Monday, May 19, 2008

Novey Land Gift to Clearfield Borough

The Novey's are at it again. Graciously offering as a gift the land that has been the base of their recycling business for over 50 years to Clearfield Borough. This seems like a very nice and generous offer by Gladys Novey and family. Or is it?

How nice for a business to donate land to the community.

Is this really a free gift to the community or a way out of potential financial costs to the Novey's?

A similar offer was mentioned a few years ago, with the idea being forgotten about. Whether it was just put on the back burner or never followed through with because of a PA Department of Environmental Protection finding that the land needed environmental issues addressed, the citizens of Clearfield may never know.

Now years later another land gift offer is being proposed by the Novey's. A summary of proposal includes wording such as:

- property to be transferred as is

- Clearfield Borough hence will agree to hold harmless the grantor (Gladys & Martin Novey, and others if...) and indemnify said grantors against any claims which may arise from the Novey's use of the land prior to completed land closing with Clearfield Borough.

- any environmental testing of land to be responsibility of Clearfield Borough

Now, what does Gladys or other members of the Novey family know that they are not divulging? This proposal seems pretty persistent to alleviate the Novey's of any responsibility concerning this land. This land gift seems like a brilliant idea to dump all the financial responsibilities onto the residents of Clearfield Borough. If any environmentally hazardous conditions do exist on this property the costs for clean up can easily run into the millions. What could be better than relaxing on my easy chair while the citizens of Clearfield pay all the costs ( if any do arise)?

We're all for a land gift for the community. But before any land is transferred, the current owners bear the cost of environmental testing and cleanup if needed, and ensuring the property is safe and in compliance with all applicable local, state, and federal laws, mandates, ordinances. Once the property is in such condition then a land gift transfer can go forward. After all, if any environmental conditions or other discrepancies exist it would be the land owner who created, or through neglect allowed such discrepancies to occur. It was not the residents of Clearfield who contributed to any such property issues and therefore NOT the taxpayer's responsibility to pay for.

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