Posted by: Dawn Powell | November 2, 2016

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

Did they already hold the public hearing on overriding the tax cap?

They are already waiving the fees on the parks are rec building?

Isn’t a special session supposed to be a specific thing, and not just SamO’s extra meeting?

Special Town Board Work Session & Public Hearing

Description: Town of Putnam Valley
Special Meeting
November 2nd, 2016

Public Hearing
6PM
2017 Fire Department Budget

Immediately Following the Fire Department Budget Hearing
Public Hearing
2017 Tentative Town Budget

TOWN BOARD SPECIAL MEETING

1. Pledge of Allegiance.
2. Set Public Hearing for Final 2017 Town Budget.
3. Waive Permit Fees for Town Recreation Center.
4. Override of NY Tax Cap of .68%

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE; on November 2nd at 6:00 PM the Putnam Valley Town Board will hold a Public Hearing to hear public comments on the 2016 Preliminary Fire Department Budget.

IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING; on November 2nd the Putnam Valley Town Board will hold a Public Hearing to hear public comments on the 2016 Preliminary Town/Highway and District Budget.

Pursuant to Section 108 of the Town Law, the proposed salaries of the Town Officers are hereby specified as follows:

Supervisor $ 70,366.20
Councilpersons, four@ $ 13,130.00 each
Town Clerk $ 61,578.96
Highway Superintendent $ 88,584.01

IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING the Putnam Valley Town Board will be holding the regularly scheduled Town Board Meeting.


Responses

  1. I got to the meeting a few minutes late, and the Fire Department was giving a report on their proposed new building. When it came time for the assembled populace (there were three people in the room that I think don’t work for the Town – possibly only two, maybe just me) to ask questions or make comments about the budget, I thought they were only talking about the new building, not the FD budget. So I didn’t say anything and then realized I missed it. I had a couple of questions about the budget – maybe someone here knows the answers. I am not suggesting AT ALL that anything is amiss, I just wanted to know what a few line items meant. I’ve never been a firefighter, but I was a member of a Volunteer Ambulance Corps in another Town for a while and spent a lot of overnight shifts sleeping on a fold out couch only to be woken up at 2 am to go out and get vomited on. So I have respect for what they do and I’m making no allegations. I actually was just as interested to see if the Town Board knew the answers themselves – since they were about to approve the amount requested. I’m pretty sure Louie knew the answers. But did the others?

    Here were some of my questions.

    One of the line items was $6000 for meeting refreshments. How many meetings do they have, and what is the average attendance? I was wondering how it breaks down per person per meeting. Is each person getting a twinkie or a lobster?

    There as a line item of $6000 for awards. What sort of awards, given to whom, with what frequency. That’s $500 per month in awards. What is included in that category? Just curious.

    $11,000 was allotted to room rental refunds. I can only guess that this is money they will give back to people who rent their meeting room? Perhaps it’s the refund of deposits? But there are no line items that I could see that show income – this budget was only a list of expenses. So I couldn’t see what income amount there was that then had the $11,000 coming back out of it. Or perhaps I’m totally misunderstanding the whole item.

    They noted $3000 or $3500 being spent on fund-raising. I’m guessing that’s the mailings they do a couple of times a year. I get that – it takes money to raise money. I was just curious how much they typically end up recouping after covering that expense. It’s not a trick question – I was just wondering what their income sources were, since they weren’t all listed. Do they get funds from other sources than the Town? Does the County or State give them any funding? Do they apply for and receive grants?

    As someone with no real connection to the Fire Department, I was just wondering how things work.

    • Seem like good questions to me.

  2. I was there for a minute but got called out and did not come back.

    My question that was never answered was this- how much money exactly do they have in their reserve funds? Every year we are over taxed by quite a bit for money that goes into a slush fund. In this budget they have a line for “new building” but no mention is made of how much is saved from all the other years.

    If you look at their tax forms available on Guidestar you get an inkling. But because I’m not an accountant or tax preparer, I am not sure how much is cash reserves vs. what the value of their equipment is.

  3. Allow me to belabor the point – I’m not suggesting that there is anything inappropriate about the PV Fire Department’s budget. There are a few items I would have liked to ask about, but I’m sure there is no impropriety. However, I am disappointed that our elected Board found the budget to be satisfactory in its present state. I keep hearing about entities needing the Town Board’s oversight to ensure everything is done properly – but the Town Board provides no oversight. The Patterson Town Board said it best when they explained how the Patterson Fire Department Treasurer could have stolen $1 million over the last couple of years. The Town Board approves the amount requested, or not. They don’t approve the budget or the manner in which the entities conduct business.

