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Friday, August 14, 2009

The Amazing Shrinking Deficit

The election year fudge must have been spread around town hall today like molasses. We call it, the Amazing Shrinking Deficit which in a matter of months went from $300,000 to last night's $24,000. Just to make sure the fudge stuck, the town's comptroller was conveniently absent from the meeting and could not give a financial report to the board which either agreed with or contradicted the Supervisor's claim.

Councilman Spain sounded a bit angry that the Comptroller was not present, as did Councilman Michaels. But the best frosting on that financial fudge was Councilman Desso's comments insisting that the big goal would be to erase the deficit entirely and present a no tax increase budget. Yep, just increase the estimates of revenue for sales taxes, mortgage taxes and so on and you can erase any big number. That's what the GOP and Bob Ashe did in 2005 when they concealed a huge deficit created by failing to tell anyone they failed to pay the State Retirement System a ton of money the town owed.

We won't bore you with the commentary. Instead we'll let you listen to the enhanced audio of the meeting on our Pipeline Radio Channel. Once again all that expensive camera and recording equipment collected dust and even cobb webs on the ceiling cam as this Board continues to refuse to broadcast its meetings on Time Warner Public Access.

Oh, if you were wondering, the Town Clerk was not present. Her deputy sat through the meeting undoubtedly getting paid overtime because the town clerk has been out of work since July 7th. Officials expect a full recovery by the time Democrats caucus later this month.

The Show Must Go On!

When the deficit projection was scaring the pants of town board members, there was a great deal of talk about saving money, some ten grand, by canceling the town party held in September for the past 4 years. Yet not a word was uttered by board members last evening until someone asked the status given the fact that the event is just a few weeks away.

Hell if you have to cancel something, there's lots of contracts to break, contracts with bands and maybe vendors who provide rides and concessions. So it appears the show must go on because canceling those town board approved contracts at this late date would likely mean we'd have to pay the bands anyway.

Ok, we'll be fair to the town board. They didn't approve any of the contracts associated with the event. Unfortunately, the Supervisor did, despite that pesky Town Law giving him the authority to sign a contract AFTER the town board approves it. In fact, not one contract with the bands which have performed at all of the town's events has ever been on a town board agenda for approval, not a one. Good government does indeed march on!


Anonymous said...

Too bad the town couldn't cancel the annual town party/picnic...whatever it is. Even in good fiscal times if taxpayers knew it cost 10K, I think we'd all be willing to forego it.

I'd like to suggest that the town supervisor take heed from NYC Mayor Bloomberg and work for $1 until our budget is balanced. In fact, would any of the town board members be willing to give up their stipends and do the same? It also seems that it is time to eliminate a deputy to the town clerk. I'm sure if you handed the average tax payer the budget, we'd find ways to slash and burn the fat.

Anonymous said...

It's very easy for bloomberg to do it. He's a millionaire for crying out loud. It's all smoke and mirrors until he gets an even bigger pay day for him self. Remember, nothing in life is free; and if it looks to good to be true, it probably is.

Anonymous said...

Evers is responsible (along with the board) for the mess we're in. Its time to do the right thing, millionaire or no millionaire. That's called character. Can Evers show us that he has some? Or maybe incoming town officials would like to step up to the plate? This town has been seeking character in leadership for a long time. Anyone game? That's who I'm voting for...someone with character.

Anonymous said...

In today's world of Patterson and Obama -nomics; how the heck can anyone go without pay, regardless of what there job is and how they got it. I'm not supporting or condoning the way this town has been run, just trying to shed a little non-radical common sense.

Maybe we should solve the town's budget deficit the same way the Governor is solving the states budget crisis. He wanted to layoff employees, and then turned around and created a new state agency called 'The Office of Taxpayer Accountability' and it's only costing the taxpayers a million dollars. That figure includes $165,000 a year salary for the woman who was named to head the agency.

Anonymous said...

Elected officials on boards are a matter of PUBLIC SERVICE. It is not a job. Those who are willing to carry a vote should be willing to be held accountable to the public they serve and be willing to forego their stipend.

In our case, our supervisor has royally made a bad town government worse. Let's just start with water district #14. If he has character and took his PUBLIC SERVICE seriously, he would work for $1. I'm not holding my breath.

I'm not suggesting the highway superintendent or even the town clerk work for a $1. They don't have a vote. But if you have a vote, and drive a town deep into debt, then its time to own up to your mistakes.

Anonymous said...

If we lived in Oz or Shangrilah maybe our public officials could work for a dollar, but since we work in the great Tax State of New York nobody in their right mind would take the jobs.