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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Town Deficit at $171,000

Click on above to view part 1 or 2 of the meeting.
Yep, Lou Desso likes to say he didn't raise taxes for two consecutive years. Now you can see how he did it. By accumulating a whopping $171,000 deficit.

The town's Comptroller issued his report last night and its pretty grim to say the least. So grim that Al Spain voted no on sending a few town employees and appointed board members to a training class for about $30 bucks a piece.

The Troy Record article sums up the numbers here, but what it doesn't do is repeat the years of warnings delivered by citizens from the floor of town board meetings repeating the difficult sales tax and mortgage tax revenues which required deep cuts in spending and personnel the board refused to act on. It also does not remind people that so much of the deficit could have been avoided had Al Spain's majorities behaved more responsibly on the spending side.

Remember, it was Spain's majority that authorized a needless redo of the already completed Comprehensive Plan at a cost of $35,000, money spent with a no bid contract to a company that has been donating bucks to favored political committees. Lets not forget that Spain's majorities refused to demand reimbursement of $40,000 in improperly paid health insurance premiums to a contractual employee over a 4 1/2 year period. This was forgiven while other employees were made to pay back insurance buy outs improperly approved by the former Supervisor while the Supervisor himself was never required to pay back his improper health insurance premiums. He was simply forced off the policy when the board was made aware he placed himself on it.

Had the town board acted responsibly to recover funds, not spend funds needlessly and make additional needed cuts to staff in town hall, the deficit would be far more manageable than the likely $19% tax hike needed to erase it.

Meanwhile there is no time clock in town hall. No way to track the come and go as you please employees, many of whom are simply no longer needed. Take the Building Department with 3 full time code enforcement officers. Brunswick gets by with just one. Revenue from permits is down dramatically from prior years and appears to have been budgeted at more than $150,000 when actual revenue was less than $50,000. The volume of permits determines the need for inspectors and inspections. With so little demand, there is no way to justify 3 full time code enforcement officials. One of those employees is a Utilities Inspector specifically hired to inspect construction of Water District 14. That job is done but no one seems willing to retire the $45,000 salaried employee hired to do the inspections.

There are so many examples of the failure to act and manage money. We can only hope that these sobering numbers produce a new attitude on behalf of a majority of board members.

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