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Cairo kerfuffle between Watts, Coyne, and board

Feb 02, 2022 1:55 pm

Ted Remsnyder reports for Columbia-Greene Media that as a town board member in August, Jason Watts voted for a $70,000 land purchase by the Town of Cairo. But now, as Town Supervisor, Watts wants to renege on the deal. Watt says the $70,000 land purchase is not included in the town's 2022 budget. Watts says former Town Supervisor John Coyne fooled him into believing the purchase was necessary for water infrastructure. “I voted for it because we were taking the supervisor’s advice on why we needed it,” Watts said Jan. 31. “Now that I know all the facts and I know everything that’s going on, it’s not needed. We were told by John Coyne that it was vital infrastructure for water and sewer. Then when I started meeting with different people about water and sewer, I started asking them what the piece of property was needed for. They told me, ‘Nothing.’ So then I asked the town attorney if we could get out of it and he told me, ‘Jason, you’re already in contract, they put $1,000 down.’” Cairo Town Board member Tim Powers who, like Watts, voted for the purchase, says Watts knew all about the purchase. “He sat through all six budget meetings, so he knows what was in the budget and what wasn’t,” Powers said. “Originally when the purchase of the Miller property was discussed, we planned on doing it on a bond. He’s just using it as cannon fodder to say we can’t pay for it. We planned on getting a bond for it because we figured the bond would be slow enough that it could be paid off in a couple of years.” In the town's minutes for the Aug. 30 board meeting, the Barton & Loguidice engineering consulting firm in Albany, “said that this was good to buy for future opportunities.” Coyne did not return calls for comment. “I was misled,” Watts said. “John was the liaison for the Water and Sewer Department and John was our supervisor. So why wouldn’t I believe him as a board member? He was talking to the county and Delaware Engineering. I just called my bookkeeper to make sure everything I’m saying about this was true and she said yes. They didn’t put it into the budget. We voted yes and they still didn’t put it into the budget.” Read more about this story at HudsonValley360.com.