2016 Town BudgetWhy Budgets Matter, a Commentary
Town Board 2016 Budget Review
November 12 & 13, 2015
The purpose of the meeting is to give the four councilmen an opportunity to meet with department heads as part of their review of the supervisor’s Tentative Budget.
Adoption of Preliminary Budget
With virtually no discussion, the board voted unanimously to adopt the Tentative Budget as the Preliminary Budget without any changes. The Preliminary Budget will be the subject of a public hearing on December 8th.
Throughout the two days of meetings with department heads, only two department heads suggested additions to their budgets; both were rejected. (See Refuse & Recycling.)
Also during the discussions, when I brought up issues that involved changes in budget lines (see below), it was clear that the majority of board did not support the changes; therefore I made no motions to incorporate these changes into the Preliminary Budget.
During the discussions I raised the following issues that reach across the entire budget.
I noted that expenses are continuing to increase faster than non-tax revenue and questioned whether this was the time to add additional staff which represented the biggest expense in the budget. The supervisor’s budget includes the addition of 4 full time staff positions, although one position involves the elimination of a 16hr/week part time worker (See Water Department and Assessor.)
The total tentative budget is $21,068 under the allowed tax cap, leaving little room to add additional expenses, without either cutting other expenses or finding additional non-tax revenue, e.g., use more fund balance.
The PBA contract expired 12/31/2014; no new contract has been signed. The CSEA contract expires 12/31/2015. Despite the absence of any new contracts covering 2016, the Tentative Budget includes an estimated 2% across the board salary increase, plus contract mandated step increases.
I raised the question of why “broadcast” to the unions a 2% increase prior to any negotiations. The response was: if contracts are settled in 2016 and include an increase, then there has to be money to pay for it. My response was: the funds could come from fund balance. I also suggested that the comptroller provide increase salary figures based on a lower percentage increase, e.g., 1.5%. This will be taken up on Friday.
On Friday, the comptroller reported that a quarter percentage point increase in CSEA salaries would roughly cost $23,000. Supervisor Grace also defended adding potential 2016 salary increases into the budget noting that when he settled the PBA contract in 2012, he had to find funds to pay a substantial amount for retroactive increases. (See Finance/contingency line below.)
The town has not yet received anything in writing for the cost for 2016 coverage. Based on a telephone conversation with the broker, the comptroller plugged in a 10% increase. (See also Legal.)
The town has not yet received final costs for 2016; the number is expected by the end of November. Assuming the number does arrive in time for the budget hearing, I suggested that the number could be adjusted at the December budget hearing (in 2014, for several departments that were randomly selected, the actual expense was lower than what was budgeted.) Other changes that affect to cost of medical benefits, e.g., change in spousal coverage or retirement cannot be known in advance and needed to be estimated.
Long term budget trends
Citing figures for both the General Fund and the total town budget that showed expenses increasing faster than non-tax revenues and a decrease in the town’s total assessed value, Councilman Patel asked if continuing expense increases were sustainable. Comptroller Caporale responded that she couldn’t predict future expenses and revenues, and Supervisor Grace walked out during Councilman Patel’s comments.
Comptroller Caporale presented the board with corrected pages for pages 12 & 14 in the introductory section of the Tentative Budget. Corrected pages are also being prepared for page 113, Capital Budget and page 146, Town Board salaries.
(Most of the following summary is based on questions I asked during the meeting. With a few exceptions, most department heads had no comments on their proposed budgets and the other board members had few questions or comments.)
I questioned whether the additional clerical position proposed for the assessor’s office could be cross trained to cover the tax office as the busy seasons for the two departments were different and used to eliminate the p/t person. The current tax receiver did function in this dual capacity before becoming tax receiver. The part time person in the office was eliminated in the 2012-2014budget but added back in sometime in 2014. The stated reason for the addition: the office needs coverage when someone is out. The Tax Receiver also indicated that the “sharing” arrangement was not possible because the tax and assessor’s office were both busy in the spring.
The department’s increase in the “filing fee” line was needed to “catch up” on a backlog of filing tax liens and should be a one-time expense.
Animal control: The $2,000 expense for equipment for the animal control officer is for equipment to read the “chips” in the dogs. The expense for feral cat control is lower due to less activity on the part of the volunteer who captures the cats and brings them to the SPCA.
