Friday, June 23, 2017

You're losing Credibility, Supervisor!

On May 30, 2017, at my FOIL appeal Special Town Board meeting, Supervisor Tyksinski convinced Councilman Reynolds to vote "nay" for the release of the "DRAFT" audit based on the fact that Tyksinski convinced him that the final audit would be ready in "one week...two two tops".

By my calculation, it has now been almost four (4) weeks since my FOIL appeal for the "DRAFT" audit and apparently the supervisor is still are not making the final version of the 2016 audit available to town residents, or for that matter, to the town board.

At the June 14 town board meeting, Tyksinski thought it would be ready "soon" and stated there are some additions and deletions to the "DRAFT" audit.

So...on Wednesday, June 21, 2017, I sent a FOIL request to the town clerk for a copy of the Final 2016 Audit, the Management Letter, Management's Response to the audit and the Engagement letter. I was told that the town clerk would get back to me no later than Friday, June 23, 2017; that's today.

This afternoon, the town clerk called and stated that nothing contained in my FOIL request has been made available to her in response to her email to the supervisor. My FOIL request asked for certification if the documents are not available; I will follow up with the town clerk next week to either obtain the documents or Tyksinski's signature certifying that the 2016 financial information is not available.

Why would it be that almost a month after leading Councilman Reynolds to believe that the final audit was just about ready, Tyksinski is still avoiding it's release? What is it that D'Arcangelo's audit reveals that the supervisor doesn't want to disclose? It must be pretty damaging!

More disturbing is the fact that it does not appear that town councilmen have a copy or are even involved in the discussions with D'Arcangelo. Half of 2017 has passed and the town council has no idea of where the town was financially at the close of 2016. The town board is "flying blind" while the only ones who know what is going on are Tyksinski and Dreimiller, both CPAs. The fact that Tyksinski is trying to withhold financial data should be troubling to all town residents!

What are you hiding supervisor and how long do you think you can keep it hidden? I suspect that the State Comptroller's report is not far behind; one can only imagine what tidbits of information will be contained in that document.

Guess it is a safe bet that open government will not be one of the "talking points" in Supervisor Tyksinski's re-election campaign!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Finding #2016-1

There were two (2) findings listed in the 2016 "DRAFT" audit; I already blogged about one...the missing Fixed Asset records which is a material weakness.

Here is the second one copied directly from page 3 of the "DRAFT" 2016 audit letter to the town board:
A significant deficiency is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control that is less severe than a material weakness, yet important enough to merit attention by those charged with governance.

We consider the deficiency described in the accompany schedule of findings and recommendations as item 2016-1 to be significant deficiency.

According to page 5 of the 2016 "DRAFT" audit, or whatever it is called at the moment:

Findings~ Financial Statements Audit

2016-1 Procurement

Criteria: The Town's procurement policy under the New York State General Municipal Law 103 and 104(b) requires the following:
  • Purchases for $1,000 and $19,999 ($34,999 for public works projects) will require at least three (3) informal price quotes, unless it is determined that formal price quotes are required.
  • Purchases for public works contracts at $35,000 or more require formal competitive bidding.
  • In determining the necessity for competitive bidding, the aggregate (accumulative) cost of an item or commodity being purchased in a fiscal year must be considered. It is prohibited to artificially divide purchases to satisfy threshold amounts.
Condition: Contractor working on storm-water drains and also doing small jobs for the Town that accumulated to $500,850. The work that was done did not adhere to the Town's quote and bidding purchasing policy. The contractor worked on storm-water drains throughout the entire city. Some of the streets were done on an emergency bid. However, these did not have proper emergency approval. After the streets needing emergence repairs were done, the contractor continued work on other storm drains for the Town without quotes or bids.

Cause: Unknown Effect or potential effect: Non-compliance.

Recommendation: The Town should institute systems and procedures to insure compliance with its procurement policy.

Oh, many times did I write about this?

Just so everyone understands, the $500,850 mentioned in the audit finding is only the amount spent on "no bid" work for 2016. The actual total of "no bid" work is far more!

At last night's town board meeting, one of the councilmen inquired as to the status of the 2016 Final Audit. Tyksinski assured them that is was just about done and will be ready soon. (He said it would be ready within a week...two weeks top at the May 30, 2017 appeal meeting). He also said that there are some changes and additions to the audit.

Funny that the four (4) councilmen don't know anything about the audit at this point. Since they are the overseers of the audit, shouldn't they be aware of any changes or additions before Tyksinski signs off on the audit?

Yeah, sure, any day now, oh Exalted One! Is it because you were able to convince D'Arcangelo that the no bid contracts were really FEMA-related? I highly doubt it! Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

A file folder called "GASB"...

My last blog made it clear that over the last nine (9) years the Town of New Hartford has been experiencing declining Net Assets which may spell trouble for the town.

Putting it in general terms, how can the Town of New Hartford be considered "bankrupt" on paper?

There may be many explanations, but without having a look at the books, I would only be guessing.

One item in the 2016 "DRAFT" audit that might shed some light on the situation is Finding 2009-1:
2009-1 Fixed Assets

At the present time, a complete fixed asset inventory is not maintained by the Town. Our audit report has been qualified because we were unable to audit fixed assets. \Ve recommend that the Town maintain detailed fixed asset records and reconcile these records to the general ledger on a timely basis to ensure accurate accounting for fixed assets.
The 2016 "DRAFT" audit letter to the town board says:
A deficiency in internal control exists when the design or operation of a control does not allow management or employees, in the normal course of performing their assigned functions, to prevent, or detect and correct misstatements on a timely basis. A material weakness is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control, such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of the entity's financial statements will not be prevented, or detected and corrected on a timely basis. We consider the deficiency described in the accompanying schedule of findings and recommendations as item 2009~l to be a material weakness.
The reason that the finding is referred to as 2009-1 is because the finding has been in every FINAL audit prepared by D'Arcangelo since 2009 and has been the reason given by D'Arcangleo for the Town of New Hartford receiving a qualified audit.

I find the fact that Finding 2009-1 has been a material weakness since 2009 is extremely puzzling because it does not match my records.

I'll explain with a brief outline of facts.
  • Prior to 2002 - Patrick Tyksinski was the Town of New Hartford Comptroller.

  • 2002 - Ralph Humphreys became the Town Supervisor and immediately abolished the Town Comptroller position but kept Tyksinski on as Financial Advisor until he finished out his appointed term (ask some of the old-timers for the reason)

  • Jan. 2, 2003 - according to town board minutes..."The Town Supervisor had talked with Patrick Tyksinski, contracted in 2002 as the Town’s Financial Advisor, and the Supervisor is not inclined to renew this contract. There are hours remaining to be work by Mr. Tyksinski under the 2002 contract and the Town Supervisor is looking into rolling over those hours; Mr. Tyksinski has expressed a willingness to work on the Fixed Assets program for the "rollover" hours."

  • At the August 13, 2008 town board meeting..."Frank Basile explained GASB 34, which requires a municipality to record the historical cost of vehicles, land and land improvements, easements, buildings and other infrastructure."

  • December 3, 2008 according to town board minutes, the report was finished and the Town of New Hartford was now in compliance with GASB 34 for fixed assets.

