Blogs > Saratogian Newsroom

The Saratogian Newsroom blog, complete with thoughts and commentary from our newsroom staff and regular posts on happenings around town.

Friday, December 10

T.G.I.F. - City union hearing went late, and Cuomo paid no state property taxes

Good morning and happy Friday!

Got a text last night around 6 from Deputy Mayor Shauna Sutton indicating that both she and the Mayor were still in Albany for yesterday's hearing with public safety unions on health insurance consolidation. More on how things went there later today.

Unfortunately, due to the limits of the equipment here in the newsroom, my first attempt last night to post the city budget documents I've been referring to did not work out as planned. Look for them here by the end of today.

Gov. Paterson said every state OTB could potentially close. [Srtgn]

The Beaver Pond Village subdivision in Geyser Crest is closer to final approval. [Srtgn]

Troy Mayor Harry Tutunjian vetoed the budget passed by the city council Wednesday afternoon, citing the reduction of the contingency fund. They will vote to override. [Record]

Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo is caught in his first neo-scandal after documents show he does not pay property taxes on a Mount Kisco home he shares with girlfriend Sandra Lee. [CapCon]

Resigned State Commission on Public Integrity Chairman Michael Cherkasky said the agency did not have the tools needed to police state officials. [TU]

A bathroom in a building near Aqueduct may have been the worst lavatory in the state. [NYT]

Rent is 2 Damn High party candidate Jimmy McMillan is taking his show on the road. He will perform his musical stylings next week. [NYO]

3 Comments:

Blogger NOW. HERE. THIS. said...

Patrick-

As always your multi-tasking and minute-by-minute updates are appreciated.

BUT... do not lead your readers to confuse the seamy "Aqueduct Avenue" with the seamy "Aqueduct Racetrack." One is in the faded glory of Queens, the other is in the faded glory of the Bronx.

They're separated by 20 miles of fearful navigation, not for the faint of heart.

-Kyle York
Ex-NYC Cabbie

December 10, 2010 at 12:17 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We do not believe that most taxpayers know that the recently adopted 2011 City budget includes "new" titles that will cost approximately $270,000 next year and more the in 2012.

Here are the particulars.

NEW TITLES TO COST $269,000 + BENEFITS

THE IVINS BUDGET MESSAGE MAKED NO REFERENCE TO THE SEVERAL “NEW” TITLES FOUND IN THE THEN PROPOSED 2011 OPERATING BUDGET.

ANY “NEW” TITLE OR PROPOSED BUDGET AUTHORITY TO FILL PREVIOUSLY VACANT, UNFUNDED POSITIONS SHOULD HAVE BEEN INCLUDED IN THE “BUDGET MESSAGE,” ALONG WITH A DETAILED JUSTIFICATION.

THE UPFRONT IDENTIFICATION OF NEW TITLES WOULD SERVE TO CONTRAST THEIR IMPORTANCE AND COST WITH THOSE THAT ARE PROPOSED TO BE ELIMINATED AND PROMOTE A POLICY DISCUSSION ON SERVICE PRIORITIES.

THE “NEW” TITLES TO BE CREATED AND CURRENTLY VACANT, UNFUNDED POSITIONS PROPOSED TO BE FILLED WITH THE ADOPTION OF THE 2011 BUDGET ARE PRESENTED BELOW BY DEPARTMENT AND COST.

FINANCE

PRINCIPLE ACCOUNT CLERK $44,009 + BENEFITS

MAYOR

HUMAN RESOURCES AD. (9 MONTHS) $48,617 + BENEFITS

ACCOUNT CLERK (PHONE SYSTEM) $30,433 + BENEFITS

BUILDING INSPECTOR (9 MONTHS) $56,096 + BENEFITS

PROGRAM COORDINATOR (REC.) $33,757 + BENEFITS

SUPERVISOR (INDOOR REC.) $31,810 + BENEFITS

PUBLIC SAFETY

CLERK PT (POLICE) $20,858 + BENEFITS

ACCOUNTS

SENIOR ACCOUNTS CLERK $32,653 + BENEFITS

TOTAL ALL “NEW” TITLES $268,844 + BENEFITS

WHILE SOME OF THESE “NEW” TITLES MAY HAVE BEEN REQUESTED TO REPLACE OTHER POSITIONS VACATED THROUGH RETIREMENT OR RESIGNATION, ABSOLUTELY NO ATTEMPT HAS BEEN MADE IN THE BUDGET MESSAGE TO JUSTIFY THEM.

ASSUMING A 30% BENEFIT RATE, THE TOTAL BUDGET IMPACT OF THESE “NEW” EMPLOYEES WOULD BE NEARLY $350,000 ANNUALLY.

THE FINACE COMMISSIONER’S REQUEST TO SPEND $350,000 NEXT YEAR TO FILL THESE TITLES BEGS SEVERAL QUESTIONS.

