The Town Attorney and Town Comptroller are appointed to one-year terms.Really? According to the 2008 Budget, we don't have a Town Comptroller; we have a Financial Consultant and according to the contract signed by Mr. Frank Basile and Town Supervisor Earle Reed, the Town of New Hartford has retained Mr. Basile's firm for a 16-month period from September 10, 2007 to December 31, 2008...not for a year.
On bottom of page 8...Under Financial Organization:
The Supervisor and Bookkeeper are responsible for all financial and budgetary transactions of the town. Their duties include administration, direction and control of the following divisions: Accounting, Purchasing, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Audit and Control, Budgeting and Payroll Personnel.They may be responsible by town law, but it's pretty safe to bet that Town Supervisor Earle Reed is not part of the equation...that's why Mr. Reed opted to contract for the services of Mr. Frank Basile's firm.
Concerned Citizens was curious as to what services have been provided to the Town of New Hartford by Mr. Basile's firm and just how much the Town of New Hartford has paid the firm, so we FOILed all of Mr. Basile's invoices.
According to monthly invoices received from Frank J. Basile, CPA's, P.C., the firm has been paid to:
PROGRESS BILLING FOR:
Assistance with the annual budget process;PROGRESS BILLING FOR:
Advice and guidance on financing and/or expensing various highway, planning and administrative costs;
Updating accounting and record-keeping procedures and bookkeeping systems;
Other accounting and management advisory services as requested by Town Supervisor or Town Board;
Assist Town of New Hartford with negotiations and financial matters relating to the development of the New Hartford Business Park, including discussions, research, consultations, telephone conferences, development of spreadsheets & loan amortization schedules, & meetings with MV Edge and OCIDA officials, Bond Counsel, Fiscal Advisors personnel, Town of New Hartford officials, New Hartford Central School officials, board members & Administration, NYSDOT officials & administration, & Oneida County officials relating to negotiations for PILOT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) allocation agreements and tax revenue and expense projections (based on PILOT agreements) for Business Park occupants; assist Town of New Hartford with researching and securing Federal, State and Local grants available to offset project costs related to construction/re-construction of "Break-in-access" on Route 840;From September 10, 2007 to December 31, 2007, the town paid Mr. Basile's firm a total of $25,818.50. So far in 2008, January to July 31, the Town of New Hartford has paid Mr. Basile's firm $71,004...total amount paid for the first 11 months of Mr. Basile's contract is $96,822.50. Considering that the Town of New Hartford has signed a 16-month contract with Mr. Basile's firm...there are still 5 months to go to the end of Mr. Basile's current contract! When you take into account the fact that this work is supposed to be performed by the Town Supervisor and the bookkeeper, the town seems to be paying a lot of money to Mr. Basile's firm.
When we noticed that Mr. Basile's invoices indicated that part of the billing was to assist the town with the financial arrangements for the New Hartford Business Park, we decided to ask for copies of the appropriate invoices so that we could share them with town residents.
According to the invoices, the total amount paid to Mr. Basile's firm thus far for help with the New Hartford Business Park financial arrangements...about $30,000. Yet, in answer to our FOIL requests, Town Supervisor Earle Reed has certified that as of today there are no signed agreements relating to the New Hartford Business Park improvements and the 840 intersection other than the PILOT agreement that has yet to be approved by the County Legislators.
Concerned Citizens can't help but wonder how much more the Town of New Hartford will need to pay Mr. Basile to complete his work on the New Hartford Business Park. Just how much will this private development "project" end up costing taxpayers in the long run and how many other "hidden" costs will taxpayers shoulder?
to be continued...
UPDATE: We did receive a certification from Town Attorney Gerald Green regarding the PILOT agreement that he provided to us in answer to our FOIL request. However, Attorney Green's certification says:
This is to certify that the executed Payment-In-Lieu-Of-Tax Agreement provided the Town Clerk with my email dated September 10, 2008 is the only such signed agreement of which I have knowledge. I have no knowledge of its status.That should give everyone a good feeling...the Town Attorney does not know the status of an agreement that he provided to us through the Freedom of Information Law.
Attorney Green...FYI...the County Board of Legislators hasn't approved a resolution for the PILOT yet...how the exemption was placed on the Town of New Hartford tax rolls already without the blessing of the County Board of Legislators is anyone's guess.