  • 2008 FINAL Financial Statement Management letter dated October 9, 2009 from BARONE, HOWARD & Co., CPAs, PC states:
    "Due to the fact that the Town now accounts for its infrastructure pursuant to GASB 34, each year beginning in 2009, the Town needs to update the depreciation schedule for new acquisitions and deletions. We suggest that the Town consult with the company that developed the depreciation schedule and inquire of them the process and cost of updating these records each year."
  • May 22, 2013 -  At my urging, Councilman Backman asked Tyksinski about the firm that had been retained under the Earle Reed administration and why the town was still receiving a qualified opinion due to the Finding 2009-1 Fixed Assets. According to the minute of the meeting, "Supervisor Tyksinski clarified that was an inventory for insurance purposes, not the historical information that the Town would need."
Now here is where I get a file folder called "GASB", I have a copy of the signed Appraisal Agreement "to provide an appraisal for the Town of New Hartford for fixed asset accounting control and insurance valuation purposes." The contract was signed by Earle C. Reed and Todd W. Sampsell, Regional Sales Manager for Industrial Appraisal Company, 222 Boulevard of the Allies, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222.

The signed contract clearly states that the appraisal was to:
  • Provide research necessary to include Land Data at $125.00 per parcel

  • Provide the recording and valuation of Infrastructure Assets at $3,450

  • A separate contract was included for inventory and appraisal services to include an on-site inspection and appraisal of the buildings, site improvements, fixed equipment, machinery and movable equipment associated with the property locations identified in Addendum No. 1 of the agreement for a total of $5,205.

That is close to $10,000 paid by taxpayers and Supervisor Tyksinski chooses to misrepresent the scope of the contract with Industrial Appraisal Company instead saying it was done for insurance purposes only! Why?

Each year, according to the FINAL audits, the town is supposedly working to update the fixed assets, but each year, the town receives a qualified opinion based on the fact that Finding 2009-1 has not been corrected. The last time that fixed assets were brought up at the town board table, Supervisor Tyksinski said the fixed assets haven't been done for the last 15-20 years. How can that be possible? Is he implying that it hasn't been done since he was paid to do it in 2002?

Here's my question, if the fixed assets could impact the Total Net Asset position of the town, why is Supervisor Tyksinski acting as if the data has not been updated for years?

Could it mean if he were to admit that the fixed assets were current up to the time he became the Town Supervisor in 2010, the town's net position might look far worse than it does now?

What's the game you're playing, Supervisor?

Friday, June 9, 2017

Smoke & Mirrors...

Have you heard about the $2 million in fund balance that Supervisor has been boasting about? Chances are you might see some campaign literature telling you how he lowered taxes and increased the fund balance, among other things.

Really? My, my Supervisor, why not tell the rest of the story. I am surprised that the discussion hasn't already taken place at the town board table, in the view of the public.

An audit is divided into parts...for today's blog, I will focus on the Town-wide Financial Statements; the Statement of Net Position. According to the 2016 DRAFT financial report:
The Town~wide financial statements are organized to provide an understanding of the fiscal performance of the Town as a whole in a manner similar to a private sector business. There are two Town-wide financial statements - the Statement of Net Position and the Statement of Activities. These statements provide both an aggregate and long-term view of the Town's finances.

These statements utilize the accrual basis of accounting. This basis of accounting recognizes the financial effects of events when they occur, without regard to the timing of cash flows related to the events.
According to the Statement of Net Position, the Town of New Hartford's net position is in the negative at ($663,944). That's right, we have more liabilities than we have assets!

The audit continues by giving the reader an understanding of what that number represents:
The Statement of Net Position

The Statement of Net Position presents information on all of the Town's assets, deferred outflows, liabilities and deferred inflows, with the difference between the two reported as net position. Increases or decreases in net position may serve as a useful indicator of whether the financial position of the Town is improving or deteriorating, respectively.
Knowing that one year doesn't really tell the whole story, I went to my files and gathered up FINAL audits prepared by D'Arcangelo & Co. to see if there was any indication of what may have occurred in the previous years.

The FINAL audit reports I used were prepared by D'Arcangleo from 2009, with 2008 numbers available as part of the 2009 audit, up to the "DRAFT" 2016 Financial Statements.

Below is what I found when comparing the Financial Analysis of the Town As A Whole over several years:

Let me reiterate the quote from D'Arcangelo's 2016 DRAFT audit:
Increases or decreases in net position may serve as a useful indicator of whether the financial position of the Town is improving or deteriorating, respectively.
One year in the negative, maybe does not indicate a problem depending on the cause; several years of declining net assets plus a current negative is clearly an indication that the Town of New Hartford is headed for some real problems. The Total Net Assets position of the Town of New Hartford has been steadily declining over the last nine (9) years; a pretty darn good indication that we are heading for trouble.  Please keep in mind that Tyksinski is planning to bond for another $1.25 million in the next few weeks.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. I have many more things to show you in this "Draft" audit and I will do so over the next week or two.

Since my time is somewhat limited by my business, if you can't wait until my next blog, perhaps when Tyksinski knocks on your door looking for your support for another four years as Emperor Supervisor, ask him to honestly explain where the town finances stand!

Here's a pdf copy of the above chart in case you want to show it to him while you ask for answers.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The attorney has made his changes...

...too funny! I received an email from the town clerk this morning with an attached certification. Included with the certification was another disclaimer and a copy of the document that is being certified to; I haven't compared the attached document to what I first received yet so, at this point, I don't know whether it is the same or not.

As a past member of the business world, I am aware that usually it is not what an attorney says that you need to pay close attention to when he is trying to shield his client, it is what he leaves out!

Missing from the certification is the name of the document that is being certified to or what it just says that he is certifying to the attached document. What is it that is attached, Supervisor?

Here is the statement the town attorney provided to the town clerk for Supervisor Tyksinski's signature:

Click here for a pdf copy of the certification

The only thing Attorney Cully eliminated, according to the town clerk, was the name of the document "DRAFT" 2016 Financial Statements. So what is he certifying? That this is not the draft but really the copy that was provided by D'Arcangelo for signature and Supervisor Tyksinski refuses to sign? Or are the financial parts for real, but the rest of the document is still in draft form which would explain why some of the explanatory pages of this document are exact duplicates of the pages included in the 2015 FINAL Financial Statement and clearly contain outdated information?

For the sake of discussion, let's assume that the financial parts are correct and Supervisor Tyksinski just does not want to accept the truth.

To give a picture of where more than likely the town finances are, I went into the "Lawrence vault" and retrieved FINAL financial statements from previous years. I have them back into the early 2000s, but for this purpose I will use FINAL financial statements from 2008 through this "draft" 2016 financial. When comparing numbers, it is not too difficult to see the direction the town is heading; not to mention the two findings. One is a Material Finding and one is a Significant Finding.

Some of the information should leave you scratching your head and asking "Why is this the first time we have been told this?"

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Apparently, it takes a town attorney.... write a certification that the pdf document I was sent by the town clerk in answer to my FOIL request and appeal is a true and correct copy of the "DRAFT" 2016 Financial Statements.

I know my rights, supervisor; it's my right to request a certification under the FOI Law! That way, we all know what we are looking at, but apparently YOU, Supervisor Tyksinski, don't want anyone to know anything!

The document in question was sent to me a week ago which seems to be enough time to sign a piece of paper with a standard certification statement that the town clerk always provides without input from the town attorney.

However, when I called the town clerk this afternoon to ask about my certification request, I was told that the town attorney re-wrote her certification letter; removed the name of the document and added his own wording. Lord only knows what other language was added and how much we paid the town attorney per word to write some mumbo jumbo b/s in an effort to cover the supervisor's a$$!

Supervisor, I just don't understand why signing your name to a certification stating that I was sent a true and correct "draft" 2016 Financial Statement is such a difficult task, unless you are trying to cover your tushie against what is coming at you down the road when the state comptroller's report is made public.

At any rate, my friends, if I don't have the certification by Friday, June 8th, in a format that complies with the NYS Freedom of Information Law, I will start detailing on this blog the information that is contained in the document I do have and it isn't pretty folks!

