Sunday, October 19, 2008

MORTGAGE TAX REVENUES FROM COUNTY TO TOWN DOWN 36.3%

The county has advised the town that the Mortgage Tax revenues for the six months ended September 30, 2008 was down 36.3% from the comparable six month period in '07. This is bad news and highlights the need to make cuts in the upcoming budget. The budget will be released in less than 2 weeks.
The Town Board has been meeting with department heads discussing budget options/cuts. We have already met with the TDYCC, Parks dept, Town Atty, Assessor, Comptroller, police dept, public works. This Tuesday we will be meeting with the Library to disuss their upcoming budget.
The library is different than other depts--once the Town Board approves a budget the Library Board can make shifts in the budget without consulting the Town Board. A few new members of the Library Board will take office in January, 2009.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

This should highlight the need to make IMMEDIATE spending cuts.
These are revenues counted on for the CURRENT budget - waiting until the next budget will put the Town in a really deep hole.
Start by cutting the arts coordinator and vigorously pursuing the funds from Greenburgh Housing. Next, cut jobs at TDYCC and Parks and Recreation.
There is still an opportunity to avert complete disaster - grab it before it goes away

who's payin'? said...

Super! Perfect time fox the Xposure program and its 300k+ expense. Yay!

Oh yes, and that 70K we're gunna pay those 250 cute little children who signed up and most likely aren't gunna pay the fee to have signed up. Who? Who is gunna pay those little precious, $175 wearing hot kicks, momma driving BMW 5, free lunch darlings their cash? Huh?
70K per year! Who gunna pay?

Lets see said...

Paul, time to get going this is what you are paid to do. Now show the people of Greenburgh that you can do it and must do it.

Anonymous said...

Where is the flood study? We paid for it, right? Where is it?

I know you have it. Why are you hiding it?

Anonymous said...

I remember reading the flood study; I think it's on the town website. Doubt it will result in action, but at least it's done.

Anonymous said...

Please be certain to consider what are optional services (arts, recreation, park enhancements, etc.) and what are necessary services (roadway maintenance, police, etc.). Optional services can be resurrected at a later time if finances improve, but some services are mandated and cannot be cut.

I'm not one of the anti community center people, but I do think that the programs could be trimmed back in a major way, along with eliminating various optional positions like energy and arts coordinators, which are cute to have but not necessary.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 6:35

juettner is a disaster said...

the state i shutting down parks
time for greenburgh to divest itself of dumb feiner-juettner acquisitions like taxter ridge

has juettner ever even been to taxter ridge?
still wating for one year for her to post directions

lets divest greenburgh of juettner in 2009

Anonymous said...

What's the big surprise? Everybody knew that as home refinancing went down, and as housing prices were going down, that mortgage tax revenues were going to nosedive. The Town Board should have prepared for that a year or two ago, instead of business as usual.

What's the next big "surprise?"

feiner says don't blame me said...

What Feiner is saying here is that the substantial reduction in mortgage tax revenues will result in a substantial reduction in funding for the town library, and that he shouldn't be blamed for this.

Town residents shouldn't buy this baloney.

The reduction in mortgage tax revenues only affects the town entire budget, which means the town can drawn down from the millions of dollars in the town's accumulated fund balance so that residents in the villages won't feel any pain, and residents in the unincorporated area will feel a little less pain. Feiner has already directed the town comptroller to draw up a budget which does exactly that.

But there's only so much the town can use from its town entire fund balance to offset the decline in mortgage revenues without the town actually writing checks to village residents.

What Feiner is failing to do is make substantial cuts in services that affect the unincorporated area. He's afraid that a double digit tax hike coupled with a measurable decline in services will result in anger from voters.

So, rather than make the cuts that are needed, Feiner has given ample funding to the community center. For example, he's already committed to fully funding the town's after school program for next year (while you'd think all programs and services would have to be cut)in order to contract for the wasteful Xposure program.

But when it come to the library, Feiner has no problem in cutting the library's budget substantially, and he's hinted that his new appointees to the library board are happy to play along.

