TOWN OF JOHNSTOWN

PUBLIC HEARING FOR 2018 BUDGET
NOVEMBER 6, 2017
Meeting Opened: 6:00 PM

Supervisor Wilson opened the meeting by reading a letter of explanation for tax increases in the 2018 budget.

Fund Balance is comprised of leftover money from prior year’s budget and used to offset taxes. 2013-2016 contained built in deficits and no annual audits were filed so inaccurate figures were used and budget looked balanced on paper. Revenues shown weren’t actual figures.

2018 Budget is $3,286,892.00 which is $86,084.00 or 3% less than 2017 budget. $1,723,000.00 needs to be raised by tax levy for 2018.

There is no missing money, all monies were submitted, but corresponding paperwork was not.

2013-2016 had to be reconstructed from paperwork as computer program was not up to date with figures. Took a year to get things straightened out. Preliminary 2018 budget called for $3.80 per 1,000, but currently down to $2.80 per 1,000.

Salt shed was needed as salt costs $60.00 per ton to buy. BAN was taken out with 5 payments of $40,000.00 plus interest.

Mowing Tractors were required to replace 1992 New Holland and 1998 John Deere. New Tractors have cabs and larger mowers. $223,509.00 for lease to procure, 4 payments of $44,000.00. The Mowing and Snow Plowing contracts with the County will pay for them.

Tim Rizzo applied for and received a $150,000.00 grant to complete the storage area and make Town Hall energy efficient and upgrade IT system.

PILOT Programs: Water Plant

Solar Projects currently one is signed and three more to sign will bring in money to the town.

ANIMAL SHELTER: Jury is still out on efficiency. $30,000.00 grant to build it. Now have agreement with Broadalbin for sharing expenses.

$3.80 is now down to $2.80 and no elected officials will get raises. Highway took money out of their budget of $154,000.00.

Mr. Corbett: When were audits done? Jack Wilson stated one was done when he left and one in 2013. Annual Update Reports (AUD) were filed prior to 2012.

Mr. Sweeney: No employee should get a raise.

Mr. Lynaugh: Town Board responsible for budget, but the bookkeeper is being blamed. Town Board is responsible for passing budget. He urged people to vote for write-in candidate, Jeffrey Persch, to afford more checks and balances to this board. Tax payers were unaware of fund balance depletion until now. Town needs to cut spending, and lay off people if necessary.

Dan Felde: Robbed by Highway Dept. according to 2013 audit there was overpayment of overtime. He has no services where he lives. Mayfield, Ephratah, Broadalbin and Caroga not raising taxes.

Nancy Hulbert: People in hall can’t hear. Why wasn’t meeting held at a larger venue?

Katherine Bradt: 6 Towns in bad shape from same bookkeeper. Who is accountable? Board knew this was going on for 3 years. Members on Board get health insurance. How many people get buyout? Why was contract for dogs not made with Brennan instead of building a shelter? Nancy Hart explained Brennan wouldn’t take our contract as too many dogs.

Kevin Kucel: Question on audits-2013 audit done, but none since then. What about future check/balances? Other people are responsible other than Nancy MacVean and Lita Hillier.

Joe Semione: How long will increase be in effect? Jack Wilson stated there is need for development in the town, but increase will go quite a while.

Jan McLaughlin: If tax is raised people will need low income housing. Has there been a tax audit from outside?

Michael Assaf: What other efforts for combined services are being made? Taxes rise, Property value declines. Consider Bankruptcy and rebuild after. Area not wealthy and people will move out leaving rest in worse shape. 60% tax increase not sustainable. More consolidation is needed on county level. Out sourcing of some things. Jack says consolidation of highways and Law Enforcement agencies should be looked at. Someone questioned having 5 Fire Departments in the town being necessary.

Jan Patrick: Highway took $154,000.00 out of their budget of $1,422,000.00 which amounts to only 10%. He spends money to upgrade his house only to have more costs.

Nancy Hulbert: Asked for cuts to be made. What is final figure? Jack Wilson stated $2.80 per 1,000 is best that can be done.

Tim Rizzo stated biggest problem for town is not having a five year plan in place. This is no financial plan. Tim wants to use $150,000.00 grant to decrease power usage and upgrade Town Hall.

Mike McGrail: Why can’t comptroller’s office audit yearly. Jack Wilson says that is what AUD is for.