Come on...realistically, does any one in town believe that the town supervisor would be going to such lengths if all was well? What does it say that the town attorney needs to write a standard certification letter stating that I have been given a true and correct copy of the "draft" 2016 Financial Statements prepared by D'Arcangelo & Co., LLP, Certified Public Accountants & Consultants? Seriously?

I hear that Tyksinski is the New Hartford Republican Committee's choice to support this Fall for town supervisor for the next four (4) years!

Stay tuned! This can only get better...or worse! Hahahahaha!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

...And so the "draft" audit begins...


Please read the following

The accompanying is not complete and may contain errors and/or omissions. Our auditors have not consented to the release of this document nor do I, (Patrick M. Tyksinski, Town Supervisor) consent to its release. Remittance of this document is made due to the vote by the New Hartford Town Board to release it, I and one councilman voted against release. It is in my opinion that these members possessed no justification in voting release of the document, and did in violation of conditions established between auditor and the Town.

This document was intended for "Internal Use Only" and meant for management's review and input only. This document has not been accepted by Town Management as being final nor as being correct, and therefore the management of the Town takes no responsibility as to its accuracy or completeness.

This disclaimer should be provided to any individual to whom information contained in this report is given.

I asserted my rights under the Freedom of Information Law right after the FOIL appeal meeting on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 and asked the town clerk to have the Supervisor sign a certification that the document I was given is a true and correct copy of the draft audit.

So far, I have not received the certification. Following up with the town clerk on Friday, June 2, she stated that she prepared the certification for Tyksinski's signature on Thursday, June 1, 2017 and will supposedly try to get it signed tomorrow, Monday, June 5, 2017. How long does it take to get a signature?

For the time being, I will not be making any statements regarding the audit other than what I have does not look good and I am curious to see the impact of the NYS Comptroller's report which may make the town's financial status even worse, but time will tell.

Supervisor Tyksinski stated at the FOIL appeal meeting that the final audit would definitely be available within one week; two weeks top which is why Councilman Reynolds said he voted to not release the drafts.

My friends, two weeks would be the day of the next town board meeting on June 14. There are several public hearings that evening on proposed local laws and the possible demolition of two (2) houses for alleged codes violations.

You can sit at home and wait for the final audit to make its way to the public or attend the town board meeting and start asking questions. Your choice!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Open Government v. Yellow Book

My, oh my! Last night was so good, I just have to open my blog up for all to see!

Every taxpayer and voter in the Town of New Hartford needs to see Tyksinski at his finest! He is the Republican candidate hoping to rule run this town for another four (4) years by winning in the November election. (That's if he wins the Republican Primary!)

Supervisor Tyksinski and Attorney Cully tried to use the "Yellow Book" as a reason why a draft of the 2016 financials prepared by D'Arcangelo could not be disclosed.

What is the Yellow Book, you might ask?

"The Yellow Book includes audit standards and guidance for both financial and performance audits." According to previous audits, D'Arcangelo performs a financial audit so, according to my contacts, not everything in the "Yellow Book" applies and it sure doesn't replace state law.

However, I guess Supervisor Tyksinski and Attorney Cully thought the "Yellow Book" would be enough to intimidate convince the councilmen to not release the audit.

Sounds good on the surface as long as you are wearing hip boots as the b/s is flowing, but apparently the "bully" tactics no longer work; the majority of the board was not convinced that a guidance book would trump state law!

Last night, three members of the town board; Councilmen Miscione, Councilmen Messa and Councilman Woodland voted to release the draft audit to me. Thank you, gentlemen for standing up for the residents of the Town of New Hartford, N.Y.!

Two voted nay...that would be Councilman Reynolds and Supervisor Tyksinski. However, three (3) yeahs and (2) nays means that the majority of the town board wants the audit to be released so that taxpayers can see what the Supervisor appears to be going to great lengths to hide. Doesn't mean that I will get it...I fully expect that Tyksinski will invent another "rule" to prevent giving it to me, but maybe he will surprise me and cave to the wishes of the majority of the town board.

There is so much I can write about last night's how Tyksinski said I could not speak because this was a "special" meeting of the town board. I even wrote to the town clerk prior to the meeting stating that I would be addressing the board during the public presentations. That was the previous rule set by Emperor Tyksinski for public presentations, but I guess the rules changed since last board meeting. I have searchable town board minutes going back to the 1990s...Supervisor, you have let some people speak at "special" meetings so I guess it is a matter of who is asking and what they have to say!

Anyway, I did get to speak toward the end thanks to Councilman Messa and the other board members. Along with reciting parts of the Freedom of Information Law, I also pointed out that Town Law 123 requires that an audit by a CPA be completed within 60 days of the end of the fiscal year which is December 31 in towns. That would mean that the town board, who is by town law the body that oversees the town audit, is in non-compliance with Town Law 123 at this point since it is now about 150 days beyond the end of the fiscal year.

You will hear my prepared statement toward the end of the video or you can download a pdf copy.

I'll share highlights of the meeting as time permits...there are just so many "remarkable" moments that I am glad I caught on video; a wonderful insight into the mindset of a person who wants to continue ruling leading our town for another four years! You just cannot make this stuff up!

Here is the video of last night's "special" board meeting. There was a problem with my camera; I missed about 20 seconds of video. However, there is more than enough video that anyone can easily figure out that Attorney Cully had his marching orders from Supervisor Tyksinski, but he failed to convince the town board that his argument was valid because it wasn't!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

You're digging a deep hole, Supervisor!

Sure hope you can get out of it when all is said and done!

Town Supervisor Patrick Tyksinski, CPA, would like us to believe that the 2016 financial audit prepared by D'Arcangelo & Co. is a "draft" that he "believes is the property of the accounting firm" even though the field work was completed by D"Arcangelo at the end of February which is exactly within the 60 days from the end of the fiscal year that is allowed under General Municipal Law for a town audit to be completed.

Once again, Supervisor...nice try, but I'm not buying it.

You see, periodically, I read the New Hartford Public Library minutes. Last night, I decided to see if new minutes were posted and sure enough the April 19, 2017 minutes were available.

I find it interesting that the approved minutes of that library meeting states:
"President Mowat received a copy of our part of the Town audit today and has forwarded it to A. Burback and G. Kielar for review. A letter of engagement has been requested by the auditor but not signed. Ms. Mowat will attach an addendum to this letter documenting that we did not engage D’Archangelo to perform this audit; the Town did. The Town intends to subtract the cost of this audit from the amount we will receive on an upcoming voucher."
The interesting part is that all previous Town of New Hartford audits completed by D'Arcangelo & Co. always state that the New Hartford Public Library is a component of the town:
"The financial reporting entity consists of the primary government, organizations for which the primary government is financially accountable, and other organizations for which the nature and significance of their relationship with the primary government are such that exclusion would cause the reporting entity's financial statements to be misleading or incomplete.

The accompanying financial statements present the activities of the Library. The Library is a component unit of the Town of New Hartford. The Library is financially accountable to the Town because it appoints all of the Library's Board Members, provides 80% of the funding for operations, and as needed, is responsible for approving and issuance and the payment of debt. The Library does have ownership of the real property.

The decision to include a potential component unit in the Library's reporting entity is based on several criteria including legal standing, fiscal dependency, and financial accountability."
So, Supervisor Tyksinski, did you want the town councilmen and taxpayers to believe that only part of the audit is a "draft that you believe is the property of D'Arcangelo"?

Because when I look at the library's website, their 2015 Final Financial Statements are an exact copy of the one I have on file for the 2015 Final Town of New Hartford Financial Statements as prepared by D'Arcangelo; in other words the library audit is contained within the town audit.

