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Monday, November 30, 2009

Police Patrols for Private Entities...Part 2

Did you happen to read the second article in today's Observer Dispatch regarding Police Patrols...Police Patrols for Private Entities 'Fairly Regular'?

According to the article:
Many agencies give extra protection to private entities for a fee, said Richard Carey, deputy director of the state Association of Chiefs of Police.

“I think it’s done pretty much across the state on a fairly regular basis,” he said.
We were curious as to how much of each officers pay could be contributed to pay over and above their regular pay so we did a spreadsheet.

Per the current ...Police Contract, police officer wages are based on 2,080 hours per year. So we took the 2008 hourly wage reported in the December 2007 Organizational Town Board Minutes [graphic in our previous blog] and multiplied that hourly wage by 2,080 hours to determine each officer's regular yearly wage.

Next, we visited See Through N.Y. to determine the gross pay of each officer from April 1, 2008 to March 31, 2009.

We then subtracted the regular pay from the reported yearly gross pay to see how much more than the regular pay each officer actually received and sorted the list of officers by the amount of extra pay received; from highest to lowest. We weren't able to calculate the part-time employees because we didn't have the exact number of hours they regularly work.

As you can see from the graphic below, Sgt. Robert Philo makes the most [$27,446.60 more]over and above his calculated regular pay. Chief Philo's contention that:
...officers who did the contractual services usually are newer to the department.
seems to be questionable. The officers who made the most over and above their regular salary are definitely not newcomers to the NHPD. Click on graphic to view larger print:
Obviously, this is not a clear indication of which officers are working the special patrols because there may be other factors that determine the amount of extra pay an officer receives; it needs to be studied further by the town board.

Anyway, according to the second story in the Observer Dispatch:
The Sheriff’s Office charges about $62 per hour per deputy, he said [Undersheriff M. Peter Paravati]. That cost covers the deputy’s hourly rate, as well as a prorated portion of benefits including workers compensation, Social Security and health care, he said.
That's a far cry from the $30 an hour that New Hartford charges. The thing that struck us is the fact that according to the Oneida County Sheriff website:
The starting salary for a Deputy Sheriff - Patrol in 2006 is $34,638, with a maximum salary for a senior deputy of $46,545. The starting/senior salaries for 2007-2008 are not determined as of March, 2008.
Look at the regular pay for New Hartford Police; even the lowest paid officer makes $41,371.20 as regular pay and yet New Hartford charges $30 an hour for private patrols; less than half of what the Sheriff's Office charges.

According to the article:
The Utica Police Department recently stopped providing police services to events that are not sponsored by the city in some form, city officials said.

“It’s a decision we have made based on potential liability that the city might face should something occur during one of these private security events,” Utica Corporation Counsel Linda Sullivan Fatata said.
Hmm! Liability...that's another good reason for the town board to reconsider whether or not these patrols should continue.

The reporter also contacted Whitestown Police Chief Donald Wolanin; he said:
Whitestown Police Chief Donald Wolanin said there were few private events in his jurisdiction, but his officers do sometimes patrol school sporting events.

When his officers patrol events at a school, they are paid by the school, not his department, he said.

“It keeps us a little out of it, and it doesn’t affect my budget,” he said. “It’s one of the few chances our police officers have to make some extra money.”
Interesting...while these special patrols may be 'fairly regular', New Hartford seems to be the only area department that expects their taxpayers to foot the bill for private entities.

We have no problem with police officers making some "extra" cash, the problem is that is shouldn't be at the expense of the already overburdened taxpayer.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

No Offense Chief Philo, but your facts don't add up...

According to the article in today's Observer Dispatch:
St. Luke’s and Sangertown each reimburse the town $33 an hour for patrols. Marquee’s rate is the amount of the officer’s pay — including overtime — plus $20 per night for the car, Philo said.
Interesting $33 per hour for patrols at Sangertown and St. Luke's. Did the police department raise the rate absent town board approval just like they signed a contract for services without board approval?

According to the Town Board resolution passed on December 29, 2008, the rate is $30 an hour. Up to that point the rate had been set at $22 per hour; we blogged about it back in January 2008 when we first noticed that the rate was no where near the actual cost and taxpayers were making up the difference. Our blog was probably why the town board finally voted to raise the rate in December 2008 [don't let them fool you, they read our blog].

Here is the excerpt from the Town Board Minutes:
MONDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2008 AT 6:00 P.M.

