MILTON – The New York State Association of Sheriffs, as well as another unnamed party, are interested in assisting the town with purchasing the Boyhaven property.
Councilman Benny Zlotnick announced Tuesday night’s special meeting that two “very reputable organizations” have expressed interest in assisting the town with the purchase of Boyhaven, one of which is the NYS Association of Sheriffs.
The Sheriffs currently hold a six-week long camping event at Keuka Lake, of the Finger Lakes, each year for around 1,000 underprivileged kids.
“When [the Sheriffs] heard about Boyhaven being shut down they inquired this week if we would be interested in some type of arrangement,” Zlotnick said. “Every county in the state gets to send kids to [the Cayuga camp] … Sheriff Zurlo said he sends 25 kids every year … a gentleman that I spoke to said that if they had another location that was closer … it would be easier on the kids.”
“I know nothing happened this week and a lot of you are dissapointed, as am I. We’re going to just wait and see what [TRC] says … I know this isn’t news that a lot of us wanted to hear, but we’re trying to be open and honest with everybody.”
Town Supervisor Scott Ostrander added that the Sheriffs’ were “very, very interested” after taking a tour of the property with Councilwoman Barbara Kerr and Councilman John Frolish.
Tuesday night’s special board meeting was scheduled a week after the board voted to allow for Councilman Benny Zlotnick, who is now leading negotiations on the town’s behalf, to spend up to $20,000 in negotiating a purchase extension with Twin Rivers Council (TRC).
The money would pay for costs TRC will incur over the 90 day period for a permissive referendum vote, which would be necessary if the town opts to restructure its budget and reallocate money needed to complete the deal.
Milton currently has $500,000 in loaned money ready to be spent on the property but will need to court other interested organizations in order to acquire the funds necessary to reach the Scouts’ 1 million dollar asking price.
Saratoga PLAN, a non-profit conservation group, is currently operating a fundraising campaign to assist the town with the purchase and has raised over $120,000 in pledged donations.
Councilman Zlotnick, a life-long affiliate of the Scouts, read aloud an official statement from TRC regarding the town’s attempt to negotiate a purchase extension.
“[TRC] is currently evaluating all of its options for Camp Boyhaven. No decisions have been announced at this time. The council understands the town’s interest in receiving your response to their offer and we will do so as soon as feasible.”
Zlotnick chuckled as he told the anxious attendees that, “We didn’t [choose] a great week to put an offer in … a major portion of their board is at [the National Convention of Scouting Executives].”
The second organization interested in the property, according the Zlotnick, “asked to wait until they speak to their board,” before being officially named as an interested party.
Questions still remain regarding the DEC’s interest in purchasing the property and at which assessed value. If the town were to purchase the property and deem in a passive park, the value of the land would decrease significantly.
Zlotnick told The Journal after the meeting that the DEC is willing to purchase “as much as the town is willing to sell,” before being corrected by Councilman John Frolish.
The only official statement made bythe DEC is that they “have interest” in the property and seeing the land conserved. No acreage or purchase price have been detailed by the DEC, though previous reports have misreported this information.
Costs incurred by the town after purchasing the property have also not yet been evaluated, nor has the option of splitting these costs with potential part-owners been considered.
Frolish told The Journal, “It’s too hard to answer yet accurately,” a sentiment which epitomizes the current state of financing this deal .
More information related to the Boyhaven deal is expected to be announced at the town’s regularly-scheduled board meeting on Wednesday, May 30 at 7 p.m. at 503 Geyser Rd.
How do you feel about the Boyhaven deal? Tell us in the comment section below…