How can only part of the audit be a "draft which is the property of D'Arcangelo", while other parts of the same audit are final? As a CPA, sir, is that a normal situation?

Could you explain to everyone which parts of the 2016 Financial Statements prepared by D'Arcangelo you don't like leading you to "believe" that by calling by it a "draft" the audit doesn't come under the FOI Law, therefore, preventing anyone from getting a copy?

Is it the General Fund balance that is troubling you or was there a need to reverse some previous year's transactions because they might not be in keeping with town law?

Did D'Arcangelo actually "dot all the i's and cross all the t's" this year because of the state comptrollers visit making you unhappy with the resulting financials? Taxpayers deserve answers, sir!

By the way, how do you plan to bond for $1.25 million next month when all you have to present for 2016 financials is a "draft" copy that you "believe" is the property of D'Arcangelo & Co.?

One last thing, sir!

Be sure to bring that transaction mentioned in the library minutes before the town board for approval, because the 2017 budget doesn't break out an expense for the audit of the New Hartford Public Library; that budget line is 0.

Plus, if the D'Arcangelo invoice is more that the $20,500 which was budgeted for the town audit, a transfer needs to be approved by the town board to pay the difference.

Oh, and sir, the amount you plan to charge the library should be discussed in public at the town board table before you go ahead and once again this year subtract more money from the amount that taxpayers paid to fund the library. I would think town residents would be interested to know how you are 'charging" the library to make up your deficits.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Oops, three board members couldn't make the May 24th Special Board Meeting...

Without a quorum present, the meeting to discuss the fate of my FOIL appeal for a copy of the "draft" audit that Tyksinski "believes" is the property of D'Arcangelo had to be cancelled.

It is now scheduled for Tuesday, May 30, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. in Butler Hall. Ooh, that's the day after Memorial Day. Hope the councilmen are available! The public is invited.

The necessity of this whole "dog and pony" show is baffling...

If D'Arcangelo finished their field work in February, why is the audit still a "draft" that Tyskinski "believes" is the property of D'Arcangelo five (5) months after the end of the fiscal year?

If the audit was so wonderful as Tyksinski boasted at the March 8, 2017 town board meeting (actually, I "believe" he said the auditors found only two (2) things they had to change), why isn't the audit finalized at this point and available to the town board and the public?

Let's not forget, if Councilman Woodland did not ask about the audit at the May 10, 2017 town board meeting, Tyksinski probably would not have even mentioned it. That does seem rather odd. Why would he not let the councilmen know where the town's finances stand?

In reading NYS town and general municipal law, it's my understanding that as town supervisor and CEO of the Town of New Hartford, Tyksinski is charged with keeping the councilman "in the loop" regarding town finances.

If I was a betting person, knowing that the state comptroller spent several weeks looking over the town's records, I would say that the draft audit was not to Tyksinski's liking because those two (2) things that Tyksinski mentioned on March 8th were very BIG things.

I am betting that D'Arcangelo told Tyksinski they are not changing the audit just to please him...instead they said take it or leave it!

Come on, Supervisor Tyksinski, you're a CPA...this isn't brain surgery.  What say you, Supervisor Tyksinski?

I can't wait until the state comptroller releases his audit of the Town of New Hartford.  I'm actually on the comptroller's mailing list so it won't be difficult to get a copy when it is released!

Not looking good, people!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Playing hide and seek with the town supervisor…..

The town supervisor has decided to hold a Special Meeting at 5 p.m. on May 24, 2017 in Butler Hall to address my FOIL appeal regarding the town’s financial statements that the town supervisor continues to refer to as “draft”.

The meeting will be open to the public in case anyone would like to hear his explanation(s).

Dan Dreimiller, the town’s finance officer, was videotaped at the March 8, 2017 town board meeting stating that D’Arcangelo had finished their field work in late February and it was expected that the 2016 financial statements would be available by March 31, 2017.

Yet, at the end of May, the supervisor “believes” the audit is the property of D’Arcangelo much as their work papers.

If, as reported by Dan Dreimiller at the March 8th town board meeting, D’Arcangelo finished their field work by late February, why is the town supervisor, almost three (3) months later, calling the financial statements a “draft"…which he "believes" is considered property of the accounting firm.

If this is the pace that D’Arcangelo works, it is definitely time to look for another accounting firm to do the town audit next year! Somebody at the D"Arcangelo & Co. accounting firm needs to be held accountable...why is the town board quiet on this?

If Tyksinski's only reason for denying my FOIL of the D'Arcangelo audit is because of what he "believes", why is Tyksinski also delaying the release of the 2016 report to the State Comptroller (AUD)?

The email I received in response to my FOIL for the report to the state comptroller (AUD) is extremely puzzling:
Good morning, Cathy:

I hereby acknowledge receipt of your FOIL request described below.

I will contact the Supervisor/Finance Director offices for this document and expect to have confirmation by Friday, May 19, 2017, at the latest.



What is the AUD, you might ask?

It is an unaudited financial report that is used by the State Comptroller to measure the town’s fiscal stress level. The Town of New Hartford's report is due on May 1 each year.

Under General Municipal Law section 35(1):
“1. A report of such examination shall be made and shall be filed in the office of the state comptroller and in the office of the clerk of the municipal corporation, industrial development agency, district, agency or activity, or with the secretary if there is no clerk. An additional copy thereof shall be filed with the chief fiscal officer, except that in the case of a school district, such additional copy shall be filed in the office of the chairman of the board of trustees, the president of the board of education or the sole trustee, as the case may be.  When so filed, each such report and copy thereof shall be a public record open to inspection by any interested person."
Sounds fairly clear, IF the report has been filed with the state comptroller, the town clerk should have a copy of the 2016 AUD. Privately, she told me that Dan Dreimiller advised her that the report was filed timely by May 1, 2017.

Has the AUD report really been filed with the state comptroller?

If GML 35 (1) states that a copy is to be filed in the town clerk's office, why does she have to consult Dan Dreimiller to see if the report has been filed?

Clearly, she is the records officer; she doesn’t need to contact anyone…it is a public record.  She has the authority as town records keeper to release the report the same day as my FOIL request.
Apparently, orders have been given from upstairs at Butler Hall.

What is the town supervisor hiding and how long does he “believe” he can keep it hidden?

What did the auditors from the State Comptroller’s office find? It must be devastating!

What makes Tyksinski think that the voters of New Hartford would want to vote him in for another 4 years when he is clearly trying to hide financial information from town residents?

How many New Hartford Republican committee persons are willing to throw their support to the town supervisor when he is fighting so desperately to keep the 2016 financial documents from the purview of the town voters and taxpayers?

How many town councilmen are willing to use their head to think logically; carefully read my appeal; and vote against Tyksinski on May 24th? I would think that each and everyone of them would be interested in knowing where the town finances stand...otherwise, none of them should be voted in office!

And, last but not least, where does the town attorney, Herb Cully, stand on all of this?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Town board, the ball is officially in your court...

This morning, I received the following email from the town clerk:
Dear Cathy:

The Town Supervisor believes the draft financial statement is considered property of the accounting firm, much the same as their work papers are considered their property, and therefore denies access to said document(s). Under the Freedom of Information Law, you may file an appeal within thirty (30) days in writing directed to the Town Board, the appeals agency for the Town. Within ten (10) business days of receipt of such appeal, the Town Board must fully explain in writing to the person requesting the record the reasons for further denial, or provide access to the record sought.


Gail Wolanin Young Town Clerk

Nice try, Supervisor! Bravo! Remember though, you are on videotape stating that you have the draft audit and will provide the same to the town board!