But a huge reduction in funding for the library won't do the trick for unincorporated Greenburgh. Among other things, the town's tax base has just taken another huge hit -- much more than Feiner has disclosed -- which means that because of tax certs, homeowners in unincorporated Greenburgh will have to make up the difference.

And on top of that, Feiner now wants to bond tax certs, which means he wants to borrow millions of dollars next year to pay for the costs of refunding property taxes owed to the town's businesses. So, instead of coming up with plans to aggressively cut spending, Feiner's just engaging in costly gimmickry while intending to blame everyone but himself.

Paul Feiner said...

I disagree with the above post.In the 2009 budget there will be cuts in funding for programs/services. The 2009 budget will be less than the 2008 budget. The number of employees authorized to work for the town in 2009 will also be less than in 2008. All the members of the Town Board are working cooperatively --looking for ways to cut spending. At the same time we recognize the need to try to maintain the quality of life people expect in Greenburgh.

Anonymous said...

Paul you have taken our quality of life away by giving all to Fairview.
There are no poor people in Fairview how many times must it be written on the blog.
What must one do to make you understand that you have been had and you inturn screwed us.

feiner continues to dissemble said...

Feiner's post is pure malarkey.

Has the town's tax base declined like the blogger says? If so, by how much and how many percentage points higher will next year's tax increase be as a result? Why doesn't Feiner provide this information?

Feiner says there will be cuts in funding for "programs/services" but he doesn't say how much or from which "programs/services"? He also doesn't say whether the cuts will be across the board, or whether certain departments will be favored (like TDYCC, where much of the budget increase will be hidden in the so-called "I" budget where it won't be so obvious), or certain departments like the library will be screwed. For example, the town is spending next year the same $150,000 in tax dollars for its "after school program" as it is spending this year. That's a zero cut in spending for a favored constituency. Much of unincorporated Greenburgh does not benefit from this program and, truth be told, the responsibility for after school programs rests not with the town and town taxpayers, but with the school districts. Feiner doesn't abide by that rule, which costs the rest of the town unincorporated taxpayers plenty.

Last month, the town comptroller released a memo (which the town never posted on the web as promised) which stated that if town spending declined by 5% next year, unincorporated Greenburgh would still experience a 12% hike. But that was before the town knew about how much mortgage tax revenues would decline and before the town knew how much more the tax base has declined.

Why can't the town supervisor be candid with the public and let us in on what's happening with the budget? Why do we have to wait until the end of the month to see what "decisions" Feiner the "decider" has made for us?

Feiner insults the intelligence of Greenburgh residents when he tells us there will be fewer employees authorized to work for the town next year. He forgets that taxpayers paid for vacancies in a number of departments all year long THIS YEAR in the hope that Feiner would be able to build up a fund balance he could use to offset against next year's increase.

This is pure budgetary gimmickry and does not in any way come to grips with how serious the town's budget programs are.

Anonymous said...

On Friday Feiner, Morgan, Brown, Sheehan, Juettner and Beville were in front of CVS discussing these issues with anyone who bothered to go up to them. The Board is very open to suggestions and up front, explaing the difficult choices they have to consider.

Anonymous said...

The Board is not blaming anyone for the economic problems facing the world. The Town Board is doing what we would expect any Town Board to do. They are reaching out to the voters, asking the people what we want from our government. This is the right approach to take.

hal samis said...

Sent last week to the Town Attorney and copied the Town Board. Do you think this will produce the desired result, making the expense disappear? Ask.

"Dear Mr. Lewis,

As Town Attorney, I expect you to protect the Town of Greenburgh against the hidden agenda of the Town Board. I am referring to the amibiguity of attitude with reference to the renewal of the Town's contract with the sculpture Curator.

