Letter: Giving away the store

by Kelly Myers

Thank you Saugerties voters for electing me. The amount of support I received was overwhelming. I will do my best to serve and represent you.

As the year draws to a close and the sitting Town Board ends it’s reign with Helsmoortel as Supervisor, it’s important to notice what’s happening.

This week prior to the Public Hearing on the Town Budget the Town board held another illegal town board meeting. Closed session, no public notice, no reason specified for the meeting, press not notified. I am fed up with this pattern of failure to adhere to NYS Law and am filing a formal complaint with the NYS Committee on Open Government.

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The 2012 Town Budget is stuffed with additional salary enhancements for the Police Department. Police Overtime utilized in 2010 was $31,100. In 2011 Police overtime was budgeted at $175,000. This year they’re asking for $250,000 in overtime. This is OUTRAGEOUS!

Police salary budget line is also padded with a raise for Lieutenant and an additional $125,000 that has not been specified.

Quite by accident I discovered, that the Town Board held an illegal meeting where all members were present to interview a candidate for a new position they are creating –Asst. Police Chief. This position has not been advertised, specific budget provisions have not been made, a vote was not taken to create this position. Only one candidate is being considered. Once again it’s all done in secret.

Hidden in the back pages of the budget is a provision for a Bond Anticipation Note of $512,000. What’s this for? I asked. Apparently the Town needs to borrow a half million to quietly pay off a lawsuit against them. If you look up Bonded Concrete, you will discover a 13 year history of lawsuits. Wow.

This is not how government should function.

I’ve been criticized for asking that the Supervisor’s position be designated full time and compensated fairly. The current Town Supervisor makes 4 grand less than the dog catcher. I don’t need the $18,000 family health insurance package. A fulltime position with fair salary could be accomplished by a health insurance buy out – at no additional cost to taxpayers.

This week a public meeting was held on the Town’s proposal to involuntarily designate OPUS 40 as an historical site. This designation is against the property owners wishes and also against the wishes of the new not- for- profit that is responsible to protect, preserve and market the site. This designation will place an undue hardship on the owners, significantly restrict site use, and may set the Town up for a future lawsuit for interfering with property owners rights.

With the elections over and holidays coming most of us turn our thoughts to good cheer, friends, faith and family. This time of year the public is distracted and less likely to pay attention to what local government is doing. Well, they’re giving away the store… please pay attention and watch carefully.

There are 3 comments

  1. Bruce Leighton

    Kelly, these meetings you speak of were all annonced at the last board meeting, because thats when I put meetings on my calendar. Nothing illegal I assure you. Read the minutes for pete’s sake! The Freeman even called and asked what was being covered at the upcoming meetings. Ask Jim Bruno if you dont choose to beleive me!

    The $500,000 once again was for the law suit that bonded concrete won against the Town. A previous Town Board tried to stop Bonded from coming into Saugerties, the Court ruled in favor of them. You see Kelly, this is what happenes when the Town Board goes against the planning board or the building dept.and illegally tries to stop a project that meets the zoning laws. Kind of like the Larry Regan Project in Glasco if you get my drift. That law suit however would wind up on your desk.

    As far as Police Overtime, the figure is higher to cover policing for the different events and festivals through out the Summer. Some is reimbursed and some will just remain in that line if not used. You see, we are audited by the State, in fact the audit was just completed. Your criticizing the Town Board for something you obviously know nothing about, other wise you would not be sounding off like this. You still fail to mention the fact that we approved a flat budget for the second year in a row. When are you going to stop campaigning? You already won!

  2. Ralf Tollkuehn

    neither here or there…. asking for a raise NO MATTER for what reason directly after being elected is very disappointing. I am sure the salary and benefits of the position was clear BEFORE the election.

    I kinda feel like I flushed my vote down the toilet

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