WAVERLY — Tense words were traded this week during the Waverly Board of Trustees’ regular meeting as officials disagreed on the shoveling of sidewalks for village properties currently owned by the Tioga County Land Bank.
The issue arose following last week’s winter storm that left residents with lots of snow to shovel and many roads to be plowed. But in the case of several of the parcels owned by the land bank, those shoveling duties were picked up by village employees — which perturbed Trustee Jerry Sinsabaugh.
“Why should we be doing that?” he asked. “Those properties are off the tax rolls right now. I don’t think we should be doing that. Our tax dollars to pay our employees shouldn’t be going to that.”
Mayor Patrick Ayres disagreed, stating that the purpose of the land bank was to get dilapidated properties back on the tax rolls, and that he thought providing the shoveling services was a showing of a “good, in-kind service.”
“The land bank ran into a problem with one of the properties here that wound up costing it a lot of extra money to demolish that it had not budgeted for,” he said. “I wasn’t able to bring it to the board because of the timing of the storm, so I made the executive decision to send our guys over there to help out the land bank.”
The land bank currently owns the following parcels:
• 112 Park Place
• 35 Lincoln St.
• 452 Cayuta Ave.
• 108 Park Place
• 530 East Chemung St.
• 457 Fulton St.
• 207 Howard St.
• 127 Providence St.
• 429 Chemung St.
“The maintenance on those properties are the land bank’s responsibility,” Sinsabaugh said. “My concern also is will this extend to mowing?”
“We didn’t mow them last year,” said Ayres.
“We didn’t shovel them last year, either,” replied Sinsabaugh.
Nevertheless, Ayres reiterated that the long-term benefits of the land bank putting formerly blighted properties on the tax rolls would outweigh any relatively small investment or assistance the village puts forward in the meantime.