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Why the Buto offer is not higher

July 2, 2014

I feel compelled to bring a major flaw in the thinking of the Sullivan West School Board (SWSB) to your attention and hopefully to the attention of your readers.

Regarding the Narrowsburg School purchase, people are being told that the SWSB is “required by law” to accept the highest offer. They then go on to evaluate the Buto offer and claim it is higher, but simple math shows otherwise. The Weiden offer is for the school building alone. The other 14 acres are not included in their offer. The Buto offer is $9,000 more than the Weiden offer, but it does include the separate 14 acres. So we are not comparing offers as between two identical parcels of real estate. Does the school board view the 14 acres as being worth only $9.000? If so, that is ridiculous. Any quick survey of vacant land in Narrowsburg would reveal that land in that area is approximately $7K to $10K per acre, meaning the secondary parcel is worth between $100K and $140K.

Readers should recall what happened with the secondary parcel when the school board sold the main building in Fremont on Route 97 (the former middle school). The ancillary acreage was 67 acres and sold for $205K. The land in Narrowsburg is in a better area and land values are higher there. Also, the land is potentially commercial property and should be appraised even higher there. Also, the land is potentially commercial property and should be appraised even higher on that basis alone.

Also, a purchase of 67 acres benefits from “bulk type wholesale pricing,” otherwise known as a quantity discount. The 14 acres, although sizeable, would not, in my opinion, be valued at the same price per acres as the $205 parcel. Once again, any reader can spend an hour on the Internet verifying this part of my letter. Example: A 5-acres parcel of non-commercial land in Narrowsburg can be had for as low as $30K ($6K per acre), but a 70-acre parcel can be had for $280K ($4K per acres). Land is just l8ike anything else sold in varying quantities: The more you buy the cheaper it gets on a per acre basis.

(Also in Fremont, after the said 67 acres was sold for $105K, I believe the man who bought it resold it quickly for a tidy profit and the actual sale price is not known.)