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What is the deficit, anyway?

Sheehan said there will be another infusion tax from the private partnership with the landfill as there may possibly a large upfront payment to the town but said there is no proper financial management system in place to place the money where it needs to go.

She used the one-shot $5.6 million tax that was used to help pay off the town's deficit, which ended up paying the town's operating costs. This is something she said the town cannot afford as it did not put itself on the path of increasing revenues.

"We haven't addressed the fact that we don't have the proper financial controls in place," she said. "We'll get more money but without any real financial leadership we're in trouble of it going into a black hole."

Mahan said in August of 2009 that the town's deficit had been reduced to $10.8 million from its high in January 2008 of 19.7 million. As of December 31, 2009, Town Deputy Comptroller Chris Kelsey said the deficit stood at $16 million. When Mahan was asked as to what happened between August and December of 2009 and what the current deficit total is, Jean Donovan, assistant to the supervisor, said the town's financial situation is constantly fluctuating and released this statement to the Spotlight:

The August 2009 financial projection was accurate at the time it was made.

Between 2009 and present the amount of the deficit has fluctuated due to the economic downturn. During this period the general fund deficit ranged between $8.3 million and $10.4 million. This was due to a loss of revenue beyond our control from a reduction in sales and mortgage taxes received by the Town, along with increase in costs for personnel related items. Due to State mandates the Town pension cost alone increased 38% in 2010.

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