We went to the New Hartford Town Board informational meeting tonight. The start of the meeting was delayed a few minutes--I heard one of the councilmen in the back of the room say they were waiting for Earle. Unfortunately, Town Supervisor Earle Reed never showed up--guess something more important must have come up at the last minute--not that he would have had any answers to the questions, but it sure would have made it look like he was interested in getting information out to the taxpayers.
The meeting started out with a question from one of our Concerned Citizens for Honest & Open Government who asked if the town board could tell us the maturity of each of the bonds. The town board didn't know, but they will have the information tomorrow. You would think that by now they would have that information readily available. At any rate, we didn't bother asking how much the bonding increased the actual cost of each of the proposed expenditures--we figured if they didn't know the maturities of the bonds (we sure thought that the financial planner that the town has hired would have given them that information by now!), they sure as Hell wouldn't know how much the bonding increased the actual costs of each of the bonded items. For those that aren't familiar with bonding, there are many costs associated with the bonding besides the actual face value of each bond--costs such as interest, bond counsel, printing, hiring the financial planner, etc. Much like any loan, the payback always makes the cost of the item more than just paying cash.
Mr. Payne read from the same slide presentation that we have seen before--same old, same old. By the way, here's a picture that was included in the information regarding stormwater damage in New Hartford. I actually questioned the town board as to why this picture was included in the presentation of stormwater damage--I thought maybe I was missing something because it looks to me like wind damage. They didn't seem to know why it was included either--maybe they just needed to fill the space. Like everything else they do, it is not very well thought out.
The good news -- if you didn't make it to this meeting--don't worry--you didn't miss much. They expect residents to vote in favor of the $4.6 million in spending, but they haven't done their homework. We probably caught them off guard when we collected the signatures forcing a vote. When they passed those resolutions on October 4, 2006, they probably never dreamed that they needed to explain anything to anyone. I guess they still don't think any explanations are necessary!
Watch our blog. We will be going proposition by proposition and let you know what the Town Board said at the "informational" meeting, what they haven't told you and we will even throw in a few surprises along the way.