Use of police cars by Spectra. I raised the issue of why the town is not charging Spectra for the use of police cars that are used by off duty police officers who are paid directly by Spectra. Supervisor Grace and Councilmen Bernard and Diana felt this was a non -issue and was warranted in the name of public safety. They felt that the wear and tear on the vehicles and gasoline was not a significant issue.
Traffic issues: Councilmen Bernard asked if Officer Eidelman, the town’s public safety officer, could spend more time on traffic issues as opposed to other police assignments. The department response was that they try for Officer Eidelman to be available for traffic issues two or three days a week, but because the department is temporarily short staffed, his traffic duties have been restricted.
In general, the chief explained that the only way the police can assign more officers to traffic control is to add more officers to the force. The number of officers was reduced a few years ago from 58 to 55, but one position was restored in 2014 for drug related assignments. Chief McMahon noted that while the number of officers has been reduced, the volume of calls has increased, plus the amount of time and paperwork it takes to respond to many of the calls has increased.
It was noted that the department’s traffic counters and speed monitoring equipment are not operable. It appeared to be a board consensus that both pieces of equipment should be replaced and the chief was asked to provide cost estimates so that there could be a discussion Friday about finding room in the budget to purchase the equipment.
(Based on information supplied later in the day, the new equipment will cost an estimated $10,000. The board decided that the department should find the funds in its existing budget lines and that the overall department budget did not have to be increased.)
Professional services: The chief would like to have contracts available to hire doctors, when needed, to evaluate whether an officer out sick, but not out on workers’ comp or 207c, can return to work, possibly for modified duty. There is $10,000 in this line. In the past, the issue has been getting the names of appropriate doctors. Supervisor Grace said he would provide the chief with names for different specialists. Alternately, the comptroller will ask the town’s third party workers comp provider if they can provide names at no cost. (According to the chief, a past provider wanted $250 just to provide a name.)
Special projects line ($150,000). Asked if the department had any plans for the use of the money, the response was: the line could cover overages from any of three projects currently in progress and funded by the bonding approved in December, 2014: the Sparkle Lake Dam, and bridges at Croton Heights Rd and Baptist Church Rd. The dam project will come in $80,000 over budget due to some unanticipated expenses; Supervisor Grace thought the Croton project would come in at budget and that the final cost of the Baptist project was still unknown due to the need for last minute design changes.
I suggested that the cost overruns be paid for first out of the bond money, and second, if that was not sufficient, then funds be taken from the general fund fund balance. The supervisor anticipates receiving $220,000 from FEMA for the Baptist Church Rd. project.
Sewers: Since all staff costs are allocated to the Yorktown Sewer District (Hallocks Mill), I suggested that employee time sheets indicate how much time staff spends on non YS issues so that YS can be property reimbursed. Currently there is a transfer from the Osceola and Hunterbrook sewer districts to YS, but it is based on a flat percentage of budget and not actual time spent. Supervisor Grace agreed that it was a good idea to do this.
Inflow & Infiltration. I asked why so little has had been spent in this budget line for 2014 and 2015. Acting Town Engineer Robinson explained that I&I work had been done, but it was done in house. The measures, smoke testing and televising sewer lines, did not identify any problem areas. She explained that EPA guidelines are that when the cost of repairing an I&I problem exceeds a certain amount, it is more cost effective to treat the stormwater than try to prevent it from reaching the plant. However, DEC and DEP still want to know what the town is doing to reduce I&I; to date, our efforts have been satisfactory for them.
The personnel line in the budget will need a slight adjustment upwards to account for the need to upgrade an existing position that will be required to do more computer data entry required as part of the new SPDES permit
Pump station replacements: The town expects a report by the end of November on the cost of replacing three YS pump stations. Preliminary estimates are $3-$4 million for the three facilities. All three will be done at the same time. After staff and then the town board reviews the plans, the town can go out to bid and construction can begin in mid 2016, with an anticipated one year completion date. While I suggested that the YS $5.6 million fund balance (as of 12/31/14) could pay for a good part of the project, Supervisor Grace indicated his intention to bond the project with some money coming from fund balance.
The department will be asking to shift unused money in its 2015 budget to purchase two new vehicles. The board was generally agreeable and the resolution is expected to be on next week’s agenda.
