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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Deficit Still Dismal Despite Efforts to Sugarcoat

Today's Troy Record has this article regarding the town's staggering deficit. Each time a revenue number from Rensselaer County improves, some politicians, most notably Lou Desso, attempt to spin the numbers as if the problem has been adequately addressed with a single layoff of a janitor and a reduction of a full time to part time secretary. And yes, those cellphones have been taken away from the town offices except for 4 units and overtime is supposedly being stopped by the Supervisor who seems unable to say no to such requests.

The numbers cited in this article pertaining to the deficit have changed significantly from those originally disclosed by the town's comptroller. The first alarm pegged the projected year end deficit for 2009 at over $200,000. When we add the $85,000 shortfall recorded for 2008, the number peaked at just over $300,000.

Today's article has the comptroller estimating a 2009 projected deficit of $41,000 with the 2008 deficit added, however, that total deficit would be $126,000 at the end of 2009. The town board has been repeatedly warned that more drastic steps would be needed to avert a massive deficit clearing tax increase for next year's budget, a tax increase that would have to to double in order to finance spending at the current level for 2010.

Clearly, the layoff of one janitor and the halving of a secretary's full time hours, elimination of cell phones and a weak unenforced overtime prohibition are little more than a band aid on a gaping budgetary wound.

The Supervisor is at best weak in standing up for taxpayers against the unionized folks in town hall who he sees as his political support base. And while the blame for this inaction will clearly be spread to the town board, candidates like Lou Desso are clearly hoping the fallout will be minimized by the sugarcoat of the likely year end deficit and the tax hike required to erase it.

Expect a lively discussion at tonight's 7PM Board meeting the agenda for which is here.

The missing town clerk
We are now in the fifth week of absence for the town clerk which has left a strain on the only other employee in the office to staff it. After a back operation, Clerk Connolly has been unable to return, causing the office to be unstaffed and closed for several days during this period.

The town board should address this problem because the services of this office require adequate staffing. Perhaps it's time to ask Ms. Connnolly whether she should go on unpaid leave so that the Board can appoint a Town Clerk until such time as Ms. Connolly is able to return to her job.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Regardless of the person's position, if they are out on disability they cannot be terminated. What should be happening is the town's disability insurance should be kicking in so that the town can be reimbursed for any wages paid.

As far as the office being closed goes... I thought there were laws against public offices being closed more than 3 consecutive days, unless that's some sort of NYS ruling. In any event the town should make sure that is is properly staffed in the interim.

I'd tell you who I am but that would just open a whole different can of worms.