Bait and Switch Budget | April 26, 2007
Report from TPFYI member Uli Pendl on the budget meeting and public hearing of April 11 and April 18th, 2007

The public hearing on the “tentative budget” agreed upon by the BOT at its March 21 workshop was scheduled for April 11, 2007. Neither Mayor McFadden nor the “Budget Officer” Deputy Mayor Hansen was present at this most important meeting of the year. However, a rather confusing memorandum with “budget” suggestions was entered into the record at Mr. Hansen’s request. Along with this memo, a new “budget” appeared with a proposed tax increase of 0.8% rather than the 9.1% increase originally proposed in the “tentative budget”. It was impossible for this new “budget” to be either considered or debated, simply because the only valid “budget” for the Public Hearing was that approved by the Trustees at their 3/21 meeting. To debate the alternative version would have been illegal!! As neither of the directly responsible persons (Mayor and Budget officer) were present, nothing much was achieved in the April 11 public hearing.

The agenda for the BOT of April 18th, 2007 was published a few hours before the meeting and allowed for “Discussion regarding the adoption of draft village 07-08 budget” - it did not define whether this was a public hearing, nor did it mention which version of the budget was supposed to be discussed !!

When questioned about which of the two versions was to be discussed, our Budget Officer opined that the original version was really nothing but a departmental “Wish List”!!In our minds this betrays Mr. Hansen’s fundamental misunderstanding of the municipal budget process.

During the long discussion, (apparently including the mayor on an open telephone line, but not contributing to the discussion) many detailed questions were asked of the Budget Officer, but few precise answers were forthcoming. Thanks to the diligence of Trustees Stebbins, Darby and Parker, a workable budget saw the light of day at about 2 AM on April 19th.

We suggest that seriously interested resident tax payers listen to the audio tape or the Minutes of the meeting in question. The tape is available at the village office.

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