LOST AND FOUND | June 7, 2008

Like it or not, our Village is in the Credit business!

Residents are given 30 days to pay their tax bills, water bills, garage rent and sometimes even court fines.  Less clear-cut however, are the pass-through professional fees which accompany most every application before our Zoning Board, Planning Board, and Architectural Review Board.  These transactions involve monies paid by the Village to lawyers, engineers, environmentalists, planners and other consultants, mostly during review of subdivisions and building permit applications.

These sums are supposed to be reimbursed to the Village by the various applicants seeking project review.  But, there has been a significant lag time between the consultant’s analysis . . . his subsequent invoice to the Village . . . the Village’s billing to the applicant . . .and finally the applicant’s actual payment!

Our previous Budget Officer or C.F.O., meticulously audited our Village’s budgeted line items down to miniscule expenses.  However, for some reason, he seems to have overlooked the aging of accounts receivable.  During his tenure, delinquencies grew to over $150,000. yet no meaningful measures were implemented to collect these “overdues”.

Gratefully, Trustee Charlotte Worthy together with our current Budget Officer, Larry Darby, promptly initiated a program to chase those delinquent debtors and seek the reimbursements due. Significant monies have now been recouped, but other accounts have become so old that payment appears doubtful.

Since the Village has already “made whole” each and every consultant, any uncollected applicants’ fees are 100% subsidized by our own tax dollars.

Ms. Worthy, Mr. Darby and Mr. Ledwith have refined both the Village’s billing system and collection procedures to minimize bad debts going forward.  Going back is tougher, but we acclaim their resolve to recover as much as is practically feasible.

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