Budget Warning in North Greenbush
As the elected Highway Superintendent in North Greenbush, I must react to the 2012 Budget with a warning to taxpayers. Last year the Town Board took more than $71,000 in Highway PILOT funds from the Highway Department to pay for a General Fund spending spree rather than to accept the proposed cuts of the Supervisor.
During the year, I have watched the fund balances in the Highway Budget change without my knowledge or my approval. The numbers have changed without my approval or transfer resolutions from the Town Board. Premo noted that more than $370,000 in set aside highway funds were in his budget at the beginning of last year and in the last few months, balance sheets have shown amounts as low as minus $90,000 one week and plus $50,000 the next.
While I was able to submit a budget proposal for 2012 that should not raise the Highway Tax rate which is a separate tax fund from the General Fund, my warnings not to use the Highway PILOT Funds for General Fund expenses will force a significant shortfall in the next budget (2013) with no cushion in 2012 for unexpected occurrences.
It appears the Town Board has used most of the Highway Fund Balance leaving us in a unacceptable cash position for 2012 and beyond.
The Town Board should take responsibility for the money they needed to fund their spending in Town Hall and to stop taking Highway PILOT Funds to pay these expenses. Now I do not have funds needed to address added expenses of increased health, pension and contract costs expected and forecasted by the State Comptroller.
My department provides critical services to the developments appearing all over town. Many receive tax breaks from the county, and we receive no direct tax revenue to provide those services. Instead we rely on PILOT (Payments in lieu of taxes)money to provide services and plan for our future which had included building a long needed addition to our garage. It appears that plan is gone because the money to build it was taken from us.
N.G. Highway Superintendent