Richard Hoffmann and I were never against the investigation or purchase of a building for a new Duanesburg town hall. What we are opposed to is the town’s accumulating large surpluses as a result of repeatedly levying more taxes than the budget requires.
Additionally, the town keeps the amount of the surplus pretty much confidential. In the 2018 budget, the town levied $429,124, with a surplus over $900,000. There was no reason to levy any taxes.
The amount of surplus is unofficial, since the supervisor has yet to file the 2016 annual report, which was due in the New York State Comptroller’s office before April 30. Paragraph five of Section 30 of the General Municipal Law states: “It shall be the duty of the incumbent officer at the time such reports are required to be filed with the comptroller to file such a report. The refusal or willful neglect of such officer to file a report as herein prescribed shall be a misdemeanor and subject to the financial officer so refusing or neglecting to a penalty of five dollars per day for each day’s delay beyond the sixty days to be paid on demand of the comptroller.”
This is a poor reflection on the town and further demonstrates the reluctance of the board to account for the residents’ money.
Regularly spending surplus on items not budgeted by simply passing a resolution isn’t a proper method to handle town finances. More than $1 million has been sent this way without most residents even being aware. It’s time for the board to follow the recommendations given to it in 2014 audit by the comptroller’s office. Taxing more than is needed and spending it without citizen oversight is the real issue.
William H. Park
The writer is a former Duanesburg town supervisor.
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Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion