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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Hey...how is everyone liking that 3.7% tax rate increase...

...that you didn't get because the increase is really 6.8% just as I reported at budget time!

The Village of New York Mills received a 6.8% for General Wholetown; they don't pay police.

The Village of New Hartford and the Town Outside the Villages (TOV) received a 6.8% overall increase in their T-GEN & POLICE P-TWN (6.8% for Police and 6.8% increase for General Wholetown.

And all you sewer users (you know who you are!) how about that Sewer District unit charge?

In 2018 the town board budgeted the unit charge total expense of $127,803 which according to the 2018 budget came to $20 per unit.

For the 2019 budget, the unit charge total expense to be collected is $128,078 or a $275 total increased expenses budgeted for the unit charges in 2019.

As detailed in a September 21 2018 Observer Dispatch article, roughly 191 users were added to the sewer district this past year to account for people in the district who were never previously billed for sewer maintenance charges because the assessment database was never updated under past administrations.

At this point, I believe there were approximately 250 "new" (previously unidentified) units added to pay the 2019 sewer unit charge, but we are still being charged the same $20 per unit that we have been paying all along. How does that math work? Shouldn't the sewer unit charge have gone down to reflect since more people are now paying and the 2019 budgeted expense increase only amounted to $275?

And don't get me started on the fact that the town has no authorization to charge anyone a sewer unit charge because they never adopted a local law justifying the charges. It's called a Sewer Rent Law.

Don't get me wrong, we are not talking about a lot of money for the average New Hartford taxpayer...we will all survive. It is the fact that we have a supervisor who was actually elected as the Chief Financial Officer (not a Parks Director) of the town plus a Finance Director who is also a CPA and they obviously are lacking math skills or maybe they just don't understand town finance and governance.

Either way, everyone loses!  Cheers!



3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Willovale fire department tax raise was 30% too.

Anonymous said...

Why was it raised so much? They do less calls than the other two Town fire departments.

New Hartford, NY Online said...

The problem is that during the previous administration they were overcharging Willowvale taxpayers for the Service Awards program and for Workman's Compensation. Don't know where the money went because it never showed up in the audits even through the auditors were paid to audit the Service Awards program. I got suspicious and FOILed invoices and then I blogged about it. Just search the blog and you can read all about it. I figure that the fire district was owed about $130,000-$150,000 dollars not including interest which is supposed to be paid.

The 2018 budget was reduced by $75,000 of the taxpayer overpayment and that amount was applied to last year's fire taxes so everyone in the district paid less on their 2018 tax bill.

Problem is that they don't have the rest of the money to apply to this year's taxes so people in the Willowvale Fire District are paying the full amount for the Awards Program which is about $8,000 more than the budget says the program cost in 2018. 2018 was $52,000; this year's cost is $60,000.

Whether that is the actual increase cost of the program or whether "extra" has been added, I don't know. Anyone can FOIL the invoices for the 2019 payment. If I lived in the Willowvale district, you can bet that is what I would do.

It's sort of the same thing with the sewer district taxes paid by residents who have sewers. They have been borrowing from the fund for the last eight years to pay debt in other funds and now the town doesn't have the money to pay the district back. Last I looked, they had borrowed and not paid back about $800,000 not including interest due. When I questioned the Supervisor he said they don't expect to have the money to pay sewer district taxpayers back any time soon.

What all this means is that the General Fund balance that they like to brag about is really not as high as they claim...you have to deduct the money that is owed to each fund to find out the real fund balance.

But, we do have a new town hall that we haven't started paying for yet!