Given that the Town Board has not acted decisively to eliminate this matter from further consideration -- either to approve or reject -- and,
Given that the Curator has apparently proceeded to select and install sculpture exhibit(s) in Hartsdale and,
Given that the most recent work on display is the work of a New York City resident in accordance with her past policy but in contradiction to her understanding of Town goals and,
Given that I was assured by both the Town Attorney and the Town Clerk that such activity is being done on a non-reimbursable basis by the Vendor and,
Given that the Town has a history of signing contracts with commencement dates taking effect well in advance of the execution of these contracts (i.e. Xposure) and including the proposed contract with the sculpture Curator (commencing July 1, 2008),

Therefore, an agreement between parties is needed to assure the public that the Town Board is not being derelict in their responsibilities. Although I am not an Attorney, I suggest covering the following points even as I strongly urge you as Town Attorney to obtain Town Board approval to create and execute this letter agreement informing the Curator that her contract is not being renewed and that any work done on her part is to be done with the express understanding that she will not be compensated for same. Furthermore, any installation and maintenance of such exhibit(s) shall be done with the full understanding that any such efforts on the Curator's and or the Artist(s)' behalf are the complete undertaking and responsibility of the Curator and Artist(s) and that the Town shall be held harmless from any and all claims which may arise from the installation, exhibition and removal of such exhibit(s) as the Curator may choose to display during the period of her pro bono tenure.

It should be understood further that both the Curator and the Artist(s) may potentially benefit from future sales or interest in the exhibted work or other works by the Artist(s) or offerings at the Gallery(ies) at which the Curator is associated and; that this derived benefit shall be the sole compensation for the installation. Again, the "license" to exhibit such works will constitute the Curator's and the Artist(s)' entire remuneration. The installation of exhibit(s) shall constitute acceptance of the terms of this agreement. It is understood that the Town of Greenburgh shall not charge the Curator and Artist(s) rent for the exhibition space nor shall the Town of Greenburgh incur any cost realted to the installation and/or removal of these exhibits. The exhibition space shall be restored to its original state (at no cost to the Town) by the Curator and the Artist(s) at the conclusion of the last exhibition.

Clearly I suspect that the Town Board is scheming and plotting in a nefarious manner with regard to this contract. The purpose of such secret activity is an unannounced and unvoted agreement among the Town Board members; the purpose of such a secret plan being not to imperil the view by taxpayers that the Town Board is working diligently to reduce Town expenses, including such frivolous items as this at a time of employee contract issues.
Even though the cost of this "amenity" is small, there are few other programs that by elimination of same would adversely affect as few residents. That the Town Board continues to address this issue without closure is clearly a signal that either the Town Board is not serious about reducing expenses or that there is a yet unacknowledged relationship between the Curator and one or more members of the Town Board.

Such a notice to the Vendor will put the matter to rest and prevent the Town from continued exposure regarding loss, damage and a claim for services rendered as though the expired contract was still in effect; or that verbal assurance of its intended renewal was made by one of more members of the Town Board. Since the amount at stake is small, I assume the Town Board strategy would be to sign the contract, retroactively, because of a ready-made argument that it would be foolish to defend against such a small claim if submitted to the Town on or before its appearance in small claims court.

Now that the Town Board is fully aware of the public interest in the matter, hopefully the Town Board will do the right thing by unincorporated residents and eliminate, for certain, such a needless, ongoing expense.

Hal Samis"

Now, do you think with the cut in mortgage tax (warned about last year) and his Town Board and Feiner "seeking" ways to reduce spending that the Budget that Feiner will present at the end of the month will have the audacity to continue funding Department 7010Council on Arts which in 2008 cost taxpayers $64,972? A necessity to stage a poetry contest and hang some pictures in Town Hall. We'll use this expenditure as the test of Mr. Feiner and the Town Board's commitment to reducing expenses by starting with the most unnecessary and which affects the fewest residents.

Poetry is properly the function of the schools and the Library, not the Town. Hanging pictures offered for sale by artists is not an essential service or good use of taxpayer's money in these harsh times.

Let's see if Council on the Arts will again rear its ugly head in the 2009 proposed budget? There is still time before printing for the Board to see that it is removed.

