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The other side of the sidewalk issue

To the Editor:

In a recent Valley News letter, Mr Fenimore criticized me for using the existing dedicated Sidewalk District fund balance to reduce taxes in 2014. It is a shame that Mr. Fenimore and his brother-in-law, the current Town Supervisor Noel Merrihew, don’t know how to read the Town’s financial balance sheet, which the Town Board approves each month.

The March 31, 2014 balance sheet (clip shown below), produced by Mr. Merrihew for the Town Board, shows the Town had $47,445.74 available for the Sidewalk District. Not $2,000 as Mr. Fenimore is claiming. I don’t believe in increasing taxes on residents when the Town has sufficient funds available for town projects. Only part of the $19,980 raised by sidewalk taxes in 2013 was spent taking care of the sidewalks. This was because the Highway Department, which does most of the sidewalk work, spent much of the summer repairing Hurricane Mt. Lane, and other roads damaged by the June 27, 2013 flood. As a result, they were unable to complete work such as sidewalk repairs.

Since there was unspent money left in the dedicated Sidewalk Fund from 2013, the Town Board decided there was no need to raise as much tax money from the residents of the Sidewalk District in 2014, as had been raised in previous years.

I am proud of the fact that for the two years as Town Supervisor, we were able to keep the 2013 & 2014 Town Budgets under the State mandated tax cap. We were able to do so by not raising taxes in Special District Funds that had enough money in reserves.

This year, I assume some of the money, which residents of the dedicated Sidewalk District have already paid to the Town ($47,445.74), will be used to repair the town’s sidewalks. Sidewalk money is not part of the Town’s General Fund and Sidewalk money cannot be spent on any other project.

Margaret Bartley

Elizabethtown

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