Monday, November 9, 2009

Town of Olive Budget Badly Managed

It doesn't seem strange to Democrats that on the one hand their media, the New York Times and the like, have been announcing deflation while the Democrats raise taxes by 6%. Does it seem illogical to Democrats that taxes are going up when they are claiming that prices are going down? I guess not. Democrats are able to have prices going up and down at the same time. They are the Alice-in-Wonderland Party.

A correspondent attended the Town of Olive budget meeting. The Town officials here are wasters who have trouble answering questions and become insulting toward anyone who asks. In a town of about 4,500 people the Town is holding a near-million dollar bank account, rumor has it to build an un-needed office building. When people ask questions, the goosestepping socialists-in-power insult them.

My correspondent writes about the Budget meeting:

>...the Budget hearing the other night was a joke. There were the usual attendees - and a few people that seemed to be there as support to Berndt and company. Rita Vanacore was there - Donnie Van Buren was there - no press - and, oh yes - Linda Burkhardt's husband was there filling in for Linda... That's another joke...

Anyway, they shaved off about $100,000 from the original amount to be raised by taxes. Some of the area they used to do this were areas that they had capital reserves and could pull from them to offset any suspected deficit during the year. $20,000 here and $10,000 there -

They reduced some of the items they had high-dollared before - knowing it would be less actual cost - but still left a substantial amount that will likely be a cushion when all is said and done. They continued to undercut the expected revenues.

Berndt (Town Supervisor) is of a mind that by creating the unexpended balance, he can reduce the amount to be raised by taxes, without it creating too much of a stir each year. Few, if any, come and see what's happening. Even Berndt can't seem to see his own folly in doing things this way. If the budget numbers weren't inflated, there would be no need to raise the higher amounts. If things were more realistic, the amount to be raised by taxes would be the same whether you have the unexpended balance or you don't - he just can't seem to grasp that. What really bothered me was the Contingency account. They have allocated $75,000 to this fund - and 2008's balance was showing zero. So I asked what amount had been allocated to this account in past years - and was told it's always been $75,000... I'll have to look at some of my preliminary budgets - I still have them from when I was on the board... That amount conveniently disappears each year - what a slush fund that is...

I also have the percentages that each area has increased over last year. General Fund, Highway Fund, Fire District, etc. Overall, the amount that our taxes are going up will be 6.2%. There seems little chance of that changing at this point.

Bruce (Town Board) got quite impolite with Rita at one point during the evening... "I explain this again - what don't you understand about this?" He was rude and very demeaning to her query about the unexpended balance and how it works. She persisted and said that 11% of the budget is a large unexpended balance - and she would prefer to see much less - to which Berndt responded that "okay, so next year, when I come to you with only $75,000 in unexpended balance and have to raise your taxes even higher, you won't be so happy." and Rita responded back by saying that "she would rather have her money now than to be giving extra to the town."

Of course, there was no press at this meeting*...It infuriates me that this does not get out.

Then Berndt closed the public hearing for the night - and they started going over the bills and signing off on payroll. Sylvia passed out the minutes from the last meeting - and it was obvious that they were having their Audit Meeting. I believe that Berndt actually "announced" it as such just in passing - but nothing was brought up for discussion - and when all had finished doing that little chore, they closed that meeting and thanked everyone for coming. We were driving home at 8:32. So an hour. And not all of that for the budget.

It's amazing how asleep this town is. And it's a wonder why more people don't care. I don't understand it - and it truly makes me wonder why I bother to care so much.

Anyway - thought you would like to know a little more about what happened the other night.

*I'm not sure that our little local newspaper that comes for free in our mailboxes every two weeks is really "press". The writers are local hippies and housewives, at least one of whom is related to a Town official.

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