To the Valley News:
I recently submitted a Freedom of Information Law ( FOIL ) request to the Town of Elizabethtown. I asked for the 2012 year end bank statements and financial balance sheets and operating statements. As I expected, the Town ended 2012 in very good financial shape.
The bank statements show year end balances in the 3 main accounts totaling $930,000, which is quite a lot considering the total Town budget is $1.6 million. While not all of the $930,000 can be considered “ Fund Balance,” the balance sheets show that much of it is, and that hundreds of thousands are in fact “ Fund Balance,” and therefore is surplus cash.
The current Town Board cut funding to organizations like the Library and the Emergency Squad despite having this excess of cash. They also raised your tax levy, therefore your tax bill, by over 5 percent.
The prior Town Board created the 2012 budget, which cut your tax levy by 6 percent, made no cuts to vital services, yet the result was a significant fund balance surplus.
The financial actions of the current Board confuse me. Board members don‘t seem to be aware of how much money they actually have. The Supervisor has publicly claimed to have little fund balance and that the prior Town Board left her short of cash, yet the facts contradict that.
The $155,000 self-inflicted sewer project legal claim against this Board may hurt this fund balance, but since the Board has not discussed this issue publicly in the 8 months it has existed, I don’t have high hope of learning much about the outcome. What happened to the promised transparency?
Ken Fenimore, Elizabethtown