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Friday, August 1, 2008

Town Finances According to Spain and Desso

It's always an adventure in fantasy land when the ghost writer for Al Spain and Lou Desso gets hold of information and spins it into a fiction resembling a stick bent in a pool of water. This week's edition of the Al and Lou show is no exception with a carefully revised version of the town budget and finances.

Of course it was "the majority's" deficit which the Supervisor had nothing to do with even though he signs the checks and prepares the budget. And of course they want "fiscal stability" brought about ironically by not doing the things they claim they oppose yet did. When on the high wire, you have to move in opposite directions to keep your balance.

In today's Advertiser, the pair announce a deficit in 2007 of $129,000 which they hope to erase by dealing with rising fuel prices, rising health care costs and an increase in the rent for the town police station.

Unspoken is an action by their pal the Supervisor that explains the deficit.He authorized overspending in Water District 14 to help his pals who hold the contract and provide his Conservative Party endorsement. Lou and Al must have forgot the State Comptroller's findings in Water 14, specifically that the voter authorized bond limit of 7.1 million dollars was exceeded by $268,000 in Water District 14. Now where did that money come from since the bond was exhausted? Well Lou and Al, from other town revenues which not only accounts for the deficit but for the surplus we would have had as well of the difference of the two amounts, $139,000 which went into the pocket of the contractor in Water 14.

Just think guys, if Mr. Evers hadn't given out that Christmas check of $83,000 behind the back of the board and had not allowed other money to be spent over the bond limit we would not have exceeded the bond by $268,000 and we would have had a surplus of $139,000.

Now we are all pleased to see you noticed that rent for the police station lease was going up again. But how come you didn't mention that the same folks with the water contract own the police station and lease it to the town? Hey Mr. Desso, you are Vice Chairman of the town Conservative Party and you are going to to vote to give a lease to one of your party chairman's family business enterprises?

Then there's that pledge to stop "non essential hiring and spending". We presume you don't want taxpayers to count that new job you all created for Democratic Vice Chairman Ed Cassino or the other new slot for Conservative Party Committee person Judith Wos?

As for those rising heath care costs, you didn't tell folks the main reason they are skyrocketing. The large payouts made to the new union members in town hall who have a special contract allowing them to receive a buy out of health insurance premiums equal to an astonishing 51% of the premium. Gosh you'd think they were like our police officers who risk their lives every day to reach that level of appreciation.

And let's not forget those equally generous payments for health insurance to two NON UNION members who are not covered by the union agreement yet got the same payments thanks to the illegal disbursement approved by the Supervisor without town board consent. We don't hear you complaining on behalf of taxpayers.

There are so many payments and issues we can't list them all. We have a few favorites. $9,363.13 to full time town employee William Miller for not taking insurance in 2007 from town taxpayers while receiving the insurance from Troy taxpayers where he also manages to work full time in the fire department. You wonder how he looks in the mirror when so many people can't afford any insurance, right?

Look again at State retiree John Harkin who is a department head as town assessor and who incredibly was allowed to be counted in the new union. John gets his insurance from State taxpayers, (that's you and me folks)but was permitted to receive buyouts from town taxpayers in 2007 for $3202.34 and $1309.58 in 2008 which is only half of the payment due. (It's paid in two installments.) Good to see that Double Dipping is alive and well in North Greenbush!

And gentleman, there is one more department head or management employee title that was allowed into that contract, the head of the Building Department, Mr. Miner. He took a hefty payment of $5895.08 last year and a gross amount of $3349.32 so far this year.

Last but not least are the two payments given by the Supervisor to two folks who are not even in the union and not covered by this lush contract. $3349.32 each was issued to the Comptroller and Deputy Clerk without Town Board approval yet Lou and Al say nothing but note that health insurance payments are going up.

Gee guys, we all can't imagine why???

So thanks for letting us know you are all committed to controlling costs. You'll pardon us if we don't let you handle our personal finances.

Final Notes:

The Comprehensive Plan Committee ,aka a near quorum of candidates for the Spain Democratic Committee seats, will meet today somewhere at 9 AM with the town board for a tour of the town. No notice of the location or start point of this mobile meeting and car caravan was posted. Absent a notice which is required under the State's Open Meetings Law, any gathering of this committee would be unlawful. Al Spain, the Committee's Chairman was informed of this early on in his term of office, yet there is nothing on the town web page telling the public where all will gather, just that it will be at 9AM.

You just have to wonder what folks like Pat Nolan and Ned Fitzgerald are thinking when they hear about all this?