How can you tell if a politician is lying?
--Their lips are moving!
Anyone that follows this blog knows that the $3 million dollar fund balance reported in the Observer Dispatch article is tomfoolery!
Of course, if you are trying to make people believe that you are an accounting genius as part of your re-election campaign, as Tyksinski is trying to do, you would combine three (3) funds, as Tyksinski requested the auditors do for the 2016 audit, so that it gives the appearance that the town is doing well under Tyksinski's watch.
However, the three (3) fund balances are not normally combined when speaking of general fund balance because two of the funds represent assigned monies.
According to the audit:
"Assigned- Includes amounts that are constrained by the Town's intent to be used for specific purposes, but are neither restricted nor committed. Intent is expressed by (a) the Town Board or (b) the designated official, such as the Town's Purchasing Agent, to which the Board has delegated the authority to assign amounts to be used for specific purposes. The remaining fund balances in the Police, Highway Part Town, Sewer, and Non-Major funds are assigned fund balances."The funds are considered assigned because the dollars are collected from different tax bases; in this case Tyksinski combined Police and Part town with the General Wholetown. The fund balance is generally regarded as the balance in the General Wholetown only; however, that would give an entirely different picture of the town's finances.
The audit actually shows that the General Wholetown fund balance that is Unassigned or spendable for any town expense totals $1,897,699.
From that balance, one needs to subtract the amount due to the Sewer Fund of $764,530; leaving a fund balance of $1,133,169; NOT $3,000,000. AND, that is dependent upon all other numbers in the audit being correct! (I doubt it!)
The million dollar surplus is also a combination of all funds including funds that are assigned so it really is not a surplus that can be spent for any purpose. The town actually spent more than it received in revenues for 2016 according to the audit.
Now let's look at Tyksinski's and Town Attorney Cully statements to the Observer Dispatch regarding the non-bid spending:
"The draft includes a finding that a collection of stormwater drainage improvements and other small jobs — totaling $500,850 as handled by a single contractor — did not adhere to the town’s bidding policy and did not have proper emergency approval."Tyksinski & Cully must be referring to a resolution passed by the town board in April 2014 because there has not been any other adopted resolution on the subject since 2014.
"Tyksinski, however, said the finding was “wrong.” The town, according to Town Attorney Herbert Cully, then used a process called job order contracting to hire a contractor for a period of time to handle jobs as needed at a fixed price."
“When we had the final exit conference (with the auditors), that was my opportunity to provide the information to them to show why it was not a correct finding, and that’s what we did,” Tyksinski said."
The resolution is quite specific that the excavators named are to be used for 2014; according to General Municipal Law, non-bid contracts can only be for a twelve month period and can only be used if the sum total of the work to be paid in a twelve month period is NOT over the $35,000 threshold for public works or the work must be formally bid.
(RESOLUTION NO. 92 OF 2014)
RESOLVED that the Town Board of the Town of New Hartford does hereby retain the services of the following excavators for storm drainage work in fiscal year 2014 at the hourly rate of One Hundred Thirty-five Dollars ($135) per hour:
• John Spinella Excavating Co., 3274 Martin Road, Clinton, NY 13323
• L.P. Trucking & Excavation, Inc., 8290 Gore Road, Rome, NY 13440
• Roberts Construction of Upstate New York, Inc., 115 Genesee Street, New Hartford, NY 13413
According to the draft audit, Spinella was paid $500,850 for non-bid work in 2016 which is well over the $35,000 threshold; the 2016 audit would not include the amount paid in 2015.
Attorney Cully and Tyksinski know very well that there was a whole discussion at the board table which ended in the town's procurement policy being clarified and updated. That was when they tried to get the town board to approve Spinella's invoices that according to Tyksinski were FEMA-related even though there was no storm damage reported in 2015 or 2016. It's all on the blog including videos.
I wonder what b/s they used to convince D'Arcangelo to omit this finding from their final 2016 audit. The town board needs to immediately put out bid requests for a different auditing firm for 2018!
By the way, it's funny that the final 2016 audit still has not been provided to the Securities & Exchange Commission as required. Wonder if they will submit it after they sell the $900,000 bond anticipation notes on August 1, 2017?