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Cutliff Grove’s request shows a profound lack of preparation

By   /   March 4, 2013  /   Comments

Back when I was in the Navy, I had a Chief that used to tell us, “Lack of preparation on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.”  I took that to heart.  Oh, I screw up from lack of preparation.  I’m human, but I do my best to not expect others to make it an emergency on their part because of my own screw ups.  I only wish someone at Cutliff Grove had spent some quality time with Chief Constant during their lives.

For those who’ve missed it, Cutliff Grove is back before the City Commission.  After everything they’ve done to this community, they are now asking for a restructuring of their debt for the New Jerusalem Village.

According to Latoya Cutts, who was the Community and Economic Development Director, they need the restructuring so as to take care of some repairs. She told the Albany Herald, “They don’t have the cash on hand to make both. And they can’t raise rent like you would in a typical housing complex. HUD sets the standards (less than 80 percent of area median income) for eligibility, and no person who lives in the complex may pay more than 30 percent of his or her income for rent and utilities.”

Maybe they can’t raise the rent, but clearly they didn’t plan accordingly when they first took over the property.

Folks, I speak from experience here.  If you take on something like a business, and running a property like this is very similar to running a business, you need to plan on things like repairs to the property and such.  Especially when they know they can’t raise the rent.  A failure to correctly account for things like this is part of why the Journal is in such a tough spot.

The difference is, I haven’t asked anyone to just forgive money I owe.  Cutliff Grove, as part of their “restructuring” of their obligations, wants the city to forgive 50 percent of what is owed.  Now, maybe it’s just me, but that takes some real brass ones.  Now, City Attorney Nathan Davis doesn’t think the city actually can do that, but what if they could?  Well, frankly, it would still be wrong.

That money is taxpayer money.  It’s not the city’s money.  It’s our money that has been placed in the city’s hands to manage for the betterment of all Albanians.  Frankly, they’ve sucked at doing it for a while.  Even the HUD grants that places like Cutliff Grove seek to take advantage of comes from taxpayer’s money.  It’s wrong to just forgive money like that when we are the ones left on the hook for it.

Someone involved in the management of this property dropped the ball in planning.  I hate it for them, but they did.  Now, they need to find some other way to cover expenses.  This is something I have the most profound sympathy with, as I had to do the same when we halted print operations for the Journal.  However, the difference is, I’m not asking my creditors to forgive half of what I owe just so I can keep operating a flawed model.

So what can be done?  Look, I have no issue with restructuring the debt.  I have a serious problem with the idea that we should forgive half of the principle because they screwed up and forgot to account for maintenance in their business plan.  A lack of preparation on their part does not constitute an emergency on the City of Albany’s part, so why should they get a free pass?

Tom Knighton is the Editor and Publisher of the Albany Journal.

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About the author

Owner / Editor / Writer

Tom Knighton is the publisher of The Albany Journal. In November, 2011, he became the first blogger to take over a newspaper anywhere in the world. In August of 2012, he made the difficult decision to take the Journal out of print circulation and become an online news agency, a first for the Albany area.

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