of the school district.

Potsdam Central is now days away from owning the BBDC building but talks of eviction by BOE members seem to signal further problems in a twenty-year relationship that was laden with bankruptcies, misuse of school district funds, and other legal problems. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are likely to go unpaid to the Village.

Additionally, according to the BGT Minutes, "Estimated $350,000 debt schedule for anticipated improvements was discussed along with potential payment schedule." So, the PCSD appears poised to spend $350K on improvements to the building but, one wonders, why was the building allowed to fall into such disrepair? Was BBDC obligated to keep the building in good repair? In 2009 the BBDC spent $50,000 on 29 acres of land (ostensibly to build another center - something that did not occur). Should that money have been better used to keep the existing building in proper repair or to help pay off mortgage obligations to the Village?

The BOE will be discussing eviction at its upcoming meeting and there are many questions that should be asked and answered but getting full and complete answers about the BBDC, as it impacts the PCSD, has never been easy for the public.

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