Yorktown Plant SPDES permit: Although not directly related to the budget, there was a brief discussion of the plant’s new SPDES permit. While the permit acknowledges that the plant can treat 2.5 mgd and may eventually get a permit to treat that amount, the new permit allows a 1.5 mgd rolling average. And, to the surprise of the town which thought that DEC would use past monthly averages, the permit starts a “new” count for monthly averages as of November 1, 2015 – meaning that we won’t have a rolling average for another 12 months that would open the door for sewer extensions to new neighborhoods.
Water rate: Superintendent Rambo anticipates that in 2017, the rates will have to be increased.
Staff addition of an intermediate clerk: This will replace the part time person responsible for back flow compliance. Total additional cost estimated at $25,000. The additional clerical staff time is needed because of the work load involved in getting price verification data and also to avoid fines by not properly marking underground utility lines prior to construction.
Fluoride. I raised the issue that no money is proposed in the 2016 budget for the installation of new equipment at the Catskill plant; the fluoride installation as the Amawalk plant that typically provides 95% of Yorktown water is complete, but the two systems are interchangeable and Yorktown does use Catskill water. In 2013, the board decided to replace the outdated Catskill equipment.
Design work for the Catskill project has been completed but the Joint Water Works which is taking the lead role in moving the project forward has been slow to act; Yorktown is the only municipality in the Joint Water Works that wants fluoridation. I suggested that since it is in Yorktown’s interest to get the job done, that we start taking a lead role to make it happen.
On the issue of financing, the comptroller said that given the $2.375,000 fund balance allocated in the 2015 budget and the $1,975,000 proposed in the 2016 budget, every available fund balance dollar was committed and that the current budget could not accommodate the additional fluoride expense because there was no offsetting revenue. Her suggestion was to wait until January, 1, 2016 to see how much fund balance was actually used in 2015 to cover any funds encumbered by 12/31/2015; any surplus would revert back to fund balance and could then be used to pay for the fluoride project. (In 2014, the district used $1.48 million of its fund balance to cover actual expenses.)
The fluoride discussion and the use of fund balance precipitated the following comment from me: In 2013, the board lowered the water tax to $11.68/$1,000 from $19.95/$1,000, resulting in a $904,150 drop in revenue and necessitated a reliance on fund balance. As the tax rate has gone up only a few pennies in 2014-2016, this has created the ongoing need to use fund balance to cover ongoing costs.
Meters: ($75,000) The funds will be used to continue installing the new meters in meter pits. There are about 800 pits; 300-400 have been replaced so far. Town staff can replace 200-300 per year.
Special District Fee: I called to the board’s attention the problem inherent in how the town charges the specialdistrict administrative fee, i.e., it is assessed as a flat percentage of the district’s budget. I noted that in 2014, the district’s administrative fee of 6% was based on the district’s budget. However, in 2014 the district spent $2.8 million less than was budgeted, resulting in an overcharge of $169,908 based on actual expenses. I suggested that the district was due a refund. Also, because the $800,000 cement lining project included in the 2015 budget has not been implemented, there will likely be an overcharge in the 2015 budget.
Supervisor Grace defended the fee and said he had wanted to raise it to 7%. In response I stated that if my water bill was $100 or $1,000, it cost the same amount of money to generate the bill and for the tax office to process my payment. Likewise, whether the town’s garbage contract was $2 million or $5 million, it took the same amount of time to process the monthly payments to the garbage company.
Cement lining project: Mr. Rambo indicated that he should be ready to go out to bid on the cement lining project in Feb/March. For other capital projects, he reported he received a report in May dealing with the condition of the storage tanks The company that did the report is offering to provide an ongoing monitoring service, but he did not think that level of service was needed. No additional details about what storage tank projects might be needed in 2016 were discussed.
A discussion was put off on the future of the small building in need of a new roof. (See Highway below.) But there appeared a consensus to go ahead and authorize the purchase of the step van based on Mr. Rambo’s clarification as to exactly what the price included. (At an earlier meeting, some board members questioned the price, thinking it was something akin to a basic bread delivery van. Mr. Rambo explained that the van comes equipped with specialized equipment needed to deal with water main breaks)
There were no questions and the discussion lasted no more than 5 minutes.
Mr. Tegeder noted that the department’s plotter machine used to print out maps is no longer supported by HP and while the machine is currently working, if problems occur, he will be unable to get parts and will need a new machine that will be in the $7,000-$9,000 range. If that happens, he can make some adjustments in other budget lines to compensate for the zero equipment line.
Special projects line. None were identified for that $6,000 budget line; in the past, the line was used to purchase plants for Commerce Street.