Police Patrol Rates – Sangertown Square Mall & Faxton-St. Luke’s Healthcare

After review with the Police Chief, Councilman Payne offered the following Resolution for adoption; seconded by Councilwoman Krupa:

(RESOLUTION NO. 336 OF 2008)

WHEREAS, the Town Code, Chapter 25 thereof entitled Police Department, Section 25-4 provides for Rates and Charges with regard to police patrols at the Sangertown Square Mall and Faxton-St. Luke’s Healthcare; and

WHEREAS, the initial rate established was Twenty-two Dollars ($22) per hour for police services and provides that a renegotiated rate shall be established by resolution;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the New Hartford Town Board does hereby increase the hourly rate to Thirty Dollars ($30) per hour for New Hartford Police Officers working assignments at Sangertown Square Mall and Faxton-St. Luke’s Healthcare, effective January 1, 2009; said monthly rate to be reimbursed to the Town on a monthly basis.

Upon roll call, the Board members voted as follows:

Councilwoman Krupa - Aye
Councilman Reynolds - Aye
Councilman Woodland - Aye
Councilman Payne - Aye
Supervisor Reed - Absent.

The Resolution was declared unanimously carried and duly ADOPTED.
Chief Philo also said in the OD article:
Also, the work always is done as overtime and does not take away from normal town patrols, Philo said.
Overtime?? Now that's interesting to note! Here are the 2008 hourly wages of the police officers as reported in the town board minutes of December 28, 2007 [click on graphic for larger print].

The lowest hourly wage for 2008 was $19.89 an hour. The NH Police Contract expired on December 28, 2008; negotiations are currently taking place. Let's figure in a 3% yearly raise; that would make the 2009 hourly wage for this officer $20.48. Now figure that wage at overtime [1-1/2 times] equals $30.72 an hour. Looks like even if only the lowest paid officer is used for the patrols, the taxpayer is picking up some of the cost since the town board has set the hourly reimbursement rate at $30. That $30 doesn't even fully cover the overtime wages of the lowest paid officer not to mention the benefits, i.e. the employers share of social security, pension, workers comp, etc. How about pay on holidays...isn't that paid at double time?

According to the article Chief Philo said:
...officers who did the contractual services usually are newer to the department.
Chief Philo, isn't that your brother [Police Sargeant Robert Philo] pictured in the article as he is checking in at St. Luke's; one could hardly call him a newcomer to the NHPD [guess the operative word in your quote above is usually]. According to our figures Sargeant Philo is paid $30.78 straight time. That means he makes $46.17 per hour overtime and that does not include the cost of his benefits or the cost of the patrol car. The Town of New Hartford only charges St. Luke's $30 an hour.

The Observer Dispatch article says:
But the town isn’t footing the bill for this security. Instead, the Police Department contracts out its officers to patrol private entities — a practice that brings in nearly $60,000 a year.
Hmm...$60,000 revenue a year. That's interesting! Here is a page from the 2010 adopted budget showing the anticipated revenues for the New Hartford Police Department. The only revenue we see is a total of $37,560 for St. Lukes and Sangertown. Where is the rest of the $60,000 of revenue...where is the revenue from the Marquee?

And what about town board approval? The article says:
Philo said he didn’t think it was necessary for him to bring the contract, which has brought the town about $13,500 since it was established, to the board because he believed the situation was temporary.
Could you expound on that Chief Philo? Where does town law say that a contract to allocate public property and monies can be signed without town board approval if it is a temporary situation? We also don't see any indication in the contract signed between the Lt. O'Neill and The Marquee Cinema that this is a temporary contract.

The OD reporter, Elizabeth Cooper, notes that:
Though its opinions are not binding, the Attorney General’s Office has been clear in its objection to police departments’ contracts with private entities.

An opinion dated June 14, 1974, said the practice goes against the state Constitution.
“I know of no statutory authority allowing a town to provide police services on contract for private persons or organizations,” the opinion states.

Officials from the Attorney General’s Office provided the opinions last week but did not comment on the issue.
We believe that the Attorney General is referring to the Gifts & Loans Clause of the NYS Constitution, Article 8, Section 1:
No county, city, town, village or school district shall give or loan any money or property to or in aid of any individual, or private corporation or association, or private undertaking, or become directly or indirectly the owner of stock in, or bonds of, any private corporation or association...
Didn't a violation of that provision of the NYS Constitution cause the demise of one or two public officials in the 1990s?