As for meeting with the Library on Tuesday... Not at all a difficult decision. With their complaint this time last year that they didn't have enough money to provide promised cybermobile service and now the Library acknowledges a sizeable excess of bunds which they have decided to transfer to the capital expenses of the Library expansion (even though the project was still on budget, just now at $20,450,000 and rising) because they're still still coming up short (everything doesn't have to be there on the first day says the Library Director) and while they still need more money, let's see what kind of austerity raise the Library Trustees will approve for the Library Director, Assistant Library Director and the Assistant to the Library Director.
Of course, since they are under no obligation to use any of the money to fulfill any promise, you pays your money and takes your chances.

Oh, remember: the Library is supposed to be more efficient to operate despite its larger size. Let's start to realize some of the efficiencies starting next year.

Let's first have the Library use all of that money raised by the Library Trustees, the Library Foundation, the Friends of the Library since the November 2004 expansion lobbying began in earnest. Now, November 2008, or four years later, there should be enough money raised to offset any bad news in their 2009 budget.
Let's see if the Town Board and Library Boards practice helping them that help themselves.

But first up, goodbye Hartsdale sculpture curator and goodbye Arts Council (1 person)-- say goodbye to that yellow brick road.

And, if the Town Board needs a hint on where to look in the Police department staffing, eliminate the Community Policing and its manpower needs. The areas they hang out are areas within the existing sectors. Occasionally, those already around their sectors will have to stop and spend a few minutes in a "hot zone"...meaning they can sip their coffee right in a "Community" and be just as visible.

"What if someone were to die?" The tax situation is killing homeowners and as soon as Kevin Morgan, still flacking for his old employer, realizes that he now serves on the Town Board and not for his old employer, the sooner taxpayers will get an honest look at how this department operates.
And, why do the top officers still get to drive taxpayer's police cars home using taxpayer's gas for this perk? It's not as though the officers don't earn enough to afford to buy a "station" car and its certainly not because they live nearby, god forbid within Greenburgh.

What if someone were to die? Chief, look around, people are already dying a slow death and the culprit doing the speeding is the Department itself. Tell us again, what the raise for employees is going to be per contract?

Anonymous said...

Helping children in Fairview learn is not something I am embarrassed that the town is doing. Keep up the good work, town government officials.

blame the voters, Feiner says said...

The problem with Feiner and the town board is that, faced with a crisis, they show no leadership; instead, they feel their responsibility is to "reach out to voters" to see what they think. Feiner is the only full-time elected official the town has. He is the town's chief financial officer. It is his JOB to lead; if leadership requires a 20% cut in town spending, then he should lead and provide it.

Instead, Feiner and the town board feel that the best way to cover up for their failure to lead is to stand in front of a drug store and solicit ideas from anyone who walks up, as if those of us who hold other jobs for a living would know more than the town board and would therefore know best what to do.

Feiner and the town board would like residents of unincorporated Greenburgh to think that all municipalities are experiencing the same problems. The problem with that analysis is that no other municipality in all of Westchester County had a 21% tax hike last year, and because other municipalities, including the town's villages, generally know what they are doing, they are not likely to be posting double digit increases this year either.

Anonymous said...

Why is the Comptroller's salary more than most other Commissioners and the Town Supervisors? If there is a substantial tax hike this salary should be reevaluated.

Anonymous said...

Dear anon 10:53: Elmsford had a double digit tax hike in April of 2008.

Anonymous said...

10:56 the same reason he gave an $11,000 raise to his payroll clerk.

Anonymous said...

Leave Kolesar out of the problems that we are facing in this town . He is Johnny come lately.
The one to blame is Feiner and the board.
To give away money has been very easy for them ,the hard part is the cover up.
Isn't it odd that they have not come forward with any information concerning the monies owed to the taxpayers from The Housing Authority????????
Are they still receiving free Greenburgh protection?????????
The money with interest is now about six hundred million.
What's the cover up for this expenditure?

Anonymous said...