Professional services line ($7,500). In the past, it was used mostly to cover the cost of services provided by the town’s environmental consultant. Now that the consultant is paid a flat fee for town services, that money isn’t needed, but Councilman Bernard suggested that it could be used to call in the town’ traffic consultant. I agreed.
Town Clerk & Museum
Museum professional services line $5,000: The money is for the storage unit holding mostly items from the Bernstein House, a former museum property closed many years ago. The goal is to eventually sell any items of value.
Audio visual program. Town Clerk Roker presented the board with a proposal by Geoff Wheeler who has provided volunteer AV services to the town since 2011. The proposal would be to pay Wheeler $12,000 a year and oversee changes in the AV operation. Ms. Roker also suggested the town work with the AV program in the Lakeland School District which, according to Ms. Roker, has a more sophisticated AV program than the Yorktown School District. There was no board discussion on the proposal, other than my comment that I agree that more could be done with Channel 20/33. (AV costs are listed in the Town Board portion of the agenda.)
Ms. Roker also reported that the freelancer who schedules the town’s videos has requested a raise from $500/month to $600/month. I commented that this work could be done by a town staffer.
Clerk’s salary: I raised the issue of reducing the salary for the incoming clerk. (In 2013, the salary was raised from $82,497 to $92,000. The 2016 is listed as $96,677.) I left the amount open for discussion. Supervisor Grace defended the 2013 increase saying that the clerk was “woefully underpaid” and that the job is 24/7. Ms. Roker offered to show the board a clerk salary showing that Yorktown’s clerk was underpaid.
Legal settlements: Town Attorney Koster felt that the $30,000 budgeted for legal settlement wasn’t sufficient as under our current insurance policy, when claims were submitted to the insurance carrier, the town is liable for the first $25,000 of legal fees. She suggested than even a simple “slip and fall” claim could, depending on the plaintiff, generate $25 000 in legal costs and that she was not equipped to handle such cases. It was a trade off, she explained, between higher insurance premiums and gambling on what legal costs might be. As the town has not yet received 2016 quotes from its insurance broker, I suggested that that the broker be asked to provide two quotes: with and without the legal coverage.
The town’s insurance covers up to $10,000 in legal fees for Article 78 lawsuits.
Foreclosures: The office is ready to send warning letters to property owners who haven’t paid taxes for 2010 thru 2013. The title searches on these properties have already been done and if there is no response to the warning letter, the attorney will proceed to file a foreclosure petition. Supervisor Grace suggested the town save money by not filing deeds when property is taken in rem; Koster disagreed and said, based on conversations with colleagues, it made sense to record deeds.
The town is still waiting to hear back from Somers whether it will accept Yorktown’s higher charge per meal or find another vender.(Yorktown cooks the meals for Somers, Lewisboro and North Salem and the meals are picked up by Somers.) There was a continuation of the discussion from previous executive sessions about the future of the cooking operation and whether, in the long run, it made sense to update kitchen equipment or outsource the cooking operation while maintaining all other senior services. As the Somers program accounts for more than half of the prepared meals, Somers’ decision may effect this decision. As decided at a previous meeting, Ms. O’Driscoll will prepare a report for board consideration in February outlining the costs/benefits of the different options.
Fees: I suggested that the department take a look at increasing the basic $15/year fee for an alarm permit and the separate fee for responding to false alarms. (It was noted that Peekskill charges $25/year for an alarm permit and that the fee was just increased to $30.)
I also suggested (as I had done in previous years) that the town charge a fee for the Operating Permit for businesses, multi family premises and places of public assembly that is required by state law and which requires an inspection by the Building Department. The fee could vary by the size of the establishment.
Building inspector Winter said he would develop some numbers on both fees and report back to the board.
Permit revenue: Mr. Winter reported that both the Costco and JV Mall fees were likely to be paid in 2016, not 2015. The JV Mall has submitted a new set of plans that differ from those previously submitted and reviewed.
GPS, computer tracking software and time clocks: Mr. Winter suggested that as a department head, it would be helpful if department cars had GPS systems that could monitor where his staff was at any given time, as well as software that could monitor what non town related web sites staff was on and for how long. He also recommended time clocks. He and I both acknowledged that the two issues transcended many departments. Supervisor Grace said that the time clock issue was subject to a collective bargaining agreement and that in the past the union had opposed the idea. I suggested that since the budget already included an approximate 2% raise, the issue of time clocks be used as a trade off. Supervisor Grace indicated that the time clocks would also make the payroll function considerably more efficient. I agreed with all three suggestions, indicating that the measures were genuine steps that could lead to REAL cost saving efficiencies.
