The following letter from Joel Gingold appears in the 4/5/18 edition of THE GAZETTE. It is re-printed here with permission.
the Editor, We
are used to hypocrisy from our federal and state politicians, but Washington
and Albany have nothing on our own Democratic Village Board.
last fall’s campaign, candidates Pugh, Horowitz, and Attias manufactured a huge
issue over the Croton United Board’s one-year deferral of the purchase of a
replacement for aging fire truck 118.
they cried! The existing apparatus is
disintegrating before our very eyes!
This is a really, really serious public safety concern!! Our very lives will be in danger until the
new truck arrives!!! We’re doomed!!!! We’re all going to die!!!!! Somebody save us!!!!!! Please!!!!!!!
the 2017-2018 budget adopted by the CU Board, the replacement was to be
purchased in the 2018-2019 fiscal year at a cost of $700K. So, due to the extreme urgency of the
situation, you would have expected that the very, very first thing the new Dem
Board would do was to place an order for the new fire apparatus to save us all
from certain extinction.
is that what happened? Of course
not. The first major expenditure made by
the Dem Board was to purchase a $250K study and design for the ill-advised
Croton Point Avenue Project. Clearly, in
their opinion, and they certainly know better than anyone else in the village,
the CPA project is far, far more vital than replacing the fire truck they
previously insisted would completely collapse as flames were shooting out of
our windows and doors. In the Dems
budget, the replacement has been deferred yet another year, to f.y.
2019-2020. And the cost has ballooned to
$875K. An additional $1.5 million will
be borrowed to be ultimately squandered on Croton Point Avenue.
are only two possible explanations for this.
Either Mr. Pugh, Ms. Horowitz, and Ms. Attias knew that the existing
fire engine, while old, was still serviceable and would clearly be reliable for
another few years, in which case they were totally disingenuous, and, as is the
Dems way, were willing to say anything to get elected. Or, the truck has actually reached the end of
its useful life and is no longer reliable, and we really are all in jeopardy,
but they just don’t care about that.
borrowings next year will blast right through the debt guidelines recommended
by the Financial Sustainability Committee and adopted by CU.
Further, the FSC, having identified serious
financial problems looming in the future, recommended last fall that all future
budgets include 5-year forecasts of revenues, expenditures, debt service, and
capital expenditures, so that these problems can be identified early and
addressed before they do real damage to the village’s fiscal health. However, the Dems’ budget addresses only a
single year, except for the capital projection that, as has been the practice for
decades, extends for several years into the future.
must be that, in addition to knowing what’s best for everyone else, the Board also
believes that it is far better qualified than the financial professionals who
make up the FSC to ensure Croton’s fiscal health. Although, to my knowledge, not one of them
has any expertise whatsoever in finance.
financial wisdom extends to the $44K they propose to spend on cosmetic repairs
to the Gouveia house, when, according to the Dems’ financial analysis used to
justify the acceptance of the Gouveia property, the total cost of renovation
and bringing the house up to ADA standards was just $110K. That’s a lotta work to be done with the
remaining $65K. But they obviously must
know something that escapes the rest of us.
don’t pretend to be a fiscal expert. But
I do know enough to follow the advice of those who are, whether in my business
or personal life. Concern that the Board
has no use for the FSC and just wants it to go away, continues to grow. Then they can merrily spend unlimited sums of
taxpayers’ money on all of their pet projects without fear of
and until, someone finally stands up and says “ENOUGH!”
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