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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Kind of gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling...


New press release from the Mr. Earle C. Reed, Town of New Hartford Supervisor.

The press release says:
The New Hartford Town Board has announced tentative dates for Public Hearings to encourage resident participation in the 2008 budget process. The first hearing will take place on Wednesday, November 7, 2007 at 6:00 PM prior to the regular board meeting at Butler Hall.
Isn't that nice? This year they are seeking public input to the budget.

They have set TENTATIVE dates? Mr. Reed you were at the meeting on October 24th weren't you? The Town Board passed a resolution to hold a public hearing on the TENTATIVE Budget on November 7, 2007. It is the budget that is TENTATIVE, not the date of the hearing. Of course, the town board (or someone) has been working on the TENTATIVE budget to 'tidy it up a bit' and now it is actually the Preliminary Budget that will be presented to the public. By law, you have to have the public hearing on the budget by the Thursday after election day. In other words, this year the Town Board has to hold a public hearing by November's the LAW. And by the way, the press release says:
The second [meeting] will be held on Thursday, November 8, 2007 at 7:00 PM at a location to be announced.
However, at the October 24, 2007 town board meeting the decision was that a public hearing would be held on November 7th and they would hold another one on November 8th IF NEEDED. When will they announce WHERE the November 8th meeting will be 5 PM on November 8th by posting a sign on the bulletin board outside the Town Clerk's office in Butler Hall?

Actually, Mr. Reed, for the record, I was surprised that your press release is dated October 18, 2007...the town board just passed the resolution to set the date of the public hearing at the October 24th board meeting. How can you send a press release almost a week before the information is even approved by the board? Perhaps if you had waited until after the board meeting, your press release would have been more accurate.

According to the press release:
On September 28, 2007, the New Hartford Town Bookkeeper filed the tentative budget with the Town Clerk's office and provided copies of it to each of the Town Board members. Copies of this public document can be obtained from the Town Clerk.
Don't bother requesting the tentative budget, we did and it is full of holes.

Again, according to the press release:
The legal mandate required the Town Clerk to formally present the tentative budget to the Town Board at a meeting on or before the 5th day of October. A special meeting was held on the morning of October 5, 2007 at 7:00 a.m. for this purpose. The presentation could not wait until the next regularly scheduled Board meeting on October 10, 2007 due to the legal requirement.
Mr. Reed, it's not like the legal mandate came down from above via "special delivery" on October 4, 2007...I do believe the LAW has been on the books for some time now. To hold a special meeting at 7:00 a.m. on the last day allowed by law is like putting your middle finger up to the public...something that seems to happen on a regular basis from this town board. Obviously, our elected officials have forgotten who they were elected to serve.

Last paragraph of the press release:
According to Town Supervisor, Earle C. Reed, "This year we have scheduled two hearings to encourage public input and make it more convenient for all residents to participate in our Town's budget process.
What a crock! Remember the Observer Dispatch article back on September 19, 2006:
"New Hartford dissolves citizens budget panel - 'I thought we had some impact', a former panel member says".
I guess it must have been little "too much" impact for the town board!

Concerned Citizens will be requesting a copy of the Preliminary Budget on Monday, October 29th since the press release states that it will be made available to the public by that date. We encourage ALL residents to attend these public hearings.

By the way, Mr. Reed's press release told us about the bookkeeper's part and the Town Clerk's part...the only person whose name we don't see mentioned is Mr. Frank Basile, the person who just signed a contract with the town to provide help with the budget for $150 hour. So did Mr. Basile have any part in preparing this budget? More importantly, is he willing to admit that he had any part in preparing this budget?

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