Parks & Recreation
Superintendent Gray reported that 2015 was a good year with revenue up $35,000, thanks in part to a hot summer that increased pool revenue.
Legacy Field: There’s currently $90,000 in the turf replacement fund; the department is looking into increasing the usage fee for the field before next year’s playing season in order to build up the account. Mr. Gray estimated that replacing the turf would cost $500,000,not $1 million as previously discussed. He couldn’t estimate how long the current turf would last, but added that it is being properly maintained and inspected by an outside vendor.
Regarding the Spectra pipeline project, Supervisor Grace said the plan was still to drill underground; a staging area will be located off Route 132. He did not identify the exact location.
Hunterbrook field: The department is working on a site plan and stormwater plan to create a new soccer field. Two tests have been done on the “mound” and the DEC considers the soil safe, even though it contains a low level residue of DDE, a pesticide. Councilman Patel questioned whether the tests had been done accurately but both Mr. Gray and Supervisor Grace assured him that they were and that they would not be putting children in danger. Mr. Gray did not have a cost estimate on the project.
Trump Park walking trail: Councilman Bernard noted that the walking trail in the conservation easement was recently completed and wanted to know whose responsibility it was to maintain the trail. Mr. Gray did not know; the original agreement to construct the trail will have to be reviewed to see what, if any, maintenance provisions it includes.
Payment to athletic clubs. A perennial issue at budget hearings, Mr. Gray defended the $78,800 payments as necessary to assist the clubs who use the schools for basketball.
Tennis courts: In response to Councilman Patel’s question why the existing tennis courts were not being repaired, Mr. Gray’s response was: they’re expensive to fix.
YCCC track: one of the possible park iimprovement projects in this line item for 2016 could be replacing the lights around the track.
The library needs additional maintenance help, especially over the weekend, and also at other times, to supplement its Mon-Friday, 7am-3pm staffer. Supervisor Grace advised interim library head Pat Hallinan to work with the head of town buildings to get extra help as needed.
In a closed session, the need for adding a new assessment aide position was explained.
Refuse & Recycling
Vehicles & fees: Coordinator Kim Angliss Gage requested an additional $50,000 to purchase a Ford F450 truck and also said she needed an additional $10,000 in her vehicle maintenance line given the aging of the department’s fleet. To pay for these added expenses, she suggested raising the charge for a special bulk trash pick up by $10 to $50. The board agreed. For 2015, to date, there have been 850 extra pick-ups. She also suggested instituting a $5/tire disposal fee. Tires would no longer be picked up with bulk trash and could only be disposed of at the R&R building on special collection days. Residents could still dispose of them at no cost by bringing them to the county’s recycling center at Valhalla. The board agreed to the new fee.
The board rejected increasing both the equipment and vehicle maintenance lines with the reasoning that if the department head wanted money for these expenses, she should find ways to save an equivalent sum in other budget lines.
Organic Recycling Operation (the Hill). This was a joint discussion involving the R&R Department. Both Superintendent Paganelli and Ms. Angliss –Gage agree that this operation should be/can be changed to create a revenue stream. The issue is how. (The nature of the operation changed in late 2013 after a specialized piece of machinery broke down; since then an outside vendor has been processing the material.)
Based on how the site has been used in the past, it is being suggested that the facility be open 3 days a week (Friday, Saturday, and Monday) from mid-April to mid-November and be staffed those times by one person from highway and a seasonal employee. Disposal would be limited to residents only; no commercial landscaping companies would be permitted. At issue is whether to begin charging a fee for disposal, or rely on the sale of the fine mulch end product to landscapers (for residents, the mulch could be free) to cover the expenses. Mr. Paganelli and Ms. Angliss-Gage will refine their numbers, work out the details and report back to the board. No changes in the sharing of expenses for the operation will be made in the 2016 budget.
It was also suggested that the Parks Department would be able to save money if it “purchased” the mulch produced on the Hill rather than from an outside vendor.
Fog line machine: The department will use some of the money in the pavement marking line in the general fund budget , plus savings in other highway lines to purchase equipment to paint “fog lines” on town roads (fog lines are the white lines at the edge of the road.) Until town staff can be trained to use the equipment to paint double lines after streets are paved, an outside vendor will still be needed.
