If you’ve  read today’s Press Republican headline (JUST CLICK if you haven’t), you know the Press claims that the Town of Plattsburgh has made budget cuts! WOW, the tax levy will ONLY increase 16% now instead of 47%. Just as we all predicted, Bernie and the boys on the Board tried to spin this to look as though we should all be thrilled that our taxes are only going up 16% instead of 47%. Aren’t you thrilled?

So let me shed some light on the article and the preliminary budget.

1. The article says that the levy was reduced by $806,642. Let’s not be too hasty here. This figure came from talking points that Bernie handed out at Monday’s Town meeting. (Oct 28,2013) By Friday, Nov 1, 2013, in only 4 days, the budget had already INCREASED again by $22,434. Could it be that they wanted the Press report of the budget to be more favorable than it really is so you would be thrilled?shell_game


2. Between the public hearing on the preliminary budget and adoption of the final budget the Board can continue to make changes to the budget. Changes can include increases and that’s what the Board did last year!


3. Bernie’s justification about the “wish list” etc. is ludicrous. When a CFO faces a 1.6% tax-cap he doesn’t tell department heads to budget a “wish list”. This is totally irresponsible. A good and responsible CFO tells them to cut, cut, cut and make the hard decisions.


4. Bernie suggests that the cuts made this year indicate a reasonable change over last year. What does this mean? That the 1.67% reduction from last year’s spending is reasonable. Compared to what? The 74.39% increased spending since Bernie’s 1st budget in 2007? Guess Bernie is saying that after years of out-of-control spending the Town Board is finally demonstrating some fiscal responsibility. Did someone say it’s an election year?


5. Bernie says that the Town used up its fund balance in the past several years in order to stay below the tax cap.  If that were true it demonstrates total irresponsibility on the Board’s behalf. Do you read anything about CUTTING THE BUDGET in order to stay below the tax cap? THE FACT IS, THE TOWN WAS USING UP THE FUND BALANCE BEFORE THE NYS TAX-CAP WAS INSTITUTED. According to Independent Audits of Town finances, in 2008 the General Fund fund balance was $1,131,557. By 2010, BEFORE THE INSTITUTION OF THE TAX-CAP THE FUND BALANCE HAD BEEN SPENT DOWN TO $52,846. That, alone, should have been enough for the Town Board to decide to CUT SPENDING.

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6. Even incumbent, Paul Lamoy, says the Board could make more cuts. Unfortunately he doesn’t follow through on what he says.  His “Lighting District” (click to see the article in the Press) tax which, according to him, was supposed to begin at $.11/$1000 starting January 1, 2013, and was supposed to continue at that rate for 12 years and then decrease, actually began at $.15/$1000 on January 1, 2013 and is set to rise to $.16/$1000 in 2014. And all of you that don’t have street lights get to “pitch in” for a service you don’t have and, maybe, don’t even want!!!!! Aren’t you thrilled?


7. Since they published the Tentative budget the Town “found” more revenue just as  Tom Metz, in today’s article, says that they could. Tom was able to find the “hidden money”. In fact there’s over $300,000 in revenue which the Town has not included in the budget and Tom has found that and more.


8. THE TAX CAP OVERRIDE IS UNNECESSARY. Brudvig and Metz know that and tell us so. The Town Board did better with their pencils in their talking points for the Press…not so well with the REAL figures for the taxpayers.


9. There is a public hearing on the Preliminary Budget on Thurs Nov 7th, at 7:05 PM. That’s 2 days AFTER the election. Please consider attending and bringing your comments. If you can’t attend, submit your comments in writing. YOUR COMMENTS HELPED BRING US THIS FAR. Keep up the pressure. vote-300x234Please “CLICK HERE” for the tentative Budget and “CLICK HERE” for the preliminary budget. Hope you have an interesting perusal.