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Hardy2

Letters to the Editor

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Insulting?


To The Editor's Wife,

I am compelled to respond to Karen Frederick's letter (A Family in Need?). In fact, out of the 13 houses sold or in contract as a result of the 2003 affordable housing lottery conducted by the previous administration, only 2 households contained East Hampton Town employees. One went to a village employee, 2 houses were sold to teachers, one an EHUFSD employee and the other works for one of the many private schools in our area. One household contains not one, but 2 bankers (yes, that is what it takes to buy even an affordable house in this crazy town). One house contains people lucky enough to make music for a living, 2 other households are purely private enterprise, another is a certified social worker for not-for-profits, and there is one chef, one spa director, and one professional landscaper. The fourteenth house is not yet in contract but no one in that household works for the town. Of course, there are secondary jobs in most if not all of the households described above including waiting tables, babysitting, life guarding, bartending, catering, counseling and gardening (I think that covers all of them). So, you can see the recipients of these houses are also willing to work for what they want. Please consider your accusations more carefully in the future; you are hurling them at fellow community members and you don't know whom you may be insulting.

It may have occurred to you that in 2003 the town board action allowed for 50% preference group, and yet only about 15% of the above mentioned are East Hampton Town employees. That is because the original preference determined group included public and private sector medical personnel and social workers, teachers, honorably discharged veterans, town and village employees and active members of the EMT and firefighter volunteer corps. They were, indeed, given a slight edge.

As for the lottery results from 2005, the Town is not in contract for any of the 9 houses yet and therefore the identities of the buyers are not yet public information. I hope to assuage your fears that they are all insiders receiving some sort of kick back or perk. We expect the home buyers to be 11% each: village employee, town employee, school personnel, restaurant staff, landscaper, not-for-profit, and self employed artist. The remaining 23% work in the construction industry. Many of these applicants also have secondary jobs. This may change until we go to contract.

The buyers met with the four builders on June 21st to select their models and to determine which house goes on which lot on Dayton Avenue, off of Queens Lane, in the Kings Town Heights North subdivision.

The houses will roughly cost between $152,000 and $235,000. No one buying a house through the town will own the land, therefore none of these properties will be worth $800,000. All buyers receive a 99 year lease. The town will always own the land. The houses are bought by the individual households directly from the builders. No town funds are spent on the individual homes.

Appreciations will be capped to track the CPI, currently about 3% per year. These houses will not appreciate the way previous projects have. For example, if today's buyer chooses to sell their home back to the Town after 10 years, a $200,000 house would appreciate to approximately $268,783 over the course of 10 years if the CPI holds steady. If the CPI increases dramatically, so too will other open market forces rise. The owners will receive an appreciation but will be paying a 6% +/- note. This program is designed to provide housing, not real estate investment opportunities, so that buyers through the program are able to live and work in East Hampton Town. And teach the children. And put out the fires. And mow the lawns.

I know this because I am the staff person most responsible for maintaining and protecting the information in the files of the applicants, prospective buyers, and owners. I have been involved with the process for both the 2003 and 2005 lotteries. I enjoy what I do and believe I am pretty good at it. This office takes very seriously the responsibility of safeguarding confidentiality. It is also a false assumption on your part that I am corrupt, incompetent or both. You probably know less about me than you do about the affordable home buyers.

Editor's Note: Dear Housing Director's Secretary: Of course you enjoy what you do if we didn't have a housing office you wouldn't have a job. By the way, tax dollars were used to purchase the land.

To give a town worker or school teacher a $200,000 house in an $800,000 neighborhood is an outrage to the rest of the working community, especially in the case of teachers, whose contracts will soon swell to $100,000 and who also feed from the taxpayers' trough.

In the case of town, village and school employees in your little game, the taxpayer buys the land, the houses are given to people paid by the taxpayers by a town board and housing department paid by taxpayers.

As for safeguarding confidentialities, your office will comply fully with the New York State Freedom of Information Act or we will sue you. By the way, how much are we, the taxpayers, paying you to write letters tooting your own horn on company time?

KATY CASEY, Administrative Assistant Office of Housing and Commu
June 27, 2006

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