Nancy MacVean: Stated AUD’s were turned in when she was Supervisor. Jack Wilson stated they weren’t filed.

Nancy Hulbert: Why wasn’t board on top of this?

Kim Livingstone: Managing the past and not the present. What about Aspen Water issue? Why do we need Town Hall open 5 days a week? Three days would be enough.

Jeff Persch: Would need 21% increase a year from 2009 till now and that amount would be too much for tax payers. Health Insurance should be put out to bid by more companies for a lower price. Jack says insurance was minimal increase.

Karen Langlois: Major Welfare County. Need to decrease welfare and no tax breaks for incoming businesses. Too much property being annexed into Gloversville. Why was $59,000.00 never recouped from Aspen Water District?

Nancy Hulbert: When does budget need to be done? Jack Wilson stated needs to be complete by 11/20/17.

Tim Granger: Has fire companies been decreased? Fire Depts. budgets are $111,000.00 more than last year. Jack Wilson said there should be one Fire District in the town and Fire Depts. need to be consolidated.

One citizen questioned who’s accountable and Jack Wilson stated town board is ultimately responsible.

Another Citizen stated the website is a joke. Town Boards discussions should be on website.

Chris Rizzo: Housing in Hales Mills area is planned. Water/Sewer needed in Meco where housing is being developed by Harnishs. He asked about the tipping fees at Landfill.

Tim Granger: Independent Audit is needed. Jack Wilson stated Bruce Van Genderen is on salary to do. Granger stated a drop in revenues from 2010 till now by $20,000.00. Due to Wal-Mart leaving town? Town Board should have known in 2017. Jack Wilson says severity of situation not known as numbers were bad.

Judy Kane: No town services where she is. Only 3/4 of people present have signed in. Who was bookkeeper? Jack Wilson stated it was Lita Hillier and Nancy Mac Vean was over her. Judy stated Lita should have been charged criminally. She asked if Lita was bonded? Judy also believes Walt Lane and Daryl Baldwin are complicit in problem. Many people will move, businesses won’t come and businesses will leave. She asked if tax increase could be spread over time. Jack Wilson said now currently will be going from 5 years spread out to 8 years.

Mr. Sweeney: Questioned Daryl Baldwin’s accountability?

Cindy Palmer: Is board counting on taxes being paid by 100% of the people? What is contingency on default of taxes? Attorney Everhart stated count re-levy makes town whole.

Citizen: Was there Insurance of liability to cover bookkeeper’s mistakes? Gross negligence!

Jack Wilson said the Town Board has a fiduciary responsibility.

Joe Semione: Board has 2 weeks to lower the budget as the current tax rate is not acceptable.

Citizen: If he were running his club like the Town Board is running the town he would be thrown out. Stop blaming your predecessor.

Teresa Westover: Need to go forward. Hire a financial advisor to live within our means. Need to cut expenses, not raise taxes.

Jack Wilson stated there will be another meeting before regular meeting this month.

Don Van Duesen remarked there were good ideas passed around tonight and no immediate solutions, but agreed town should shop for insurance plans, no raises, and consolidate fire depts.

Doreen Smith: When will board start to work on ideas presented tonight?

Kim Livingstone: How long would it take to file bankruptcy for town?

Citizen remarked town need to ask concessions from anybody, including Fire Depts. who can do it.

Bob: Questioned annexation of property next to cemetery down street from Town Hall into city to get water and was never developed. Town needs to put time limit on building.

Nancy Hulbert: Town people need to come to meeting and hold Board accountable.

Tim Hutchinson: Who is accountable? Board members should be booted, not just the bookkeeper. Nobody is being held accountable.

Citizen: Will we be paying 60% more? People on Social Security can’t afford raise.

Jack Wilson said dump stickers will be going up.

8:05 PM Don Van Duesen made motion to go into executive session for contracts.

2nd: Jack Wilson

Ayes: Jack Wilson, Don Van Duesen, Daryl Baldwin, Tim Rizzo

Walt Lane Absent

8:27 PM Tim Rizzo made motion to go out of executive session.

2nd: Daryl Baldwin

Ayes: Jack Wilson, Don Van Duesen, Daryl Baldwin, Tim Rizzo

Walt Lane Absent

Motion was made by Don Van Duesen to hold Public Hearing on Budget open until next meeting.

2nd: Jack Wilson

Ayes: Jack Wilson, Don Van Duesen, Daryl Baldwin, Tim Rizzo

Walt Lane Absent