Date Posted:Thursday, April 14, 03:17:34pm Author: Denton Subject: Can't Agree This Time In reply to:
's message, "Last night't BOF meeting" on Wednesday, April 13, 07:03:49pm
I’m in frequent agreement with Alesia on numerous fiscal issues, but not this time. Alesia, I appreciate the update, but not the cope-out: “This is the best we could do, given the unstable environment and lost revenue and new debt service.” The BOF has clearly made an option choice to allow a tax increase and here’s how it has emerged.
(1) The raising of the collection rate twice this year, first from 96% to 96.5%, served as a partial solution to mitigate the budget increase. Raising it to 97.5% this week still does not reflect the actual rate of collection. To simplify, the BOF has had a collection rate well below the actual and still does at 97.5%. This masks the real increases in each subsequent budget year by using a taxpayer provided surplus (over taxation) in the following year to mitigate the actual increase in the budget. The current 2010-11 budget brought forward a $355,733 surplus and next year’s proposed budget will bring forward $144,979 surplus. The Tax Collector will verify that collections have exceeded 98% for a minimum of the past (10) years.
(2) For years upon years the Reserve Account, as required by the State, has had an excess balance, under the aegis of a declaration that this gives us a better bond rating/bonding rate. This is an incorrect declaration. The amount the Town places into bonding determines our credit rating, among other considerations. With the recognition that the Reserve account also surpasses its requirements, the BOF this year reduced the amount to be retained, and again it was used to reduce the annual budget costs.
I would suggest that the BOF reassess its position on raising our taxes; take away the play between “actual” and “budgeted” collections; take every Board & Commission to task to produce creative solutions to their problems/issues to cut the cost of their operations; and moreover start taking the issue that the financial plight of the taxpayer mandates that - It is no longer business as usual, nor is it going to be the same world as in the past. Without such a change in policy, we all know the outcome of such scenarios when taxes are raised to solve the problem. The encore is to raise them again and again and again.
Alesia, we typically see more eye to eye than this difference of opinion surely reflects, but I can’t sit idly on the sideline and dismiss an increase in taxes when it isn’t warranted.