    • It is the theoretical control and the theoretical representation that is the topic of conversation regarding the library budget. The townsfolk have the option every 2 years to take control of their lives ad their community.

      Both Mahopac and Patterson had criminal problems with their fire department budgets. Putnam County had criminal problems with their Tourism Board. There were irregularities, at least, with Tilly Foster. Vinnie Leibell and friend went to jail. There was criminal activity with petitions a few years ago, not the first time in our town and our county. There have been other incidents, some resolved, some not.

      So the Town Board should be overseeing all of this, very carefully, without regard to the next reelection campaign, and all contractors and departments should be publicly justifying their expenses. The Town Board is not just approving the amount requested. it is their obligation to the taxpayers to know how the entities conduct business before they contract with them. They always have the responsibility. All of these failures have been failures of public officials who were charged with protecting the public. The guy who pleaded guilty in Patterson is not the only guilty party. The people who handed him the tax dollars are also to blame. They were not doing their job.

      The library supporters shouldn’t bury their heads in the sand, and pretend that this never happens. It happens here. It has happened here, and mostly, while it has been happening, we wanted to pretend that it wasn’t happening.

      These are our neighbors. Mostly they are wonderful, contributing, amazing people. But that does not mean we should be complacent about any of this. It is the Town Board’s job to know where every cent they collect is going.

  4. I don’t think anyone is burying their head in the sand. If it is true that the Town Board in Putnam Valley, Town Board in Patterson, County Legislature and Executive all have this responsibility for oversight – I can’t help but wonder why they all – without exception – either claim that they do not, or perform as if they do not. You have said it is their responsibility. They reply or demonstrate, without hesitation, that it is not. I’m not saying you are incorrect – but it does not seem to be the way things are being done.

    Obviously when someone is caught with their hand, arm and toro in the cookie jar, we can understand why everyone else will want to take a step back and say “not my job to watch them.” But even when all is going well, these entities are not providing any oversight. If it is their responsibility to do so, they are not living up to it. If it is not their responsibility, they should make that clear to the voters and not claim that it is – so that the voters don’t mistakenly believe that someone is watching all the balls in the air for them.

    The Town Board I have watched in Putnam Valley claims that we need them to provide oversight to the entities they contract with – but then they provide none. If I’m to decide between a Town Board that I have seen I can’t trust – and a Library Board that I believe I can trust, I’ll choose the latter. And that is the decision I will make on Tuesday. If I am proven wrong, and the Library Board does not perform properly, can not appropriately account for its funds, or shows themselves to be incompetent in the performance of their duties, I’ll be the first to contact the State Attorney General and report my suspicion of improprieties. I would rather face the possibility of having complaints later that can be addressed – than a closed or de-funded library that is dead and gone before anything can be done.

    • Michael- I don’t know what you are talking about. You seem to be speaking out of both sides of your mouth. The current, unelected Library board has been putting out propaganda that is in many instances completely untrue.

      The biggest lie is that if this phony Proposition isn’t passed the Library will shut down when that is not the case at all! In fact, if the Prop is voted down, the Library will get a nice increase in funding courtesy of the taxpayers and the elected town board.

      There is nothing trustworthy about a group of people who lie to their neighbors.

  5. In my mind, the issue of more money for the library is inextricably linked to the issue of an elected library board. After the withdrawal of the 2015 library referendum, Priscilla promised that as regards the next referendum, the funding increase and an elected board would be part of the same package. Well, as you can see, that hasn’t happened. This year’s promise is that an elected board will be proposed at some (unspecified) point in the future (“And our current Board has pledged once again to put this as our first order of business should the 414 pass.”) I don’t believe them for a minute. It is time to hold their feet to the fire. Vote NO on Proposition 1, then have the board present us with a bundled proposition next time around.

    Also, the board has claimed that the library budget can be reduced in the future via democratic means. Their wording: “The amount received can be lowered using the same process – the correct number of signatures are gathered via a petition, presented to the board of the library, the library votes on whether or not to pass a resolution to move the petition to the Board of Elections.”

    Please note that a large number of petition signatures WOULD NOT be sufficient to place such a proposition on the ballot; the proposition would need to be supported by the library board before the public could vote on it. How likely is this to happen? This helps us understand why the current board is so resistant to give way to an elected board.

    Vote NO. Insist on an elected board in conjunction with a funding increase. It must be a package.

    Whistling Willie

    • WW- Excellent.


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