No, it's not short for "last Friday night"; it's short for Local Finance Law; section 165 to be exact.
I know I have pointed to this law several times over the last fourteen (14) years that I have been writing this blog; it should be etched in the minds of every person who has any plans of sitting on a town board.
New York Consolidated Laws, Local Finance Law - LFN § 165.00 Deposit and use of proceeds from sale of bonds, bond anticipation notes, capital notes, urban renewal notes or budget notes states:
a. The proceeds, inclusive of premiums, from the sale of bonds, bond anticipation notes, capital notes, urban renewal notes or budget notes shall be deposited and secured in a special account in the manner provided by section ten of the general municipal law , shall not be commingled with other funds of the issuer, and shall be expended only for the object or purpose for which such obligations were issued. In the event that any portion of the proceeds, inclusive of premiums, from the sale of bonds, bond anticipation notes, capital notes, urban renewal notes or budget notes is not expended for the object or purpose for which such obligations were issued, such portion shall be applied only to the payment of the principal of and interest on such obligations, respectively.After I realized that purchases were being made and also paid prior to the adoption of a town board bonding resolution adopted in December 2019 and prior to the receipt of bond proceeds in February 2020, I decided to focus in on how that could happen. Where did the money come from to pay those bills?
Didn’t take long before I found that money was being transferred from one bond account to another bond account without town board approval as required by law and in violation of Local Finance Law.
Let me go all the way back to the January 24, 2019 town board meeting minutes, long before anyone even knew the word COVID; Miscione's latest attempt to place blame.
The January 24, 2019 minutes of the town board state:
BondingAt that same meeting, four (4) bonding resolutions were unanimously adopted by the town board; one of them being for the kitchen equipment Miscione requested the town board to add to the bonding, which the town board agreed to do.
The Town Supervisor lead a lengthy conversation as to advantages of consolidating existing bond issues, and bonding for new purposes such as updating aged skating rink equipment, paving roads, updating existing community center kitchen equipment, and land acquisition. Meanwhile, the Town Attorney reviewed four (4) proposed bond resolutions that had been prepared by Thomas Myers, Bond Attorney, from New York City.
At the next regularly scheduled town board meeting, February 6, 2019, the town board was asked to accept the low bid from Flihan’s for the kitchen equipment.
Bid Results – Kitchen Equipment Community Center The following Resolution was offered for adoption by Councilman Reynolds and duly seconded by Councilman Lenart: (RESOLUTION NO. 62 OF 2019) RESOLVED, that the New Hartford Town Board does hereby accept the low bid submitted by Joseph Flihan Co. 418-426 Broad Street, Utica, NY 13504 for the purchase of Community Center Kitchen Equipment: • Items No. 1 -14 - $26,900.00 • Option 2A (Traulsen Freezer) - $2,740.00 • Option 12A (4-well Hot Food Counter) - $560.00 And does hereby award the aforesaid contract to said vendor.
Anyway, on February 20, 2019, an Official Statement for the sale of bonds was detailed on Fiscal Advisors website with a sale date of March 6, 2019.
The May 8, 2019 town board minutes state:
Supervisor Miscione Update on Town Hall
Supervisor Miscione updated the Board on the progress taking place in the new Town Hall. The Courts are scheduled to be moving around May 13, 2019, and the Police Department towards the end of May 2019. Supervisor Miscione also stated that the Senior Center kitchen should be completed by June 1, 2019.
If I remember June 2019 was about the date that the Seniors moved into their new space at the Gander Mt. town hall.The August 14, 2019 town board minutes reflect that Flihan’s bid bond was returned. So it is safe to say that by August of 2019, the kitchen was completed so any unused money should have been put in a reserve to pay the annual bond debt.
Now that we have the back story...let's look at the Supervisor's 2020 monthly reports to see if we can get a clue as to what has been going on behind the scenes..
Did Miscione purposely bond for more money than he needed to purchase the kitchen equipment to create a “slush fund”?