A search of the web found the rates charged by the Middlebury Connecticut police [document dated June 28, 2009]. If the town of New Hartford figured their rates based on the same expenses as detailed in this document, it wouldn't be a violation of the Gifts and Loan Clause because there would be no cost to taxpayers.

Guess the only thing to do is put this in the "court of public opinion".

Should the New Hartford Police Department be selling their services to private corporations at taxpayer expense, particularly when taxpayers are facing a 46% tax increase and another double digit increase in 2011? We would love to hear your comments...

Friday, November 27, 2009

"U" taken out of the picture...

Four (4) years ago, "U" were no longer welcomed as a participant in your town government.

First it was the town website [Councilman Payne's wife is the chair of the town communications committee and Councilman Payne is the board liaison with no town resident on board].

Or how about the disbanding of the Citizens Budget Committee when Earle Reed was quoted as saying "My philosophy is, that residents don't have all the information we have."

Then there was the $5.6 million of bonds that they tried to sneak by "U" and the illegal closing of the stormwater meetings.

We also finally were made aware of the secret panel that was negotiating the business park deal behind closed doors.

Councilman Payne even proposed a resolution to keep "U" quiet at town board meetings. When Councilman Payne included the Town Board Protocol resolution on the agenda at a recent town board meeting, a resident questioned whether or not it would be discussed that evening. Councilman Payne stated that it would not be discussed that evening, but an updated resolution will be brought before the board at the Organizational Meeting. Got news for you Councilman Payne, you won't be at the next organizational meeting; your term will have already expired.

We were recently sent further evidence of the town keeping "U" out of the picture. The sign at the corner of Court Knolle and Imperial Drive was recently replaced:

There were other signs that "U" were not welcome; but "U" get the picture.

Now four (4) years later, "U" are left to wonder what happened because no real clear explanation has been given to "U". At this point, the Town of New Hartford is in serious financial distress and the town board recently adopted a town budget for 2010 with a 46% town tax increase that "U" will have to pay because of their mismanagement of your tax dollars.

On January 1, 2010, the makeup of the town board will change when a new town supervisor and Ward 1 Councilman will be sworn in. Will "U" be brought back to New Hartford town government? Councilman Woodland and Councilwoman Krupa certainly have good reason to start bringing "U" back; they will need "U" to vote for them come election 2011. Let's hope that the new town board will give "U" a "sign". If not, "U" need to be prepared to stand up and demand it!

We will be watching...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

2010 Adopted Town of New Hartford Budget

We are providing a copy of the 2010 budget that was adopted by the current town board on November 18, 2009 with a vote of three to two. Councilwoman Krupa and Councilman Woodland, both up for reelection in 2011, voted "nay". Councilman David Reynolds, the only councilman returning for a second term starting in 2010 voted "aye" as did "retired" Councilman Robert Payne and Town Supervisor Earle C. Reed [who opted not to run for a second term].

One new part of the 2010 adopted budget is that the New Hartford Police Department is now a separate fund. Page 17 of the budget shows the appropriations and page 18 shows the anticipated revenue.

You will notice that under Other Tax Items on page 18, there is no anticipated sales tax revenue; however, there is $2,602,161 of property tax that pays for the Police Department. Obviously Chief Philo was mistaken when he told Peter that his department is paid for with sales tax revenue.

We will be blogging more about the budget after the holiday. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mis-Management Letter...

As reported in today's Observer Dispatch article, Firm criticizes town’s oversight of cash from departments: State auditors expected this week in N. Hartford Barone & Howard's 2008 Management Letter has finally been made available; just in time for next year's audit.

According to Ms. Mowat at last night's town board meeting, auditors from the State Comptroller's Office in Syracuse have arrived and are in the process of going over documents and financial records of the Town of New Hartford. Perhaps this year Santa Reed will be the one getting a Holiday surprise...

Copy of the 2008 Management Letter from Barone, Howard & Co, CPAs, PC.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Town Board Meeting...

tonight, Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at 6:00 P.M. in Butler Hall.

Agenda now online!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Flawed Logic...

"If you had a residence here 10 years ago, you are paying $29 more than you did then...$29 more!"