• WHY HAVE THEY NOT BEEN REFERENCED IN THE BUDGET MESSAGE? ONLY A LINE-BY-LINE REVIEW OF THE PROPOSED OPERATING BUDGET REVEALS THEM.
• WHY IS THERE NO JUSTIFICATION OF OR STATEMENT OF NEED FOR THESE NEW POSITIONS?
• WHY ARE THESE “NEW” TITLES MORE ESSENTIAL FOR THE OPERATION OF CITY GOVERNMENT AND THE PROVISION OF PUBLIC SERVICES THEN CENTRAL DISPATACH?
• CAN ANY OF THEM BE CONSOLIDATED: FOR EXAMPLE, PAYROLL AND HEALTH INSURANCE ADMINISTRATION WITH HUMAN RESOURCES?
• THE MAYOR’S OFFICE REASSIGNED THE HUMAN RESOURCES FUNCTION TO THE CITY ATTORNEY IN 2009. IF THE TITLE IS FILLED WILL THE CITY ATTORNEY’S BUDGET BE REDUCED PERPORTIONATELY?
• WHY WHERE TITLES UNFUNDED IN THE 2010 BUDGET RESTORED (FOR EXAMPLE, THE HELP DESK TECH)?
• THE PUBLIC HAS BEEN TOLD TIME AND TIME AGAIN THAT OVER 80% OF THE OPERATING BUDGET IS PERSONNEL COST SO WHEN THERE ARE OPPORTUNITIES TO REDUCE THOSE COSTS THROUGH ATTRITION WHY ARE NEW POSITIONS BEING CREATED?


ALL OF THESE QUESTIONS AND THOSE PRESENTED IN THE TASK FORCE’S OCTOBER 19 NARRATIVE ON REVENUES MUST BE ADDRESSED BEFORE THE NEXT PUBLIC HEARING.

THE CITY CHARTER IS CLEAR. “THE COMMISSIONER OF FINANCE SHALL PREPARE A BUDGET MESSAGE IN WRITING THAT SHALL EXPLAIN THE PROPOSED BUDGET BOTH FISCALLY AND PROGRAMMATICALLY.”

THIS AND THE REQUIRED “FINANCIAL PLAN” ARE YET TO BE COMPLETED.

December 10, 2010 at 5:29 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where's the Money?

There still appear to be some modest ($42,500 =/-) “missing “ City revenues. A brief history of these is presented below.

The City Charter is unambiguous: “The proposed Comprehensive Budget submitted to the Council by the Commissioner of Finance … shall begin with a clear general statement of its contents and shall show in detail all estimated income … for the ensuing fiscal year.” (City Charter Title 4.4.4)

And, also at Title 4, for emphasis, Carter law dictates that “The Commissioner of Finance shall provide a detailed estimate of the amount of income from all sources, exclusive of taxes …”

Earlier in this budget review process, a series of questions regarding the status of various revenues in the form of approved state aids that were not included in the 2010 or proposed 2011 Comprehensive Budgets were presented to the City Council. To date the Council, as Budget Committee, has not explained why these revenues are missing.

Subsequently, at a November 15 meeting, the Commissioner of Finance was again asked why these revenues have not been budgeted. No satisfactory explanation was given.

So we ask again: Where is the $22,500 reimbursement for the City’s 2009 Quadricentennial celebration expenditures and the $20,000 reimbursement for the 2010 “Core Area Mobility Impaired Accessibility Program” improvement? The Quadricentennial award was made by NYSDEC from the State Environmental Protection Fund and the “Spot Improvement Program” grant was awarded by CDTC from federal highway funds made available to the Region.

On August 3, 2009, the deputy Commissioner of Finance was by memorandum provided with a copy of the Quadricentennial Grant Contract and the corresponding Administrative Guidelines and State Aid Voucher. By December of 2009 Finance had still failed to submit the required reimbursement request despite having been advised of the procedural process five months earlier. Finally, earlier in 2010, an Accounts department staff member completed the reimbursement request.

On November 29, Public Works affirmed that all the reimbursement documentation for the “Spot Improvement Program” project has been completed. This in spite of the Commissioner of Finance’s November 15 disavowal of any knowledge of the reimbursement request.

These revenues have never been shown as a line item in the budget. On numerous occasions the mayor’s office was advised, in writing, of the necessity to budget these revenues. Neither the mayor nor Finance met that Charter obligation. These monies must be accounted for as required by Charter law.

Here are the questions to be addressed:

• Why have these revenues NOT been given specific lines in the Revenue Budget?
• Have these revenues been received?
• If yes, did the Council amend the budget to receive them?
• If not, why not?
• If the revenues have not yet been received why are they not budgeted for 2011?
Why, as requested on several occasions, did the mayor’s office not include them

December 11, 2010 at 10:52 AM 

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home