Letters to the Editor September 22
We take North East’s finances very seriously
In last week’s edition of the paper, you reported on questions that were raised in a political context during the recent Town Board meeting.
I feel compelled to let you and your readers know that, as town supervisor, I take the management of the town’s finances very seriously. It is an integral part of the supervisor’s job, being the chief fiscal officer of the town. Much care and attention is personally given to this matter by me. Here are some examples of the regular reporting that is made to the board and the public.
Each month the Town Board members receive a complete operating statement of all town funds, covering expenditures and revenues received through the preceding month. This report is made part of the meeting record and is on file with the town clerk. Any major purchases are brought to the Town Board meeting for approval before being made. As important revenues are received, I inform the board members about them at our business meeting and provide an overview of the trend of those receipts.
Each fall, as supervisor, I employ my skills and experience to draft a tentative budget to meet the needs of a modern operation, keep taxes under control and balance the budget. This has become increasingly important with the state’s tax cap now being imposed.
From there the Town Board and I are jointly involved in the annual budget development. Together, we spend many hours in reviewing past operating expenses and revenues and finalizing a preliminary budget for public hearing. All board meetings and workshops are public, with notices posted and announced to the press and local radio media.
Unlike past supervisors, I have established that the town’s financial records be given an independent review by a qualified accounting firm every year. Each year this includes preparation of the Annual Update Document that is filed with the New York state comptroller’s office and the town clerk’s office. It provides an exhaustive summary of all financial activity of the town and is used by the state to check on the town’s financial health. Town Board members are each provided a full copy of the document. The town clerk publishes public notice that the report is on file and available for public inspection in that office.
Additionally, each year the accountants perform a review of the cash books of town departments that receive and deposit public money. That includes the town clerk, receiver of taxes and the justice courts. Those reports are received and accepted by the town board in public meeting and filed with the town clerk.
Lastly, any inquiries from Town Board members have been addressed by me or the bookkeeper in a timely manner. I strive to keep the public and Town Board members well informed at meetings and through the press. I believe in maintaining a good working relationship with the members of the Town Board, despite any differences that may occasionally occur.
I hope that this information will provide you and your readers with a better understanding of how our town conducts the public’s business.
North East town supervisor
On Sunday, Sept. 18, the Amenia Fire Company returned with our first pancake breakfast of the season. We were happy to serve 205 people. We rely on the breakfasts to raise much-needed money for general operations and we always appreciate the support of the community.
Thanks to all who attended our meal, and we hope to see you all again for our next one on Sunday, Oct. 16.
on behalf of the breakfast committee, Amenia Fire Company & Ladies Auxiliary
Finding the best candidates
The town election is just around the corner. I went to the Democratic caucus, read letters in the newspaper and have talked to many people. This has prompted me to write this letter.
I am a lifetime resident of North East and I’ve been a registered Democrat for 55 years. I was the town tax collector for 22 years (11 elections). During this time, I spent many hours taking other candidates door to door meeting people because they were on the same Democratic ballot as me. This gave the voters a choice.
This year’s caucus was by far the worst I have ever attended. I must say that it was well prepared for by a certain few who were on a mission to take away the voters’ choice.
Last year, a Republican’s name was brought up for councilman. The group immediately spoke up, “We will not endorse a Republican when we have one of our own to put on the ballot,” was the consensus.
What happened in a year? We had a candidate who was qualified and ready to run, but, 38 people chose to endorse the Republican candidate who was already on two other lines. If this was their choice, couldn’t they pull the Republican or Independent lever?
I was very upset when I had to listen to the two composed letters, which were composed in advance of the caucus, not during it.
Also, Anne Veteran made a comment about John Merwin being on the Independent line with Dave McGhee because John was not backing the Democratic Party. What did you do but put a Republican at the top of our Democratic ballot? So what is the difference?
I have no problem backing another party’s candidate if we didn’t have one of our own willing to be on the Democratic ballot. When we do have a candidate willing to run, we should stand behind him.
In closing, voters, you will have a choice. John Merwin will be on North East United line if you choose to give him your support.
Come November elections
“An election is a formal decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold office.”
An election, by its very definition, requires a choice, and removing the element of choice effectively disenfranchises that population.
Residents of the town of North East will notice in November that the two major parties are supporting the same candidate for town supervisor. At the recent Democratic caucus, the Democrats decided to endorse the incumbent Republican candidate for town supervisor, rather than a viable Democratic candidate who had come forward seeking their support.
The small number of registered Democrats present at the caucus took it upon themselves to deny the population of North East a choice by supporting the other party’s candidate, effectively disenfranchising the entire population of this town. As a lifelong Democrat, I was extremely disappointed with this outcome.
Suffrage describes not only the legal right to vote, but also whether a question will be put to a vote. The utility of suffrage is reduced when elected or unelected representatives make important decisions unilaterally. Certainly, the value of this constitutionally protected right was undermined and underappreciated when Democrats chose to deny this town a choice.
The intent of the Democratic Party to subvert our election process did not deter this tenacious candidate from getting his name on the ballot. In an effort to preserve the integrity of our election process and the value of our right to choose our elected officials, this candidate’s name will appear on an Independent line. Voters in the town of North East will have a choice when they go to the polls in November.
While it was an affront to this population for the Democrats to attempt to deny the voters of this town a choice, it will be an even greater travesty if the population does not now rise up and take advantage of the fact that they do have a choice.
Consider the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson before you decide whether to exercise your right to vote this fall: “Those who stay away from the election think that one vote will do no good; ‘tis but one step more to think one vote will do no harm.”