The Greenburgh Police do not have a designated officer assigned to the housing authority anymore. Funds have been eliminated.

Anonymous said...

The funds have been eliminated BUT have they paid what was due the taxpayers???????????

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Feiner -
At 9:24 last evening you defended yourself by noting that there would be cuts in the 2009 budget.
Sir, the problem is NOW. The revenues are failing to come in NOW. The future cuts are hopefully reflections of future revenue declines.
You need to lead - Please do not ask the public what they want to do - they elected you as our leader. Do your job - make the hard, unpopular choices on behalf of ALL the people. Cut expenses NOW to reflect CURRENT revenue declines.
DO NOT BOND CERT SETTLEMENTS - THAT SADDLES OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN WITH THE BURDEN YOU CREATED. IT IS MORALLY CORRUPT AND YOU NEED TO STOP SHRUGGING OFF YOUR MORAL RESPONSIBILITIES.
Stop shifting the blame, accept what is yours and then some - that is what a real leader does.

hal samis said...

In the Court of Last Resort, there will be a reckoning of just how successful the Town Board was in pulling off the miracle of not reducing services that the good burghers of Greenburgh are accustomed to while reducing head count and costs at the same time.

Of course the Court of Last Resort will have to wait many years before it and the other Courts are expanded because the Town Board is draining the money put aside for that purpose to pare down the forthcoming tax increase. Borrowing from the populace to pay Paul in the present.

So whereas Mr. Feiner may argue that some circumstances beyond his control are the real perps -- and I grant some are -- the new "urgent" look at how the Town has been wasting revenue over the years should not be seen as a counter measure but what should have been done all along.

Forget the nonsense of asking Tom, Dick and Harriet (names changed to protect the guilty) for their ideas.
Tom wants a dog park, Dick wants an after school program and Harriet wants her swim team allowed full use of the pool at nominal cost.
While on another street corner, someone in East Irvington has got their mind set on another piece of open space for the Town to buy; someone in Edgemont wants a sidewalk and someone in the villages wants a Town pool permit.

The fix is already in. One would think that if the Town Board really wanted resident input they would do so in a more efficient and thought provoking manner and hold an old-fashioned Town meeting in Town Hall and on camera, broadcast on air and on the internet. Nothing like having witnesses and recorded testimony to point out that the Town Board chooses to ignore this much "solicited" input from residents.

But not in the 79th best place to live.

Of course, the public can make limited comment at the Public Hearing(s) on the Budget -- but only after they sit through a recognition ceremony to the Xposure kids for their radio broadcast and whomever the Police Department needs to promote so as to be eligible in time for next year's big raise. Please remember to send obits also to the Town Clerk so that moments of silence can be arranged. Town CSEA employees have been asked to forgo already budget allocated 2008 raises in lieu of good citizen certificates. Isn't a moment of silence an equivalent gesture?

Mr. Feiner & Co. were warned repeatedly that mortgage tax and sales tax would decline. Mr. Feiner & Co. were warned repeatedly that cert cases would continue to pummel tax revenue. Mr. Feiner and Co. were repeatedly warned that the 2010 contributions to the NYS retirement system would rise substantially (their is a lag in reporting) to make up for Wall Street mistakes in their investment portfolios. But the Town prefers instead to ignore potentially bad news until it becomes a taxpayer tombstone. No one in Town government has read the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner or, if so, understood that the albatross is themselves.

What will they do when facing the bill for the Comprehensive Plan, part 2? Will they still pretend that funding something that produces recommendations that will have no money to enact is good governance? Already, re Fulton Park, the Town Board has chosen not to wait for even the forthcoming no cost conclusions of part 1. Thus establishing that the first $200,000 was wasted.

As for the Library, did the Town Board recently allow the Library to establish a capital funds account (to move surpluses from operating funds to the over budget construction project) even while crying the Town Board has no control over the Library budget. What if they had NOT voted to give the Library more freedom to bilk taxpayers and even used the unspent operating funds either as a transfer back to the Town or as additional 2009 funding? Face it, the Town Board is always bending in the direction of the biggest whine.