I am sure you or the town attorney must know that a town record that is held by the town in its physical form is a record that is FOILable no matter what you choose to call it...a draft, an ice cream cone, or bull excrement!

I just delivered a FOIL appeal to the town clerk:

Click here for a larger print pdf!

Since the next scheduled town board meeting is not until June 14th, the town will need to hold a Special Town Board meeting prior to June 1, 2017 to respond to my appeal by either again denying with a majority vote of the town board or give me the requested record. They have ten (10) business days to respond to my appeal.

Anyone on the town board wish to be videotaped denying the 2016 "draft" audited financial statements that clearly is a town record and is FOILable even in its supposed "draft" form?

Tyksinski is said to be planning a re-election campaign. As town residents; voters; and taxpayers, we should be outraged and begin questioning what the town supervisor is trying to hide.

What information does the 2016 financial statements contain that taxpayers and voters may not like?

What IS the financial position of the town?

Why has the state comptroller's office been poring over town records for months?

I have also FOILed the 2016 Annual Unaudited Document (AUD) that has to be sent to the NYS Comptroller by May 1st each year.

The town clerk wrote in a separate email that she will get back to me as to when it might be available. I have a feeling that the town is in a financial crisis!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

New Hartford Town Board unanimously approves $1.25 million bonding resolution…

At the May 10, 2017 town board meeting, the town board unanimously approved $350,000 bonds to pave Tilden Ave and $900,000 for the Grange Hill stormwater project.

First bond resolution...$350,000 for paving on Tilden Ave. If you have driven on that road, you will agree that it does need paving. The money used to be part of the adopted budget...those days are gone.

The legal notice in the May 15th Observer Dispatch starts:

To read the entire legal notice, click here for a pdf.

Just a note that the legal notice is just a standard notice; there will be no sidewalks, curbs, etc. The bonding is to pave and do some necessary infrastructure repairs.

The next bond for $900,000 is a little more perplexing. It reads:

To read the entire legal notice, click here.

The Grange Hill project has been bid several times over the last 3 or 4 years and each time the bids have been rejected.

The last bid opening in March 2017 was rejected because the bids came in higher than projected. The board agreed that after some re-designing of the project, they would go back out to bid in the Fall of 2017.

To date, no re-design has come before the town board for approval and the town has not re-bid the project.

The fact that they are bonding $900,000 now for a project that has yet to be designed and yet to be bid is concerning. Tyksinski said at the May 10, 2017 town board meeting, if the cost is more than the $900,000 plus the $100,000 which Oneida County Sewer & Water is contributing, the project will not proceed.

Money has already been “borrowed” from the sewer fund for the Grange Hill project...a project that may never be completed if the price isn't "right".

Given the past, I can't help but wonder...Is Tyksinski looking for the right price or the right person to win the bid? What is going on?

A couple of more questions...

As noted on page 10 of the March 2017 adopted town board minutes:
"Councilman Woodland inquired how the audit was progressing. The Finance Director reported that the local auditors had completed the field work last week and the audit went well. The State auditor has been here all week, not sure when he will be through. Supervisor Tyksinski complimented Finance Director Dreimiller on increasing the Fund balance since 2010."
If the local auditor's field work was completed by the March 8, 2017 town board meeting, how come the 2016 Financial Statements prepared by D'Arcangleo & Co. are still in DRAFT form and Tyksinski is trying to prevent me from getting a copy?

I wonder if the State auditors hanging around looking "things" over has anything to do with it...just saying!

I think the last time the State auditors were here was...let me think....yes, it was 2009 when the town's "rainy day" fund was depleted by over $2 million!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

...Feeling extremely deja vous-ish!

“The only lesson you can learn from history is that it repeats itself”

--Bangambiki Habyarimana, The Great Pearl of Wisdom

Strange, the parallels that can be drawn between 2009 and 2017.

Strange that we are only talking about eight (8) years; two terms of Tyksinski; yet it would appear that we are walking down the same road as in 2009 when a huge tax increase was thrown at us without warning. A tax increase that brought residents to town board meetings in numbers  to complain.

It was too late to complain in 2009; and apparently, too easily, we forget!

Tyksinksi was elected to lead the town starting January 1, 2010 and once again everyone has chosen to sitt back at home...too busy, I guess, to attend town board meetings.

I have attended every meeting since 2003; blogged about them since 2006; and videotaped them since 2008. In other words, I have been involved which is probably why I can clearly see where we are heading...and it isn't good.

In 2009, then Councilman Bob Payne, presented a set of "rules" for public comment he planned to present to the town board for approval. Mr. Payne said that he first planned to check with Robert Freeman, Director of the Committee on Open Government. The "rules" that Payne developed never saw the light of day at a town board meeting after that...guess Mr. Payne "rules" didn't pass the"smell test" nor Freeman's opinions.
At the last town board meeting of May 10, 2017, Supervisor Tyksinski read a list of "rules" for public comment that he unilaterally plans to implement at town board meetings starting next month. I sent an email to the supervisor and town attorney advising them that Town Law 63 makes it clear that it would require a majority vote of the full town board to adopt these rules.

Normally, the supervisor is silent, but the town attorney sends me a return "thank-you" email. This time, the supervisor and town attorney both have been silent; the fate of the "rules" is still to be announced.
In 2009, we found out that the town fund balance was depleted by about $2.4 million; leaving about $300,000 of fund balance. Earle Reed, who had already announced in November of 2008 his intention to run for a second term in November 2009, was forced to announce he would not be seeking re-election in 2009. Tyksinski stepped in as the Republican candidate for the November 2009 election year.
Supervisor Tyksinski started fund-raising early in 2017 for his re-election to a third term in the 2017 elections. His destiny is still unclear...time will tell and the outcome will be very shortly as collecting signatures on petitions starts in mid-June. Tick, tock....
2009 was also the year that the 2008 financial audit seemed to have some problems and the final 2008 audit that was prepared by Barone & Howard was not available until September 2009.
The 2016 audit appears to be a well-kept secret. It was noted in the approved January 2017 town board meeting minutes that the auditors, D'Arcangelo & Co., were just finishing up the 2016 audit and it was anticipated that it would be available by the end of March 2017.

At the last town board meeting on May 10, 2017, Councilman Woodland inquired as to the status of the 2016 audit and was told that it is still a draft. Tyksinski agreed to let the board members see the draft, but warned them that it was not for distribution.

Unfortunately, Tyksinski must be unaware that an external audit with factual and statistical information is FOILable under the Freedom of Information Law even in draft form. A FOIL request has been sent to the town clerk for the draft 2016 Financial Statements. More on that later.
In 2009, the tax rate for the next year (2010) included a drastic rate increase in the 2010 budget that left many asking "what the Hell happened?"
The 2018 supervisor's budget, by law, has to be available by October 5, 2017. What is ahead for the 2018 budget and tax rate? Good question! Rumors have been flying around town...some of them are actually true and will become apparent shortly.
Supervisor Tysksinki told the town board at the last board meeting that the town's debt service payments to be budgeted will not decrease until 2022 and warned the board that further bonding over and above the $1.25 million approved at the May 10, 2017 meeting will ensure a 35% tax increase in the 2018 budget.

Either Tyksinski is exaggerating; there are other reasons for his warning not to bond for an excavator are at play; or this town is once again in dire financial trouble; or maybe a combination of all three.  This is all very suspicious.  What is hidden in the 2016 audited financial statements?

Fasten your seat belts, friends...the road is about to get very bumpy!

Without further ado, here is the entire conversation regarding town finances and bonding with Supervisor Tyksinski's diatribe at the May 10, 2017 town board meeting...

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Whoa, not so fast buckaroo!