How many times have we heard that phrase from Budget Director Heather Mowat? Earle Reed also incorporated that phrase in his Observer Dispatch Guest Editorial. According to Earle:
In today’s dollars, a home assessed in New Hartford in 1999 at $150,000 paid $300 in town property taxes for all town services we enjoy, such as police protection, beautiful parks, a library, a senior nutrition site and road maintenance. In 2009, that same house paid $329, or just an increase of $29, a 10 percent increase over 10 years. It wasn’t reasonable to believe that the town could continue sustaining inflationary increases in salaries, benefits and utilities without having similar increases in revenues and thus began the progression of utilizing the town’s fund balance instead of raising property taxes.
$29 dollars...kind of makes it sound like we shouldn't be complaining at all. But wait one cotton pickin' minute...the house that was assessed for $150,000 ten (10) years ago in most cases has had their assessment raised 2 or 3 times in the last 10 years and is now assessed at $200,000.

We are sure most people remember that back in 2003 about $110,000,000 of assessed value was added to the assessment roll. That was the year that the New Hartford Central School had the audacity to propose an increase in the school tax rate and the voters turned it down the first time through. In 2004 & 2005 more assessed value was added to the town roll.

Yes, that same house even though the owner never did a thing to it saw an increase in assessed value; that is, of course, unless the owner was "lucky" enough to not have their assessment increased.

To prove our point, we will use Supervisor Reed's example of a house assessed for $150,000 in 1999. If the tax rate was $2.00 per thousand 10 years ago, the town property tax on the $150,000 house was $300 in 1999; just like Earle said.

In 2009, after 3 years of reassessment and a new property assessment of $200,000, that same house paid $438 in town property tax based on the 2009 tax rate of $2.19 per thousand. That's not a 10% increase...that is a 32% increase over 10 years ago.

However, we all know that the tax rate for 2010 is now proposed to be $3.36 per thousand so that SAME house that paid $438 town property tax in 2009, will now pay $672 in town property tax...that's $234 more in ONE year...making it a 54% increase in one year on top of a 32% increase over the last 10 years.

So with the proposed 54% increase in 2010, that same home assessed for $100,000 in 1999 is now paying 45% more town property tax than they paid in 1999.

Of course, we can understand why Supervisor Reed and Heather Mowat might fail to take the reassessments into consideration. Mr. Reed has never had his house his property taxes never increased until 2009 when the tax rate increased. As for Ms. Mowat; she doesn't live in New Hartford so she was never affected by the reassessments.

Bottom line folks...spending needs to be controlled and it hasn't been for the past 4 years. Contracts are being signed without board knowledge, secret meetings are taking place pledging taxpayer dollars, overtime is being handed out to those who do not qualify, fund balance has been used so that taxpayers would not notice the increased spending and developers are in bed with the politicians. How dare they try to justify their 54% tax increase by using flawed logic...there is NO justification for the past 4 years of mismanagement...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Just the facts ma'm...

A comment was sent to us regarding the contract for the Marquee Cinema and we want to address it on our blog because many people probably are not aware of how the town budget is put together. In part, Peter wrote:
I spoke with the police chief after the meeting last night. If I understand him right, he explained that, the police department is paid for with sales tax revenue not by property tax. The reason for this is that all things that are partial town services are financed by sales tax.
The Chief may or may not be partially correct; the last we knew Budget Director Heather Mowat was checking to see if sales tax revenue can be used to offset the cost of the police dept. To date, no sales tax revenue has been used to offset the police appropriations on any budget we have seen since 2003.

Some history...Under NYS law, sales tax revenue has to first be used to offset budgeted Part-town expenses. Villages receive their own share of the sales tax revenue that they use to offset their village expenses; therefore, they cannot share in the sales tax revenue for the town.

There are two actual part-town accounts in the Town of New Hartford - General Part-Town [Zoning, Planning, Registrar, etc.] and Highway Part-Town.

For the 2010 budget, the expenditures relating to those two funds total $3,897,486 less total revenue for the two funds of $612,050 [to include $90,000 of rainy day fund balance]. $3,285,426 of sales tax revenue has been budgeted to offset (balance) expenses in the part-town funds.

Sales tax revenue has been projected to be $5,000,000 in the 2010 Preliminary Budget. So after first applying sales tax revenue to the two (2) part-town funds, that would leave a total of $1,714,574 of projected sales tax revenue to be used for other purposes.