What continues to amuse is that all these "bumpkins" on the street corners actually believe that their input is treasured. Let's see the Budget which this year can no longer be called the Supervisor's Budget because as they have taken pains to promote:
all five members of the Town Board and their sixth wheel, the Town Clerk have been doing some hard travelling down local roads.

Let's see what they have learned.
The tentative budget should be an eye-opener.

allin said...

As of 2007, Greenburgh's population is 90,263 people. Since 2000, it has had a population growth of 4.03 percent.

The median home cost in Greenburgh is $901,500. Home appreciation the last year has been -5.54 percent.

Compared to the rest of the country, Greenburgh's cost of living is 83.79% Higher than the U.S. average.

Greenburgh public schools spend $12,197 per student. The average school expenditure in the U.S. is $6,058. There are about 15 students per teacher in Greenburgh.

The unemployment rate in Greenburgh is 3.00 percent(U.S. avg. is 4.60%). Recent job growth is Negative. Greenburgh jobs have Decreased by 0.46 percent.


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Anonymous said...

allin, your SD spending #'s are wrong:

"Greenburgh Central School District with just 1,800 students is the per pupil spending leader among independent school districts in the county, according to the state at $28,322 per pupil on a $51 Million budget. A distant second is Briarcliff Manor at $25, 914 per pupil (with 1,800 enrollment), $46.7 Million budget.

hal samis said...

Those of you who have written suggesting that the Town Board make immediate cuts in 2008 spending and not wait until 2009 are not wrong in your thinking but perhaps have not considered all of the ramifications.

Already we see a "slowdown" in Police Department performance. Our poor, overworked department is obviously at a loss on how to proceed when it comes to concluding their month old investigation into alleged misdeeds at the Community Center. Clearly, no announcement is forthcoming and I must assume that this is due to a lack of manpower -- although I can be persuaded otherwise.

Does anyone want to try?

Anonymous said...

CSEA SEE YOU AT THE BOARD MEETING 10/22, 7PM TO DISCUSS WASTEFUL SPENDING.

Anonymous said...

TDY C/C ACTING COMMISSIONER UNDER POLICE INVESTIGATION

FACTS
Police arrive at Community Center on Sept 13th
Upon their arrival, Valerie Whitehead abruptly leaves Center.
She doesn't return until 5 days later.
She doesn't contact staff.
At least 15 staff members are asked to report to Greenburgh Police for questioning.
Center’s security tapes taken by Police.
Time cards taken by Police.
5 p/t staff including Whitehead's nephew somehow put in 50 hours per week.
The Center is closed for evening programs during September.
Whitehead authorized these hires and their excessive hours without the knowledge of the Town Board.
Whitehead stops staff meetings.
Whitehead attempts to block transfer of James Robinson to Center.
Whitehead offers no statement on occurrence or explanation.

HAL SAMIS IS RIGHT, THE PUBLIC DESERVES ANSWERS.
PAUL WE ARE WAITING.

Anonymous said...

The libray board should be abolished until the parking lot at the library is actually more than half-full. Considering the lot was NEVER half-full before the expansion, this would mean a permanent cut from the budget.

Anonymous said...

INVOICE FOR GAY SILVERMAN

Whereas you have entered into an agreement to rent space at the Theodore D. Young Community Center, and as a good responsible taxpayer, conscientious of the financial burden placed on our valued town residents, this letter serves to remind you that you owe $20,000.00 in rental fees which was duly noted from last January. Simply put, we taxpayers don’t know where you get the chutzpa from, to go to a town board meeting and play victim while shamelessly pandering to temporary commissioner, Valerie Whitehead. Add to the fact that you put down the efforts of the entire staff, who work hard every day to put out the best programs possible plus contrary to your comment, do indeed welcome everyone who enters through the center’s doors.

Now let’s figure this out:

A Valerie desperately needs money.
+ B You haven’t paid your bill.
= C: More shady wrongdoings!