You have overstepped your authority once again, sir! Time to take a breather!

At last night’s town board meeting, Supervisor Tyksinski read HIS self-proclaimed rules for the Public Comments at the start of town board meetings; rules he stated would begin with the next meeting in June.

Tyksinski has had a self-proclaimed three (3) minute rule regarding public comments for some time now; although it's fair to say he has sometimes allowed “some people” to go over the three minutes while watching the clock for others.

The Open Meetings Law requires that any adopted rules be applied equally to all people who attend the meetings.

I have remained quiet thus far because there really aren’t that many people who choose to speak at town board meetings and most people have usually been given enough time to make their comments without interruption.

However, after last night’s diatribe, I can no longer keep quiet; this is outrageous! Tyksinski has gone over the edge. Obviously, something has his “knickers in a knot” as you will see as I blog about the goings-on at the May 10, 2017 town board meeting.

What could it be that has him so upset?

After the Pledge of Allegiance, Tyksinski, with an authoritative tone in his voice, started by announcing HIS “new” rules for public comments.
  • All persons who wish to speak during the public comment period must sign the sign-in sheet prior to the meeting. This will be at the town clerk’s table. Only those persons on the list will be recognized to speak by the Chair.
  • The comment period is just that; time to comment. There will be no discussions between the speaker, the board members, department heads, other town officials or other persons in attendance. This will be a comment period not a time for discussion or debate.
  • Each speaker will be allowed 3 minutes to present their comment.
  • The speaker may remain seated or stand whichever they prefer. However, speakers will remain in their seated area.
  • No speaker will be allowed to present to the board, department heads, town officials, or other attendees any item, document, photograph, etc. without permission from the Chair. If after making their comment, the speaker wishes to have the department head or town board member or town official contact them, they should provide their phone number to the town clerk upon leaving the meeting.
First problem is these new "Tyksinski Rules" contain violations of the Open Meetings Law and Town Law Section 63 as I outlined in my email to the town supervisor; town attorney; and town clerk with a request that the town clerk send copies to the town councilmen. (pdf copy of email)

Until now, no rules for the public comments have been adopted by the town board; Tyksinski has inserted his own 3-minute rule at the start of each meeting. Robert Freeman, Executive Director of the Committee on Open Government, has opined that under town law, Tyksinski DOES NOT have the authority to promulgate his own rules absent town board approval. It requires a majority vote of the town board to adopt of a resolution. Here is the video of Tyksinski’s rules in violation of the Open Meetings and Town Law:

On a related note, according to an article in today's Observer Dispatch, the New Hartford Republican Committee is looking for candidates.
New Hartford GOP Committee looking for candidates

The New Hartford Republican Committee announced that the following town seats are up for election in November: Town supervisor, town clerk, highway superintendent, town justice, council positions in Wards 1 & 3, and Oneida County legislators in districts 13 (New York Mills), 14 (New Hartford Ward 4 and Kirkland), 15 (most of New Hartford), and 16 (southern and eastern parts of New Hartford, Paris and Bridgewater).

Contact Republican Town Chairwoman Kristine Giotto at 315-724-3710 by Wednesday, May 17. The full New Hartford Republican Committee will be screening candidates in mid-May as petitions must be circulated during June in order to be on the November ballot.

How far in debt is the Town of New Hartford?
I”ll give it to you "straight from the horse’s mouth" in my next blog!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Damn It...This is MY town…

...and besides the 195 foot communications tower will not be located anywhere near my house, for I live in the village! it would seem to be the opinion of the New Hartford town supervisor given his penchant for dealing with public matters behind closed doors!

The saga continues...

At last night’s Planning Board meeting, it was clear that the only ones who are “in the dark” regarding the county proposal to site a 195 foot emergency communications tower on a privately owned parcel the county is leasing on Higby Road are the Planning Board and the general public.

The spokespersons on behalf of the county said that a letter was sent to Supervisor Tyksinski in July 2016 (almost a year ago) informing him of their intent to take the lead on SEQR.

Under SEQR, by doing what can only be described as "absolutely nothing", the town supervisor may have given the green light for the project to proceed without any public knowledge or input.

Several other towns in NYS have been faced with the same need for siting telecommunication towers as part of a grant from Homeland Security; however, each of those towns held public hearings and applied the Court of Appeals "balancing of public interests" as articulated in Matter of County of Monroe…some towns choose to proceed at the town board level; others at the Planning Board level. The county can be declared exempt if after a board, be it Planning, Zoning or the Town Board, allows the exemption AFTER balancing the public interests.

In each of the towns I found on the internet, the public was given the opportunity to comment; questions were raised as to whether there was a better site; how high does it REALLY need to be (in this case 195 ft); and what the impact would be to surrounding homes before the town even decided to give the county immunity from their zoning laws.

Each of those towns also have adopted resolutions available online stating their response to each of the nine ((9) points in the Monroe court case. So the situation is not unique to New Hartford; only the way it was handled...none of the towns I reviewed gave carte blanche immunity to build the towers without public comment.

In New Hartford, that was not the case. One person, Supervisor Tyksinski, who was more than likely in consultation with the town attorney and codes officer, made the decision to do NOTHING on behalf of the town residents who live in the area of Higby, Sessions and Tilden; at least nothing in the public view.

Supposedly, according to the people who appeared before the Planning Board last night, the town did not respond to the county letter sent in July 2016. Additionally, there was no public notification or public hearing; and there was no noticing on a town board or planning board agenda…until it appeared on this blog. That would explain why the codes officer tried to “buffalo” me when I first contacted his office with questions. He more than likely knew that it had already been discussed behind closed doors in the supervisor’s office.

The NYS Dept. of State in the brochure “Governmental Immunity from Zoning”, a copy of which I sent to the town attorney prior to the Planning Board meeting, clearly quotes the Monroe court decision regarding who has immunity from local zoning laws:
"Before 1988, New York courts recognized that certain entities were entitled to absolute immunity from zoning regulations, including the federal government; state government; state urban development corporations; and public schools."
The booklet continues:
"In making a determination as to whether the actions of governmental units are “exempt” from local zoning regulations, the New York Court of Appeals in the 1988 case of Matter of County of Monroe v City of Rochester, 72 N.Y.2d 338, 533 N.Y.S.2d 702, established a new method for resolving inter-governmental land use disputes using the “balancing of public interests” analytic approach."
Item number 9 on that list is "intergovernmental participation in the project development process and an opportunity to be heard."

With his inaction, the New Hartford Town Supervisor tried and may have succeeded to take the opportunity to be heard away from the residents in the area of the Higby, Sessions & Tilden intersection. Time will tell if the town will reverse course and do the right thing...I wouldn't count on it!

The opportunity to be heard on public matters should be of interest to all town residents. In fact, there is currently legislation in the NYS Assembly to make the nine points in the Monroe court case part of state law by "amending General Municipal Law in relation to the balancing of public interests for governmental projects in municipalities having zoning requirements".

The Planning Board asked several questions, and in the end chose to not make any decisions last night. One board members said, “...we have to live in the community.”

The town attorney is supposedly going to do some further research; however, the county plans on being finished with their project by September 2017 so there is a probability that it will never again see light of day and the tower will be built.

Several times when the codes officer was asked for the town code last night, he replied that town codes specifically say New Hartford does not exempt the county and requires site plan review. Why was the zoning code written that way if the intention was to grant the county immunity from the town zoning codes in New Hartford whenever they needed to build something? Was it another "mistake" in the updated codes?

Interesting to note that on the same Planning Board agenda for approval were four (4) changes to the zoning laws that the town wishes to change; no doubt there is a reason for those changes sitting somewhere on the supervisor's desk that has yet to be uncovered.

