Monday, November 05, 2007

ACTUAL QUOTES FROM THE TOWN COUNCIL RE: FUND BALANCE

Earlier today the other members of the Town Council sent out an e mail objecting to the 2008 proposed budget. I would like to encourage readers of these e mails to read the transcripts of the 2007 budget vote (posted on the town web site: www.greenburghny.com ---look on the left side: category—forms (miscellaneous).

Readers of the transcripts will read that I opposed depleting the fund balance. I preferred a gradual reduction of the use of fund balance.

I have also had spending differences with the other members of the Town Board.

* I wanted the town to sell the old Town Hall and use the proceeds to offset the costs of an expanded library. I also felt that the building, if sold, could have generated taxes every year for the town –keeping your taxes down. I WAS VOTED DOWN.

* I have objected to the use of outside consultants. Over a week ago the Town Board (over my objections) voted to spend $405,000 on an outside consultant. I asked that the consultant hiring be deferred until after the budget process is complete. The Board approved the contract.

* There are many other spending disagreements I have had with the Board members. I would be happy to speak to residents personally: call me at 993 1545 (office), 438-1343 (cell) 478-1219 (home).

PAUL FEINER

QUOTES FROM LAST YEARS BUDGET VOTE

December 19, 2006 Greenburgh 2007 Budget decision

BASS p5: there is plenty of fund balance
BASS p5: we are careful not to use too much of it

Sheehan p7: I'm quite proud of this budget And to get a budget that cuts taxes and also is much more transparent than the one handed to us is quite an accomplishment.

SHEEHAN p9: the supervisor has suggested not spending as much of the fund balance than what he wants to spend.

- We choose to give back a good part of it last year. And we are choosing to give a good part of it this year.

- And so here we are able to prove additional police protection. We're able to increase social service programs. We're able to increase leaf pro-leaf allocation money. And at the same time give the taxpayers a desperately needed break I'm proud of this budget.


FEINER p 10: Obviously the Board is able to reduce taxes by cutting into the fund balance. Š The question is do we use our fund balance now to provide residents with a very slight tax cut, or would it be more fiscally prudent to have a very small tax increase this year and hopefully be able to keep tax increases very low during the next few years rather than have fluctuations and taxes rates as we have seen at the county level and other levels of government. Š you are relying on a lot of luck [but] sooner or later there will be Š a bigger tax increase. And I think people want predictability and stability.

FEINER p10: I want the record to show [my] concerns, to highlight [my] concerns in terms of the unfunded liability increase.

FEINER p14: Šthe fact that we are eating into the fund balance by more than I had hoped, I predict there could be a bigger tax increase than people would want. It's going to be harder for people to predict. I would have preferred being a little bit more fiscally conservative. And I also would like to avoid the fluctuations.


SHEEHAN p17: I, along with Eddie Mae Barnes, Steve Bass and Diana Juettner, my fellow council members, do not believe in collecting or keeping more of the taxpayers' money than is necessary to meet the needs and reasonably protected needs of the Town.

FEINER p19: Nobody wants taxes to increase. But I think that most people in the Town would prefer very small, incrementalŠtax increases. They want predictability. I think they want stability.

FEINER p20: The bottom line is that in the future there are going to be tax increasesŠin the future. Šit's pay now or pay later. Would people preferŠa one or two percent increase every year or would they prefer a small dipŠnow and then a substantial increase next year?

12-01-05 Public Hearing
FEINER p 30: The former comptroller Norah McAvoy and Gisela Knight both warned the Town repeatedly that if we play politics with the fund balance, it will have a negative impact on our bond rating, on the financial stability of the Town.

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10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Right on!

Anonymous said...

Right on!

Anonymous said...

Sheehan and the Gang of Four are outright disgusting. Hopefully after today it will be Two Down, Two To Go!

Anonymous said...

In one of the blogs it says that Heir Sheehan changed his religious affitiates to Baptist.
Oh what one would do for some fame.

Anonymous said...

Sheehan and company how does it feel to be on the short end of the stick.
Did you have enough fun at the residents expense for the past two years?
Payback is so sweet.

Anonymous said...

Paul stop being so disingenous - you wanted to sell the property FOR LESS THAN FAIR MARKET VALUE to a political contributor
AND
You wanted to put the proceeds of the sale into TOWNWIDE ("A") BUDGET - despite the fact the library has never been an "A" budget expense.

Anonymous said...

"Surplus" fund balances come about because the Town collects more taxes than it needs to -
Fund balances are, in effect, a prepayment of taxes - not a gift from God or the politicians.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous 12:23 PM,

While the library operating budget has been in the "B" budget, the land that it sits on was acquired by the entire Town and thus proceeds from the land would appear to appropriately belong to the "A" fund. If the buyer would have carted the old building away, those proceeds may have appropriately gone to the "B" fund.

hal samis said...

and let me get my two cents in as well...

How do you know that Feiner wanted to sell the land for "less than fair market value"? Complaints were made at the time that an appraisal had not made public but the story should not stop with the "highest price" offered but also tolerate "best use".

The use of the property for retail or office would have incurred protest by the neighboring civic association and such matters as what traffic could result would be taken into consideration. The senior living use was one amenable to the neighbors, especially the Library.

If anything, you might argue why was a piece of land owned by the Town entire ultimately put at the disposal of the Library when should have been become something of town wide use (I know that under WLS regs, incorporated can use it) but what about a town entire park? But did you want to take on the Library?

Furthermore, not only was the land owned by the Town entire, but the parcel to be sold was not used by the Library but by the Town as its Town Hall. The Library, a B expense, get its claim in late but under the mantle of NYS Town Law which has rules on disposing of "surplus" property.

Anonymous said...

As usual, Samis is right and the blogger who wrote at 12:23 is wrong. But the confusion is understandable.

What Feiner wanted to sell was the old Town Hall. That building and the land were paid for from the A budget and belonged to the town entire. If is had been sold the proceeds would have gone into the A fund, which is shared by the villages and the unincorporated area, both of which paid for it. It would therefore have reduced taxes throughout the entire town.

The Library is a separate building and that was paid for from the B fund. But that building wasn't sold and couldn't be.

Does that straighten everybody out?