At a recent town board meeting, Budget Director Heather Mowat stated that she is waiting for a decision from the State Comptroller's Office as to whether or not any sales tax revenue can be used to offset the Police Budget. Ms. Mowat has not reported back on that subject, but we found a State Comptroller's Opinion online.

The opinion says:
Tax Law, §1262(c), as amended by L 1984, ch 850, provides that, if a town and all villages within the town elect to receive their shares of county sales tax in cash, the town shall apply its share to "reduce taxes levied for part-town activities". If any balance remains, the town may apply the remainder for any of the following purposes or any combination thereof: (a) to reduce general town taxes; (b) to reduce county taxes levied in the area of the town outside the villages; or (c) to finance part-town activities.
The comptroller's opinion further states that:
The term "part-town activities" is defined for this purpose to mean, in pertinent part, "(a)activities of town government, including highway programs, which are chargeable to the area of the town outside of villages ..." (Tax Law, §1262[f][4]).
Although the Village of NYM does not pay for the police budget, the Village of New Hartford does, so it would therefore make sense that the fund would not be considered totally part-town. How could the town allow only one of the villages to share sales tax revenue? Therefore, only (a) above applies - to reduce general town taxes; meaning those taxes collected from all residents in the Town of New Hartford whether they reside in a village or not.

So is Chief Philo correct in saying that sales tax revenue covers his department's expenses? We can tell you that since 2003, no sales tax has been used to offset the Town Police budget. At the moment, there is no sales tax in the 2010 Preliminary Budget to offset Police expenses. We can only wait and see what opinion Heather Mowat receives from the State Comptroller. Clearly, even if the sales tax can be used to offset the police budget, after applying the revenue to the two part-town funds as required by law, there is not enough sales tax money left to cover the entire New Hartford Police Department budget for 2010 which totals $2,656,788 after applying departmental anticipated revenue.

So now let's take another look at the Marquee contract. What is wrong with it you might ask?

For one thing, the overtime pay for the officer is being paid out of the budget under salary [Police Personal Services], however, the 2010 Budget does not reflect the revenue side of the equation.

Here's the 2010 Preliminary Budget...does anyone see AA-2773-6 Pol Sp Patrl Marque Cinema [the account the money is being deposited in] listed as a revenue account? So where is the money being spent...certainly not to offset the overtime pay, not to mention the employers share of social security, the added pension, workers comp, etc. There is absolutely no accounting for the money received from the Marquee Cinema in the 2010 budget. Therefore, your tax dollars are being used to offset the cost of police services and a police car to a private property owner. How's that make you feel?

For another thing, there was never any town board approval given to the Police Dept. to sign this contract; it appears that town board members didn't even know that the police were doing this special patrol. We only found out about it because of a report we were given through the FOIL process. Then there is the question of how Lt. O'Neill has the authority to sign a contract for the use of town police services and a patrol car in the first place.

We have been told that there will be an explanation given at a future town board meeting. We can't wait to hear it! Hopefully, we will also hear about the contract that was reportedly signed for New Hartford Police services at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Utica.

Strikeslip also wrote another blog on the topic - Private Police Deal in NH - Another Angle...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Planning a vacation?

Don't leave town until you "rent" a New Hartford Police Department car to sit in your driveway or outside the front of your home!

For $20 a day you too can contract to have a police car parked outside your home just like the Marquee Cinema. [Patrolman on overtime duty costs extra; however town taxpayers will pick up the incidental costs such as increased pension benefits, social security, worker's comp, administrative costs, etc.]

For more information, contact Lt. Tim O'Neill of the NHPD. By the way, this apparently doesn't need town board approval because no one on the board seems to be aware that these services are being provided! You also don't need to be located in New Hartford to contract with the NHPD; or so we have been told.

Read more on Strikeslip's blog - Private Police Deal in New Hartford

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Budget Hearing tomorrow in NYM...

The Town Board has changed the venue for the Nov. 12 public hearing on the 2010 proposed town budget. It will be held at the New York Mills Union Free School, 1 Marauder Boulevard, New York Mills starting at 6 p.m.

This is your last chance to speak up before the budget is approved by the town board!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Planning Board meeting...

Monday, November 9, 2009 at 5:30 p.m. downstairs meeting room in the New Hartford Public Library. Agenda now available online!

On the agenda...