It seems that our zoning laws were developed so that they can be manipulated when the town supervisor deems it to be to his liking. The New Hartford Zoning code can be overlooked when "political friends" have needs, and at the same time hard-nosed for the average person who wants to site solar panels. More on this shortly.

Oh, by the way, have I mentioned that Supervisor Tyksinski is up for re-election in November 2017? Will you be voting for him again?

Here is the video of the portion of the Planning Board meeting where the project was discussed:

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The County is NOT immune from Town of New Hartford zoning laws…

….therefore, an application to site a communications tower and accessory equipment at 623 Higby Road will be presented to the Planning Board on Monday, May 8, 2017. Meeting starts at 5:30 p.m.

As I wrote in my March 9 and March 10, New Hartford zoning laws and the court have made it is clear that Kevin Revere was incorrect in asserting that the County is immune from zoning laws.

From the NY Dept. of State:
In making a determination as to whether the actions of governmental units are “exempt” from local zoning regulations, the New York Court of Appeals in the 1988 case of Matter of County of Monroe v City of Rochester, 72 N.Y.2d 338, 533 N.Y.S.2d 702, established a new method for resolving inter-governmental land use disputes using the “balancing of public interests” analytic approach.

Unless a statute exempts it, the encroaching governmental unit is presumed to be subject to the zoning regulations of the host community where the land is located.
The NY Dept. of State further advises that some of the factors that should be considered by the board are:
  • the effect local land use regulation would have upon the enterprise concerned
  • alternative locations for the facility in less restrictive zoning areas
  • the impact upon legitimate local interests
  • alternative methods of providing the proposed improvement
The Planning Board meeting, while it is open to the public, is not a forum for members of the public to speak…you may only listen to the proposed plans and comments of the Planning Board. It is the duty of the Planning Board to weight the “needs” of the county with the “needs” of the residents who could be impacted by the siting of the tower.

If you are interested in this proposal and/or live in the vicinity of Tilden where it intersects with Higby, I would urge you to attend the meeting, email your councilman (Paul Miscione) and/or contact the town supervisor with any concerns or comments.

Here is a copy of the agenda for the Monday, May 8, 2017 Planning Board meeting.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Solar Application video...

Here is the portion of the video of the Monday, April 24, 2017 Zoning Board of Appeals meeting regarding the solar application:

The video of the entire Zoning Board of Apeals meeting will be online later today.

I will be writing another blog regarding both solar and wind energy in the Town of New Hartford shortly...stay tuned!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

So Sorry; Solar Not Happening in New Hartford…

At the April 12, 2017 Town Board meeting, Supervisor Tyksinski said that he has no problem with solar in response to Councilman Reynolds suggestion to convene a committee to look into the town's solar energy zoning codes.

The town board agreed that Councilman Reynolds should go ahead with the project and at Monday’s Zoning meeting Councilman Reynolds confirmed that he was going to follow through with the committee and make recommendations to the town board.

As luck would have it, another application for a solar energy use variance was on the agenda for the April 24, 2017 Zoning Board of Appeals meeting.

This time, VP Supply, 4676 Commercial Drive, appeared before the board requesting a use variance for solar panels which were going to be at the back of two buildings for a total of 55 kw. The town's codes only allow for 10 kw.

From the application provided by VP Supply for the use variance:
“The building permit was initially approved by the town on December 19, 2014. Based on approval, VP Supply procured materials and incurred debt to complete the project with expectations of realizing return on investment via energy savings.”
Further, the application states:
“The company submitted an application for a building permit and it was approved on December 19, 2014. At or around December 15, 2015 all necessary conditions for the safe installation of the solar system were in place to start and finish the project within the permitted timetable of December 19, 2015.”

“As a precautionary measure, the company submitted a request for an extension of the building permit. This request was denied and a “Stop Work” notice was issued December 17, 2015."

“As a result of the above, the company has incurred a “unique hardship” as it had procured the necessary materials for this project and incurred debt to pay for the net remaining costs of the system.”
Financial information provided with the application shows a total cost to the applicant of $178,750 , part of which was to be paid by NYSERDA grants upon the completion of the project. The materials are now sitting in storage and the timeframe for the applicant to receive the NYSERDA grant is almost over. However, through no fault of the applicant, a mere two (2) days before the one year expiration of the building permit, the town placed a STOP WORK order on the project.

Why did the town withdraw their permit almost a year after it was given to VP Supply, you ask?

The explanation given at the Zoning Board meeting was that a town employee in the codes department gave the applicant a building permit in error.

Apparently, not even the town employees were given a head’s up on the changes to the town solar energy zoning laws adopted as part of the Updated Comprehensive Plan in July of 2014.

You may remember that I have already stated in my blog that Joe Booth is on videotape telling a resident that there were too many changes in the zoning to be able to state them before the vote to adopt the updated Plan and zoning laws.

It was suggested to the applicant by the town attorney that he contact his councilman, Richard Woodland, to see if he could help out. It was also suggested that the application be tabled until the town had time to review their solar zoning codes.

If you think that Tyksinski is in favor of solar energy; think again. I assure all town residents that as long as Tyksinski is town supervisor, solar energy will not be available to residents in the Town of New Hartford.

So unless you feel like making a $300 contribution to the town for a use variance only to waste your time stating your case before the Zoning Board who will automatically tell you "NO" after they intently listen to your story, you need not bother to apply.

The Zoning Board meeting video will be online this weekend. If you are curious to see what a clusterf**k looks like, be sure to tune in my YouTube channel.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

New Hartford Central School; items on tonight's agenda

The New Hartford Central School Board will be meeting tonight at 7 P.M. in the Bradley Elementary School Library.

Items on the agenda include:
E. Resolution to Accept New Employment Agreement

It is recommended that the Board of Education adopt the following resolution accepting a new employment agreement with Robert J. Nole:

WHEREAS, the Superintendent's contract was due to expire on June 30, 2019; and

WHEREAS, the Board desires to extend the Superintendent's employment with the School District; and

WHEREAS, the Board and the Superintendent have agreed upon the terms and conditions of employment for a five-year term and wish to execute a written contract setting forth their agreement; and

WHEREAS, the Board has considered the proposed agreement submitted;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Board of Education of the New Hartford Central School District as follows:

1 . The Board hereby approves the proposed Employment Agreement of the Superintendent of Schools for the New Hartford Central School District, for a term commencing July 1, 2017 to and through April 24, 2022, all terms and conditions of employment set forth in such Agreement and authorizes the President of the Board of Education to sign such Agreement on behalf of the Board.

2. On June 30, 201 7, the existing employment contract shall become null and void.

3. This resolution shall take effect immediately.

Dated: April 25,2017

A copy of the proposed contract is available in pdf format here.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Why should we pay less for office supplies when we can pay so much more from a “family” member.

Is it just laziness on the part of the town in not obtaining price quotes each year or can we attribute it to the "Family & Friends" policy so prevalent in our town?

Recently, I heard from several people that there is a direct order handed down from the “Exalted One” that supplies are to be bought from Arlott Office Products owned by the brother-in-law of the town attorney. I have heard the same thing from residents several times in the past and even had emails asking me to look into it.

This time, however, given all the things currently going on in town, I decided to FOIL copies of all invoices for 2015 and 2016 paid to Arlott Office Supply. Unbelievable! That’s all I can say as to the stack of bills I was given to copy.

I hadn’t yet had time to write about the results of my FOIL request when the situation seemed to be resolved at the April 12, 2017 town board meeting. Imagine that!

Finance Director Dan Dreimiller spoke about a list of supply quotes for 2017 that his office was making available to town employees and suggesting that the list be used when ordering supplies from now on.

