Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A or B--State Comptroller's Office issues opinion on budget allocations

The Office of the NY State Comptroller has sent me an opinion concerning allocation of funds re: A & B budget. Should the villages and unincorporated Greenburgh receive income from rent, interest on investments or should only unincorporated Greenburgh receive the income...who should be charged for various services (such as costs related to broadcasting of Town Board meetings)? The entire town or just unincorporated Greenburgh?
If you would like a copy of the entire report e mailed to you please e mail: pfeiner@greenburghny.com.

REMINDER: Senator Andrea Stewart Cousins will hold her swearing in ceremony on Wednesday, January 10th at 7 PM. A reception will be held at 6:15 PM. Please wish the Senator good luck!

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

But will the town board follow the opinion?

As reported in the Journal News in 2002 regarding the illegal WestHelp contract:

"Town Attorney Susan Mancuso said the payment could pass legal muster as long as the payments were not exclusively for the benefit of a single neighborhood, but for the town as a whole. A new park or playground in the Mayfair-Knollwood section, for instance, would be open to all town residents, benefiting residents beyond the immediate neighborhood. The question will receive further legal review."

Mancuso was right said...

Mancuso was right. And what happened to Mancuso? She was forced out by Feiner after uncovering his legal shell games with Iagallo and others. Susan, you were the canary in the coal mine. Feiner must go. We need to restore integrity to Greenburgh.We need an honest broker, not one who has secret agreements with private individuals and who countenances off the books budgeting and unaccountable incomes and expenses.

Anonymous said...

Every action the Town has taken during its history was taken by vote of the entire Town Board. The WESTHELP partnership was voted on by Steve Bass, Diana Juettner, Eddie Mae Barnes and Paul Feiner. The Supervisor cannot act alone - if he acts alone the proposal he advocates is not approved. Shouldn't members of the council who voted for the agreement explain their reasons publicly?

Anonymous said...

They will likely say that they voted knowing the substance of the arrangment (housing for the homeless) and Feiner telling them he had a legal opinion.

Anonymous said...

They will likely say that, but they will be lying, as usual.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that this report is available to the public.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad the town council just posted the opinion.

Feiner has this annoying habit of requiring residents to first give him our e-mail addresses before we can get public documents. He then takes our addresses and puts us on one of his e-mail "lists." He uses the lists to target us with e-mails soliciting political support and then asking us for campaign contributions.

I remember over Labor Day when he asked for e-mail addresses before anyone could get a copy of Frank's lease, and that really offended me.

This business of asking for e-mail addresses is smarmy and invasive. If a document is public, for goodness sake, just post it.

Feiner should not have to first find out who of us out there is really interested in reading something before we can get it.

That's really none of his business.

Anonymous said...

The Town Council kept this opinion secret for a few days. It was Feiner who issued the report. Until Feiner took action steps to release the document the council was silent.

Anonymous said...

The Town Council kept this opinion secret for a few days. It was Feiner who issued the report. Until Feiner took action steps to release the document the council was silent.

Anonymous said...

The Town Council kept this opinion secret for a few days. It was Feiner who issued the report. Until Feiner took action steps to release the document the council was silent.

Anonymous said...

The Town Council didn't keep anything secret. The opinion was addressed to Feiner, he announced that he had received it, and further announced that it would be released as soon as it was presented to the town council at its work session the next day.

Immediately following the work session, at around 1 a.m., Feiner said anybody who wanted to see the opinion first had to give him his or her e-mail address and he's send it.

That offended people and the Town Council, later that day, had it publicly posted.

Anonymous said...

Some of you anonymous bloggers are just making things up. You are angry people. I doubt that Feiner released the draft WESTHELP report -especially since there were aspects in the report that were unfavorable. Why can't the council member who released the report pony up and admit it?

Anonymous said...

Feiner's response to the state comptroller makes clear that Feiner himself leaked the report to Valhalla and Mayfair Knollwood so that they put together respond to the alleged "inaccuracies."