Can you smell kickback?

It’s highly suspect when the department head praises the efforts of a space renter who is ten months behind in her rental fees. The temp lady should have initiated some efforts to collect money that was due to the town!

Paul, please investigate this.

PS. Gay, I’m sending you some kneepads. They should be useful at your next town board meeting.

ed krauss said...

In order to do my bit to help the town out, I set up my bridge table at the A&P on Central Ave, opened one folding chair for me and one for any visitor that would come, and put up a sign: PROBLEM SOLVER-IN-TRAINING; will attempt to answer any and all of your questions.

You can't believe the questions and answers I received.

87% that's 8.7 people said," reduce the variable costs of government BTW the .7 person was most outspoken, else I would have "rounded"her up.

13% you guessed it, 1.3 people said eliminate the fools who've put us in this mess in the first place; cut out all unnecessary people, programs, sell off unnecessary property that will not diminish "our" quality of life; hire professionals who know what they're doing and fire, immediately fire each and every phony collecting a pay check who can't add up a column of numbers-across and up and down and come up with the right answer; cut out the useless work sessions because they yield zero and replace them with brain storming sessions including people wih a brain; and draw upon, bite my tongue, the village budget makers whose numbers always add up and whose tax increases are miniscule-year after year after year; while we're at it, my visiters also pointed out that the mayors and trustees of all the six combined villages, whose tax increases are miniscule relative to the OPEN GOVERNMENT OF GREENBURGH,all six, MAKE LESS THAN THE SUPERVISOR ALONE; and, they believe all the villages are better managed than the town and the proof is in the...well everything: lower taxes, cleaner streets, no leaf and/or garbage pick up problems, equal recreation facilities, libraries whose sum total cost for construction and maintenance are a fraction of the cost of construction alone of the Glass Menagerie; and theirs are all finished with books, tables chairs lights and librarians who make quantumly less than, well they didn't want to get personal.

In other words, less may very well be more.

Maybe if we're saddled with such incompetant managers-in-training who after 18 years are still in training, we'd be better off with smaller pieces and managable pieces and give up this idea of TOWN. Just because it works elsewhere doesn't mean it can work everywhere. And we who suffer the slings and arrows of the TAXMAN who rings "twice" as in double digits, need a break.

Granted,my sample was not a statistically reliable sample but I must say those folks had some excellent ideas.

When I folded up my folding chairs and bridge table, put them in my car and went home. surprise,surprise there were messages on my answering machine from people who couldn't make it but wanted to give me their 50,000 EUROS (that's 2 cents after inflation.)Becaue we were not face to face and they didn't have to give me their names(sort of like anonymous posters on this blog) they really opened up.

"The Town Board sucks!"; "Regula is irrergula and should be made to pay for the shortfall," "how the expletive deleated can assessibles decrease after nearly 20 years of Feinersburgh?" "what's the payoff for the board and especially Feiner for steamroling through the zoning change at 22 Tarrytown Rd. even after it was found out the applicant was full of s#!t," " when you're in a down economy, why spend $300,000 on a superflous aftershool program?" "does Diana Juettner EVER have anything-constructive or otherwise to say?" "who sharpens Francis' knives and when will he relent and admit he doesn't know everything," who is Alegra Dengler and what are her Bonafides?" "is there really an Edie McCarthy on the payroll and at what time can we meet with her, without an appointment?" "does Mr. Madden talk emmes. ever?" " does the comptroller have permission to speak at board meeting when his expertise is required or does the chief financial officer without portfolio act as his Edgar Bergen despite the fact that when speaking finance, facts elude him?" "is there any hope for Central 7 or will my kids have to go to Schecter although I'm not Jewish but can't afford Hackley?" "is there going to be a meter on that library ramp to see how many disabled people use it, and if even one disabled person uses it, will we all feel better about our tax dollars spent empathetically?."

WOW! Settig up grass roots bridge table, chairs and answering machine sure yields statistically significant information to the 3 sigma level, don't you think?