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Sweden Town Council Members Don’t do Their Homework

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There are many good, hard-working Republicans in the Town of Sweden, but it seems that none of them are on the Sweden Town Council.

A study of what Town Council members have said publicly about tax exemptions in the town reveals that the members of the Sweden Town Council don’t know what they’re talking about.

That’s because they don’t bother to do their homework.Somebody tells them something, and they believe it without taking the time to find out if it is true.

For example, a month ago, not one member of the Sweden Town Council had any idea that the Sweden Town Assessor, Tony Eaffaldano, grants millions of dollars in 485-B business tax exemptions to properties in Sweden.

All five of the members of the Sweden Town Council erroneously believed that all the business tax exemptions in the town were Comida tax exemptions granted by Monroe County.

Supervisor Rob Carges and Council-woman Danielle Windus-Cook even made strange statements about tax exemptions during the February 11th Town Council Meeting.

They were totally wrong in February, and they are still totally wrong today.

While it’s true, that in 2013, Monroe County did grant three Comida tax exemptions in Sweden. At the exact same time, the Sweden Town Assessor granted seven 485-B Business Exemptions worth $6,417,530.

And nobody on the Sweden Town Council knew a frapping thing about it. They blame all the business tax exemptions on the county.

The town’s tax assessor grants more than six million dollars in tax exemptions, and not a single member of the Sweden Town Council had a clue that it was happening.

According to the New York State Comptroller’s Office, all 485-B tax exemptions statewide are granted by the town assessors.

But the members of the Sweden Town Council were totally unaware of that, until a resident told them that during the February 25th Town Council Meeting, two weeks after Carges and Windus-Cook made their erroneous statements.

It’s an embarrassing situation that leaves the Town Council members scrambling to save face with the public.

At the very beginning of the February 11th Town Council Meeting, immediately after the Pledge of Allegiance, Supervisor Rob Carges made the following error-laden statement.

“The other issue in that I’ve heard a little bit about is tax breaks for every other operation for whatever else, veterans’ benefits, or whatever. We have as a town, very little say in any of those. Many of those county ones were given not with our full approval. It just happens that they are given.”

Pro-Brockport has posted the video of the 02/11/14 Sweden Town Board Meeting on You Tube.

To understand just how ignorant the Town Council is about tax exemptions, all you have to do is:

  • Listen to is the first 3:05 seconds of the audio from that meeting.
  • Or drag the cursor to the right until the time under the video reads 2:27/42:58, then click the triangle button at the left bottom of the video box on the screen.

Then listen to the nonsense that Supervisor Rob Carges has to say about tax exemptions.

“We have as a town, very little say in any of those…. It just happens that they are given.”

Yeah, it just happens that they are given by the Sweden Tax Assessor, Tony Eaffaldano, who works for Rob Carges.

Yet neither Carges, nor the other members of the Town Council have any idea that the Tax Assessor is giving away millions of dollars in business tax exemptions.

If you watch the video, note how the other members of the Town Council sit there and accept what Rob Carges has to say as the truth.

It isn’t, but they don’t seem to know that, even though it is their job to know how the Sweden Town Assessor spends your money.

After public comment that night, Council woman Danielle Windus-Cook read a long rambling statement from college landlord Benton Hart, criticizing the proposed tax exemption for 60 Clinton Street as unfair to other property owners in the Town of Sweden.

It is very difficult to understand Windus-Cook on the video posted by Pro-Brockport, but if you are welcome to try. Her statement starts at 32:49/42:58 on the video.

The statement made it blatantly obvious that neither Hart nor Council woman Danielle Windus-Cook had any idea that the Sweden Town Assessor has been granting lucrative business tax exemptions to properties such as Abbott’s Ice Cream and Tim Horton’s Coffee.

You have to wonder if Benton Hart would say that those business tax exemptions are also unfair to the other property owners in the Town of Sweden.

Unfortunately, this ignorance about tax exemptions is not a new phenomenon. That same night, former Sweden Town Supervisor Pat Connors sent out an email that contained this false statement.

"FYI, the Town of Sweden did not give tax breaks to any business in the Town. The County did through COMIDA."
Pat Connors

WRONG!

Connors doesn’t have a clue that the Sweden Town Assessor grants all of the 485-B Business Exemptions, which are worth millions of dollars.

So it seems that there is a long history of the ignorance about tax exemptions among the past and present members of the Sweden Town Council.

Perhaps the ignorance is a direct result of the way the Sweden Republican Committee chooses their candidates for office through a Party Caucus, rather than having a Republican Primary.

Like most towns in Western New York, Sweden is solidly Republican. That’s neither good nor bad. That’s just the way it is, just as cities such as Rochester and Buffalo are solidly Democratic.

Sweden is a one party town and that’s a fact of life.

So the Sweden Republican Committee meets in private, chooses the Republican Party Candidates for town office, and those candidates always win.

Maybe that’s why nobody on the Sweden Town Council bothers to do their homework.

They don’t feel that they own their positions on the Town Council to the voters. They owe their positions on the Town Council to Jim Bell and the Sweden Republican Committee.

Ignorance is bliss. As long as the Sweden Republican Committee is satisfied, the members of the Sweden Town Council are satisfied.

So good luck in getting them to do their homework so they can vote intelligently on important matters the come before the Town Council for approval.

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