Here is just the first item on the list:
Adding machine tape, 2.25 inches wide (12 pack)
  • Arlott Office Products (town's preferred vendor) $8.79
  • Hummels $4.64
  • W.B. Mason $3.19
Check out the rest of the price comparisons between, Arlott, Hummels and W.B. Mason on the pdf of the list provided to me at the town board meeting.

Amazing the price differences, eh? Are our town councilmen asleep at the meetings? Why are they approving these invoices without question?

Anyway, something must have made the Finance Director decide to do the right thing and adhere to the town's recently updated Purchase Policy. Was it my FOIL request?

I must say, however, I am somewhat skeptical about their sudden need for obtaining price quotes because according to the town’s recently updated Purchase Policy:
Informal Price Quotes may be obtained by telephone, electronic format or by mail from vendors. The attached informal price quotes form will be used for each vendor solicited. These will be attached to a completed requisition (purchase order), voucher and any other memos/correspondence and forwarded to the Town Supervisor for approval. The Town Supervisor will review and, if necessary, the Director of Finance will do further research and soliciting of materials and/or prices verify the expenditure is within the Town's approved budget. Upon approval of vendor and price, the approved white purchase order and voucher will be mailed to the vendor to initiate the order, with the canary copy being returned to the department.
So, given the fact that we do actually have a Purchase Policy (it's actually required by General Municipal Law) and it states that all purchase orders have to be sent to the town supervisor for approval, the question that will remain is whether orders will still be redirected to Arlott Office Products by the town supervisor even if a town employee uses another vendor.

Of course, the Purchase Policy also states:
Purchase Other than for Lowest Quoted Price
When a purchase is made from other than the lowest responsible offeror (their spelling, not mine), the documentation of the quotation shall be supplemented with a statement justifying such award. Such justification must demonstrate that the award provides for the prudent and economical use of public monies in the best interests if (oops! Who proof-read this policy?) the taxpayers of the Town.
With that in mind, I guess another FOIL request at year end will tell the story! This time I should probably ask for copies of any justifying statements!

By the way, any guesses where we get our copiers and who provides the town's copier maintenance agreements?


Monday, April 17, 2017

Report Recommends Cleanup of Contamination at Brownfield Site on Middle Settlement Rd., New Hartford...

Public Invited to Information Session

...on April 25, 2017 from 6:30PM - 8:00PM at the New Hartford Public Library, 2 Library Lane, New Hartford, NY to address contamination related to the SMC Brownfield Site #C633016 (New Hartford, Oneida Co.) within New York's Brownfield Cleanup Program. Drop by anytime to discuss the investigation results and ask questions.

Please see the D.E.C. Fact Sheet for details. This fact sheet is in PDF format. You can save, open, and read the fact sheet by using Adobe Acrobat Reader.

If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can go to the NYSDEC web site to download the program.

If you have questions about the contaminated site identified above, please use the contact information provided in the fact sheet.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

What is REALLY going on in New Hartford??

The town recreation center is sited on an 8 acre parcel owned by the Village of New Hartford (tax map #329.019-5-2), so any sale or lease would also have to include the approval of the village trustees unless the “new” owners plan on moving the building off the property.
On March 7, 2002, then supervisor Ralph Humphreys signed a new 25 year lease retroactive to March 17, 2001 and ending March 17, 2026.

Click Here for a larger pdf copy of the entire lease

Since the town doesn’t own the land, the village trustees would have to agree to any lease or sale of the recreation center property. Or is someone planning on demolishing the building to construct something else on the land?

Which town or village elected “leaders” know what is REALLY going on? Village trustees? Mayor? We know the town supervisor knows, but it was quite obvious at the March town board meeting that the town councilmen were clueless.

By the way, the March town board meeting was the second meeting he said something about a possible sale or lease of the recreation center.

Why would Tyksinski say something at a public meeting that is obviously being discussed behind closed doors by a select few?

Does he know about the restrictions of the Federal grant and was he merely "fishing" to see if anyone else knew?

My bet is that it was "fishing" since both Patrick Tyksinski, now town supervisor, and Herb Cully, now town attorney, were on the New Hartford Village Board at the time of building the recreation center in 1979. To say they are unaware of the grant restrictions would probably be a stretch. So what is the end game?

Actually, there is a watchdog group (nonprofit journalism studio supported by the generosity of its members, news partners and philanthropic backers) that was formed some time ago to monitor all Federal grants from the Federal Land & Water Conservation Fund. They have compiled a list by state of Federal Land, Water & Conservation Fund grants made between 1965 and 2011.

Will you just look at who is on that list…

Click Here for a larger pdf copy of the document

Yup, even the Chadwicks Park that Supervisor Tyksinski wanted to close last year. Oh, boy! Conversion, my friend, conversion!

According to the state brochure on alienation and conversion, the conversion process takes about three years to complete and is only allowed if another recreation area comparable to the one that is being sold or leased is made available to people living in the same general area as the one being sold or leased. And that does not include the time it takes to get state legislature approval and the governor’s signature for alienation of recreation projects that received state funds.

Did someone say sale or lease the recreation center? Any sale or lease, my friend, and I do believe that the eagle will be landing…

Saturday, April 1, 2017

New Hartford Rec Center has been "6 f 'd"...

...or, in other words, a sale or lease will happen "when pigs fly"!

I am told that WKTV reported last night that Supervisor Tyksinski is still looking into the possibility of selling the New Hartford Recreation Center.

As already reported on this blog, Federal matching dollars were used to build the recreation center requiring a conversion process to sell, lease or discontinue municipal parkland.

Originally, the plan was to build a recreation center at a cost of about $800,000, but not enough public money could be raised so the town opted for a smaller building at a cost of $587,000 in order to take advantage of the matching Federal grant. The recreation center opened in 1980.

In 1984, the town board with John Kazanjian as town supervisor, once again applied for and received a Federal matching grant; this time the grant was used to expand the recreation center to add new locker rooms, spectator seating, rehabilitation of restrooms and relocation of concession stands.

It is my understanding that state grant monies have also been used over the years requiring an "alienation" process, but more restrictive is the use of Federal funds requiring the "conversion" process.

According to the booklet, "Handbook on the Alienation and Conversion of Municipal Parkland in New York":
The substitution of replacement parkland is always required in a conversion. This is one area where conversions differ from alienations: in every conversion, substitute lands must be provided. The substitute or “swap” property must be at least equal to the lands being converted. “Equality” is based upon the specific standards below:

 The fair market value of the lands proposed for substitution must be of equal or greater value than the lands being converted.

 The recreational usefulness of the lands proposed for substitution must be reasonably equivalent to the lands being converted.

 The location of the lands proposed for substitution must be comparable to the lands being converted.
So, basically, the town could sell or lease the current recreation center, but it would require a detailed plan to include "substitute lands be provided that are of at least equal fair market value, and that these lands offer reasonably equivalent recreational opportunities".

Well, given the financial condition of the town, that ain't about to happen any time soon! What would an $800,000 building built in the 1980's cost today?

The picture above is an artistic rendering of how a flying pig might appear to the naked eye and is for informational purposes only!

If you happen to see a flock of flying pigs anywhere in the Town of New Hartford, please call Supervisor Tyksinski immediately at 315-733-7500 ext. 2332!

Oh, and what is the reference to "6 f'd" in the title of this blog you might ask?

Literally, it refers to the mapping of a "park" when Federal funds are used.

Figuratively, I'll leave that one up to each individual reader. ROFLMAO!

Reassessment is is a matter of time! Will it be before the November election...Tyksinski has already started fundraising for another term...or will it be after election?