Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Declining Revenues?? (cont'd)

After reviewing the 5 pages of year-end transfers, Concerned Citizens decided to create some spreadsheets to try to figure out why.

So let's start with General Wholetown. This is the portion of the budget that everyone, including the Village of New York Mills pays. Click on each of the charts to view a larger version.

In our chart above...Wholetown Budgeted Revenues (black print) are the total of the itemized revenues for each of the budget line items. Summary Sheet Revenues (red print) are the amount of revenues that the town board plans to use to offset the appropriations per the Summary Sheets that are always attached to each budget.

By reviewing the Summary Sheet each year you would be able to figure out the tax rate. To determine the dollars to be raised by taxes you would subtract the Estimated Revenues from the Appropriations, less any Fund Balance; to determine the tax rate you would then divide the amount to be raised by the Assessed Value. The amount of revenues used vs. the anticipated revenues has a direct effect on the tax rate.

Looking at the chart above, you will notice that for the 2006 General Wholetown budget, the previous administration used slightly less revenues on the Summary Sheet than they actually anticipated would be collected. Probably in case some of the anticipated revenues were not received. Remember a budget is only an estimate.

Now look at 2007 and 2008 under Supervisor Reed. By comparing the two numbers for each year, you will notice that the town board actually overstated the amount of revenues used to determine the tax rate on the Summary Sheet compared to the total of the actual budgeted line items for General Wholetown in each of those years.

Next let's look at Wholetown Minus NYM. As we have already discussed this is the budget associated with the Police, Animal Control and Traffic Control. The Village of NYM is not taxed for this portion of the budget. Again, click on the chart to view a larger version.

For General Wholetown Minus NYM in 2007 and 2008, the present administration understated the revenues by about $100,000 in 2007 and $150,000 for 2008. It makes no sense why would you overstate revenue for one portion of the town and underestimate on the other portion?

Now let's combine both the General Wholetown and General Wholetown Minus NYM revenues for each year to get a combined total of anticipated revenues:

You will see that in 2006, the previous administration overall used slightly less total revenues for the Summary Sheet. Makes sense.

However, in both 2007 and 2008, for some reason, Supervisor Reed's administration overstated total anticipated revenues on the Summary Sheet. This makes it quite apparent that the overstating and understating in each portion of the budget is not a matter of a misunderstanding of how the appropriations and revenues are split between the two parts of the budget. Obviously, if the total revenues when combining both parts of the budget are more than even anticipated for total General Town Revenues, there is something else at play here.

Just doesn't make sense...why would you use more revenues to offset the appropriations than you think you are going to get by year end?

a. Because you have left some revenues off the budget detail that you know will be just didn't bother to itemize them.

b. Because you put the budget together on a "wing and a prayer".

c. Because you are playing games with the budget?
  • In 2007, the General Wholetown Minus NYM tax rate tripled and the General Wholetown tax rate decreased.

  • In 2008, the General Wholetown Minus NYM tax rate dropped by 25% and the General Wholetown increased.
d. Because you are trying to artificially keep the tax rate low...Can you say BOND?
It certainly makes one wonder if the appropriations have been correctly stated, for that matter, can anything in the 2007 and 2008 budget be believed?

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