To the Editor:
Clarity is needed regarding Elizabethtown’s sidewalk situation. That and truth.
A town “balance sheet“ is simply a monthly snapshot of a particular fund, such as the General Fund or Highway Fund.
The Sidewalk District balance sheet is comprised of assets, liabilities, and equity, which is cash, debt, and fund balance.
Ex-Supervisor Bartley said the Sidewalk balance sheet showed $47,000 in early 2014 and declared it sufficient for projects. However, the current years maintenance costs must be paid from this fund. That’s plowing, sanding, salt, fuel, employees (pay & taxes ), perhaps equipment, and any unforeseen expense. It’s difficult to know how much will be needed, or how much will be left.
Bartley stated the highway dept. was too busy during 2012-2013 to do sidewalk replacement, but they don’t do that type of work. It’s contracted out to private companies via a bidding process and it‘s the responsibility of the Supervisor and the Board, not the highway dept.
Bartley states that the Sidewalk tax for 2013 was $19,980, but the tax warrant shows it was $20,850. The $19,980 is the appropriation ( budget amount ) for 2014.
She then reduced the 2014 tax to $2,980, to pay for a $19,980 appropriation. Bartley claims the town board decided this, but I don’t recall any such discussion.
Sidewalk replacement is expensive and borrowing for it will make it more expensive, so the taxpayer cost is now higher. Reducing the Sidewalk tax by 86 percent and therefore depleting fund balance by $17,870 was a mistake. A mistake the new board must now deal with.
Unfortunately there’s worse. For example, the illegal swap of a town road, which became Bartley’s private driveway, on Dec. 27, 2013, in a 9:30 AM meeting. It violated NYS Conflict of Interest Law.