#LetterToTheEditor #YourVoice #SpotlightNews
Jim Franco’s Oct. 31, 2018 Spotlight article did an exceptional job in explaining how the wealthy Town of Colonie government could somehow place itself in a position of violating the New York state property tax cap.
This occurred since Colonie will be implementing a large property tax increase for 2019. Franco illustrates how most of the tax increase comes from higher wages and health insurance costs.
His article then illustrates how the Colonie supervisor claimed that under her direction “sweeping changes” were previously made to four departments including the supervisor’s office, the human resources office, the town attorney’s office and the comptroller’s office. The main cost drivers in the proposed 2019 Colonie budget come from labor related costs under the management of the human resources office and reviewed by the town attorney. Furthermore, the budget process under the direction of the so called “acting comptroller” is flawed as evidenced by the large change in sales taxes that was not found until late in the budget process.
Moreover, one of the larger potential sources of revenue in the budget comes from the Colonie landfill. Unfortunately, not one dollar of additional landfill revenues was reflected in the 2019 budget thus keeping the property tax increase high.
During the tenure of the current Colonie administration some independent entities such as the New York State Comptroller have commented on the poor budgeting practices being used in Colonie. The state comptroller has cited the budgetary problems of revenue shortfalls, over expenditures, and the use of one shot revenues as major concerns. Furthermore, the Standard and Poor’s bond rating firm indicated that Colonie had “weak management” and “weak budgetary flexibility” in a report issued in 2018.
Unfortunately, the tax payers in Colonie are stuck with weak managers and a poor budget process — and now a higher property tax bill.
Kevin M. Bronner, Ph.D.