None of this matters, however, now that the final report is on the table - and a pretty devasting report it is.

Did our supervisor really think he could get away with lying to the state comptroller's office?

Anonymous said...

I don't think this report is devastating to Mayfair Knollwood. The comptroller's office did not state that payments from HELP to the Valhalla school district are illegal. They just don't want the town to have a role. Money can flow directly from HELP to our Valhalla school district. All the Town Board has to do is comply with the recommendation and modify the existing contract.

Anonymous said...

Renegotiate? No way. The state comptroller says there's no basis for anyone to conclude that Mayfair Knollwood or the Valhalla school district is entitled to any money, for any reason.

Therefore, even if it were legal for WestHelp to make a gift to the neighborhood or the school district, why should the Town have anything further to do with this mess?

On top of that, Feiner himself admits in the report that the $1.2 million that the town gets is fair consideration for the money it would have gotten had WestHelp been converted to senior citizen housing.

It's also bad policy for government to get involved in paying a neighborhood money to accept an unwelcome facility in its midst.

There are homeless, low income and group home facilities located throughout the town. Some have been there for years, like Mayfair Knollwood, some of the neighbors there didn't like these facilities being there at first, but like with WestHelp, there have never been any problems.

More importantly, none of these neighborhoods received any financial benefit or "social dividend."

This entire mess was not only illegal and unnecessary, but it was extremely bad public policy to boot.

Anonymous said...

You are reading a different report than I read. The comptroller's office did not object to the Valhalla school district receiving any money. The money has to go directly to the school district from HELP USA. I'm a lawyer and read the report carefully. I have no personal interest in the outcome of this arrangement. Don't provide readers of this blog with inaccurate information.

Anonymous said...

I'm a lawyer and I read the report too.

The issue of whether the town should cooperate in giving the Valhalla school district any more money is a political quesion and the state comptroller quite properly did not take a position on that issue.

But the state comptroller made clear that the reason Feiner gave for compensating the school district, that the money was needed to cover the district's costs for educating homeless kids, was without any factual basis.

The public certainly has a right to know that.

It's now up to our political leaders to decide whether the town should give the district the money anyway.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lawyer at 9:40,

The report also made it clear that if Westhelp pays the School District directly, the Town MUST also receive the fair rental for the property. Lets see an example of how the numbers would work. they dont.

Anonymous said...

If Feiner is right, and the $1.2 million per year that the town gets is fair compensation for the loss of rent the town would have gotten from senior housing there, the numbers don't work at all.

Anonymous said...

The town needs to get clarification what fair market value is. There are different interpretations.

Anonymous said...

Yes,

Fair Value might be deteremined in a number of ways.

1. The highest amount the Town could get for that property. That would likely be higher than the 1.2million the Town presently receives.

2. The amount the Town would get for its present use. That would be the 1.2 million.

I have trouble beleiving that Westhap would pay the Town the 1.2 and then more to Valhalla. They have a lease for 1.2million. IF they would, then it looks like the fair value of hte property is more than the 1.2. Westhap receives no value from the school -- their residents do, but any resident is allowed access to the schools, and the Westhap residents are funded seperately.

Any thoughts on what the fair value is or how you would determine it.

Anonymous said...

Why all the comments on the Westhelp audit. This blog is supposed to be about the other comptroller opinion, the one about the A and B budgets.

I guess nobody has anything to say about that.

Anonymous said...

Well the Westhab arrangement, like the charging of parks to the town outside the villages budget, is Feiner not respecting the law and trying to favor certain groups.

Both must stop.

Anonymous said...

The entire Town Council agrees with the Feiner approach to budgeting (villages vs. unincorporated). The council, which consists of Feiner,Bass,Barnes,Sheehan,Juettner voted unanimously for a budget that allocated funds a certain way. If the council disagreed, they could have amended the budget.

Anonymous said...

then they will answer in court

Anonymous said...

the villages have the majority of the votes -- that is why the minority must rely on law

but you would think at some pt town would see the light