There will be a Public Hearing...Upstate Cellular for proposed 100’ monopole and 12’ x 30’ accessory structure at 8639 Seneca Turnpike (Yahnundasis Golf Club); Tax Map 329.008-1-1; Acreage of site location: .23+ acres; Zoning: PDREC.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Route 840 break-in access...

A public hearing was held to discuss the options for break-in access on Route 840. The hearing lasted about 2 hours. We are providing the video in 2 parts:

Part 1

Part 2

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Next Budget Hearing changed to NYM School...

The Town Board has changed the venue for the Nov. 12 public hearing on the 2010 proposed town budget. It will be held at the New York Mills Union Free School, 1 Marauder Boulevard, New York Mills at 6 p.m.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Video of the first of two Public Hearings on the 2010 Town Budget...

On Thursday evening, November 5, 2009, the town board held the first of two Public Hearings on the Preliminary 2010 Budget. The meeting lasted almost 2 hours; therefore, we are providing the videotape in three parts.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

The next Public Hearing on the 2010 Preliminary Budget will be held on Thursday, November 12, 2009 at 6:00 p.m. in the Perry Junior High. Please plan to be there so that town officials know how you feel about the proposed 54% increase. As we have mentioned before, along with that tax increase, bonding is being proposed to cover the cost of paving, roof repairs and equipment. Make your voice heard; even if you attended the first hearing. Remember, there is strength in numbers!

Don't forget, Saturday, November 7, 2009 at noon there will be a public hearing on the proposed Route 840 access options. The hearing will be held at Perry Junior High.

November 4, 2009 Town Board Meeting

Below is the video of the November 4, 2009 Town Board Meeting. During the meeting, Councilwoman Krupa presented budget cuts that she felt should be made. There was also a discussion of the stormwater work in Jubilee Estates; stormwater issues on Royal Brook Lane and Sedgewick stormwater issues.

Copy of the agenda that was made available at the meeting.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Way To Go Christine!!!

You asked a good question last night...just what kind of double-talk was Earle spewing in his guest editorial, More cuts necessary to get New Hartford on right track, that appeared in Sunday's Observer Dispatch?

Obviously, Mr. Reed doesn't mind 'derailing' the train as this economic engine spits and sputters its way through the mounting evidence of financial mismanagement of taxpayer monies. During last night's town board meeting, it became quite apparent that this runaway engine will be fueled by a 54% increase in the town tax rate [and a larger increase for town residents in NYM].

A couple of weeks ago, Councilwoman Krupa spent numerous evenings talking to department heads in an effort to look for further cuts to lower the proposed tax increase. Neither Supervisor Reed, Councilman Reynolds, nor Councilman Payne bothered to attend any of those workshops. That alone set a clear message that cuts would not be made and the budget increase would stay at 54%.

As reported in the Observer Dispatch, Krupa proposes cuts to lower 54 percent tax increase, Councilwoman Krupa presented a list of cuts that she felt could be made, but no one on the town board was willing to discuss any of her suggestions.

It is troubling and sad to say, Coucilman Rich Woodland decided to remain silent and not stand tall with Councilwoman Krupa last night even though he took part in the budget workshops. Obviously, Councilman Woodland thinks he has enough time between now and his bid for re-election in November 2011 to convince his constituents that he really is looking out for them. Or perhaps he is so afraid of the impending train wreck that he is choosing to stay at the station and wait to see if there is another train arriving to take him to Victory Lane. Sorry Rich, the conductor has already yelled "All Aboard"; the train has started pulling out of the station and the next train probably won't arrive in time to get you to your destination!

Here is the handout of the proposed cuts provided by Councilwoman Krupa at the town board meeting last night. Look closely and you will see that right now $1,381,140 of bonding is also on the table to supplement the 54% tax increase...more debt.

We might also mention that last night Councilwoman Krupa stood up for the residents on Royal Brook Lane in New York Mills that have been battling severe stormwater issues during heavy rainstorms. She demanded that the $40,000 for remediation work be put back in the budget and it seemed that at least that will be done...whether or not the work will actually be done remains to be seen.

Don't forget tonight's Public Hearing on the 2010 budget at Perry Junior High starting at 6 p.m.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Town Board Meeting Tonight...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009 at 6 p.m. in Butler Hall. Agenda now online!

The first of two public hearings on the 2010 Preliminary Budget is scheduled for Thursday, November 5, 2009 to be held at Perry Jr. High School starting at 6:00 p.m.

