Greg Helsmoortel has beensupervisor for twelve years. Fred Costello and Leeanne Thornton have been on the town council for 8 years. Given their terrible records in office, can Saugerties really afford to give these Democrats another term? The answer is a resounding no.
Town finances under Helsmoortel
When Helsmoortel first took office, the town’s budget (excluding special districts) was $5.8 million. In 2011, it was $10.6 million. Spending has increased an average of 7.3% per year under Helsmoortel.
When Helsmoortel first took office, property taxes were $3.9 million. In 2011, it was $8 million. Property taxes have more than doubled during Helsmoortel’s tenure and the annual increase is four times the rate of inflation.
Since 2008, the Town Board has spent over $800,000 from fund balances. This raiding of the fund balance, which serves as the town’s savings account, is the main reason why Saugerties’ bond rating was lowered earlier this year.
Secret government & bad decisions
Like all political machines, the Democratic town board majority of Helsmoortel, Costello and Thornton operate in the shadows, out of public view. This secret, closed government has led to many mistakes that have hurt Saugerties taxpayers:
Helsmoortel, Costello and Thornton totally botched the suspension of the former police chief, costing taxpayers over $100,000.
The Democratic majority broke a 30-year precedent by providing $18,000 in health coverage for a part-time town justice without a public vote or discussion.
Helsmoortel, Costello and Thornton allowed over $12,000 of town money to be spent on Opus 40 without a Town Board vote. Worse, Helsmoortel later claimed the money came from a fund that doesn’t exist.
Conclusion: Saugerties needs change
When you look at the facts, it’s clear that serious change is needed in Saugerties. On Election Day, please vote for Kelly Myers for supervisor and Pam Riggins & Joe Roberti Sr. for town council. Saugerties can’t afford Helsmoortel, Costello and Thornton anymore.
Joe Roberti Jr. is the chairman of the Saugerties Republican Party. His column appears around election time each year. These views do not represent those of the Saugerties Times, and equal space is given to other local parties.