Street sweeping and catch basin cleaning: Given the cost and high maintenance expense associated with these machines, Mr. Paganelli plans to subcontract out these services. Catch basin cleaning costs on average $40-$60/basin and the town is obligated to clean 20% of its 1,020 catch basins every year for a total cost per year of roughly $40,000.
Miscellaneous comments. Mr. Paganelli noted that he has been done 4 persons this year due to illness and workers comp and while his department has been able to get most but not all of its work done, it was an indication that going forward he might be able to operate with fewer men, although the issue was not necessarily the number of employees but the type of employees. Over the past year, the department has replaced higher paid retiring foreman and heavy machine equipment operators (HMEOs) with lower paid laborers.
Mr. Paganelli calculated that since he has become superintendent the department has 10 “new” trucks, although some of the trucks are “hand-me-downs” from the Water Department and a packer from Refuse & Recycling that was reconfigured to meet Highway Department needs. The department currently has 23-24 vehicles and a total of 63 pieces of equipment.
Water Department building. Some members of the board again questioned the value of spending $90,000 to replace the roof when the building has limited use. In addition to some department storage, during storm events, employees sleep in the building during required non working hours. Mr. Paganelli estimated that 50-65 employees are involved in snow clearing operations. If this building was no longer available, other options would have to be identified. He also noted that even if the building was left to collapse on its own, the town would still have to remove the asbestos in the roof—which accounts for the bulk of the cost.
Workers Compensation: Mr. Paganelli suggested that the town budget for workers compensation costs as a regular budget line. (Traditionally, money is transferred into the line on an added needed basis during the end of the year reconciliation process. But earlier this year, the Town Board had to transfer $350,000 from the general fund to the highway fund to cover 2015 costs. ) While there is no way to estimate what future workers comp costs might be, based on past years, departments like highway, water, parks and refuse and recycling always have some workers comp claims.
Use of $1.5 million Spectra funds. I suggested that the board consider using the one time funds for additional one time needed infrastructure projects like paving and drainage projects instead of either hoarding it or using it to cover revenue gaps in the budget. The budget includes only $25,000 for drainage and $250,000 for paving, not counting state CHIPS money. Leaving the actual amounts up to a discussion, I suggested possibly $500,000 for paving, an amount that could pave about 5 miles. Mr. Paganelli said he had a list of potential drainage projects. Supervisor Grace noted that when the town received money from FEMA for Hurricane Sandy, some of the money was used for paving. (FEMA not only reimbursed the town for storm related overtime, it also reimbursed the town for its regular costs, creating a bonus payment of about $500,000.) No one else on the board commented on my suggestion.
Town Buildings/Human Resources
Telephone replacement: In response to my question, Ms. Gspurning said she is working on an RFP to replace the town’s outdated telephone system. She said the RFP would be ready sometime in the new year.
Employee training: Ms. Gspurning said she would be scheduling more employee training in 2016, especially as we have some new employees. She is working the Police Department for them to do a workplace violence training.
Secretary position. I suggested that as the position has not been filled for three years, it be removed from the budget. Supervisor Grace said he intended to fill the position this year. He also said he planned to shift the workers compensation function out of Finance to Human Resources and that this would require giving Ms. Gspurning (who is listed in the supervisor’s budget) additional help.
Deputy Comptroller position: While agreeing that the town needed a deputy comptroller, I suggested that as the position has not been filled for three years, it be removed from the budget. Comptroller Caporale said she planned to fill the position in 2016.
Tax refunds: In response to my question why $225,000 was budgeted for tax funds when actual expenses for 2014 were $38,477 and to date only $20,462 for 2015, the response was: that’s what department heads wanted.
Tax on town property: In response to my question why $110,000 was budgeted, Ms. Caporale said she would provide me with a list of town owned properties that had to pay taxes.
Contingency: In response to my question why $100,000 was needed in a contingency line when the town had in excess of $5 million in fund balance, the response was: we’ve always done it. It was also noted that when the current police chief retires, he will be entitled to a $160,000 settlement based on closed door discussions.
Towing contact. After I pointed out that the town’s towing contract expired four years ago, Supervisor Grace agreed that a new one was needed; he indicated that he had something on his desk.
Inspection Level 1: It was explained that his new revenue line in the budget was for fees paid for the services of Bruce Barber, the town’s environmental consultant.