He starts by saying:
In 2005, I was elected town supervisor with a total budget of $12.6 million and a fund balance of $5.4 million. It was clear that having a fund balance that was almost 43 percent of our budget was unnecessary. Instead of raising property taxes like so many of our neighbors had done or were about to do, we opted over the next several years to manage an increasing budget by not punishing our residents with a tax increase simply to bank funds. We made a concerted decision not to accumulate funds at the expense of increased fiscal pressure upon our constituents.Hmm! Supervisor Reed wants us to believe that this was all part of 'the plan'. They merely had the taxpayers in mind...they didn't want to 'punish' town residents with a tax increase. Isn't that nice of them.
Let's take a close look at the result of their 'plan' now that we know the actual 2008 ending fund balances. We'll compare the actual fund balances at year-end 2008 to the dollars that were projected to be used from the Fund Balances to offset 2009 expenditures.
There are four (4) major funds in the Town of New Hartford. Here are the funds with the dollars budgeted for 2009 to offset the expenditures as compared to the actual 2008 fund balances as reported to the State Comptroller's office (click on the graphic for larger print):
Supervisor Reed goes on to say:
So what might be a “reasonable” fund balance for a town our size?Good question, Supervisor Reed. We think it might be prudent to at least keep enough fund balance to cover the amount that the town board plans to use to offset budgeted expenses each year!
Looking at the adopted budgets and the year-end transfers, it is clear that there were no checks and balances to monitor all the "inflows and outflows." They didn't have a plan...they were 'flying by the seats of their pants' when it came to running the Town of New Hartford. Their only plan was to keep the taxpayers happy until the bonding was secured for the improvements to Larry Adler's private development. Remember the Town Crier ad that said VOTE YES means no tax increase. They lied! Unless they really curtail ALL unnecessary spending and the sales tax revenue spikes for the remainder of 2009, we predict there will most definitely be a tax increase for 2010.
We are providing a copy of the 2009 adopted town budget and a copy of the 2008 Annual Financial Report that the town filed with the State Comptroller's office in May 2009.
Tomorrow, we will share the February 2009 letter from Standard and Poor's that Supervisor Reed mentioned in his guest editorial. Supervisor Reed left out a few words that tell a slightly different story than the one he wrote.