On Saturday, November 7, 2009 there will be a public meeting on the options for access to the New Hartford Business Park from Route 840. This meeting will be held at the Perry Junior High School starting at noon.

The public is urged to attend to give their views on this important issue. Written comments will also be accepted through Monday, November 16. Written comments should be sent to Town Planner Kurt Schwenzfeier at the Sanger Building, 111 New Hartford Street, New Hartford, NY 13413.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A message from yours truly...Boss Hogg

My fellow taxpayers of the Town of New Hartford [and especially my "friends" know who you are] our town has been fraught with a lot of negative publicity regarding the dwindling town fund balance. Let me assure you that with a few more cuts [that I didn't have the guts to to keep my "friends" happy, ya know] we will be able to turn things around. No, it won't be right away...our estimate is within the next 5 maybe 6 years, but by golly we are going to see to it that the turnaround becomes reality. After all, we are the best town in the 3 county area of NYS, bar none.

Let me put the situation in today's dollars...I like to put it that way because it makes it look like I really know what I am talking about. Anyway, in today's dollars you are only paying $29 more on your tax bill than you were 10 years ago. Hell if I had known that a couple of years ago, I would have spent even more...

Thing is, I tried to spare you the constant bother of tax increases so I overstated revenues, used fund balance to offset my never-ending increased spending and even did a little co-mingling of funds...heck you didn't even know I did that, but I did. Understand though, it was to save you, my fellow taxpayers, I just truly love you all!

We have seen many challenges over my administration, but I was right there fighting for you. If those dang sales tax projections Frank helped us incorporate into the annual budget became reality, we wouldn't be in this mess...unfortunately, other people didn't spend like there was no tomorrow. I set a goal for the sales tax revenue I needed to balance my budget. But, too many people watched their own budget [sure there were people laid off from their job, but you have to spend money to make money] and the spending did not equate to my projections of how much money was needed to keep this economic engine in fuel. Not my fault, you understand, it's the economy...screwed me all up! Damn banks had a hand in all this too and gas just went out of sight [not enough to keep me from my frequent trips to my home in Florida, you understand, but nonetheless it all hurt our growing community].

But look at all the good I have done...I single-handedly stopped NYRI [well, actually there were some other people involved, but they played a minor role]. We fixed the stormwater issues plaguing the Tibbitts Road/Oxford Road area [my friend Virk needed us to do something so he could get his housing project started without being blamed for adding to the stormwater issues]. Then there is the library expansion. Why if I hadn't held that illegal town board meeting to give assurances to the library board that I would fund their entire operating budget, who knows what might have happened. I knew that meeting was illegal, but I did it all for you my fellow's a quality of life issue. And how about that Rayhill Trail and Veterans Memorial Park Gateway...why if it hadn't been for me...

And let's not forget the 500 jobs I saved at The Hartford!! I know I have been quoted in numerous news articles saying it was 689 jobs saved with possibly more jobs to come [maybe 700 or 800 after all was said and done], but I can't be expected to keep all those numbers straight, can I? Besides, The Hartford needed to move so they could take advantage of the Empire Zone credits that pays them back for the property taxes they pay. You all understand, don't you?

Hindsight is 20/20 though. If I had realized that the town really needed someone to oversee the finances, I wouldn't have hired Mr. Basile to attend meetings to massage the numbers you were given regarding the bonding on the Business Park. Instead I would have paid the $150,000 to let him do what I actually told everyone he was hired to know the job that was advertised. How was I supposed to know?

Let me be clear...if you think that the 54% property tax increase is the end of it, it's not. I have some more surprises for you, my fellow taxpayers. Why I have made such a mess of this town that you will not fully recover until cuts are made...drastic cuts. Next year, for example, it is projected that we will see another double digit tax increase because of the underfunding of the NYS pension fund and the bare-bones budget that I am leaving that will not increase the fund balance one iota. But the town is not the only ones in the underfunded pension fund boat, New Hartford Central School is 600% underfunded. They just haven't told you yet.

There is always's a good word that we like to kick around now and again. The people seem to like it and after a few weeks we can put it to rest until the next time "the natives get restless".

So in conclusion my fellow friends and taxpayers, I bid you farewell as I retire to my second home in Florida [soon to be my only home...I can't afford these taxes in New Hartford; they are ridiculous!].

With warmest regards,

Boss Hogg, Town Supervisor Extraordinaire