Press-Republican

Opinion

November 29, 2012

Letters to the Editor: Nov. 29, 2012

$6 million explained

TO THE EDITOR: Recently, residents of the Town of Plattsburgh have been regaled with stories citing the presence of a $6 million surplus within the Town of Plattsburgh coffers.

Demands have been made by some that this money be swept from various funds and distributed to the taxpayers.

I want to take this opportunity to set the record straight. Initially, members of the Town Council took the position that by encouraging citizens to attend actual budget meetings between board members and department heads those attending would learn the hard truths of crafting budgets in today’s economic environment. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Instead of studying the facts and coming to understand the consequences of knee-jerk solutions, some persist with their demand even when it is pointed out that such disbursements would be illegal.

The bulk of the $6 million lies in special-district funds, which can only be applied to projects specific to those accounts, such as Water, Sewer, Groundwater and Lighting districts. The town is barred by law from mixing those funds with general-fund revenues.

Finally, in this misguided rush to access these funds, these individuals ignore the fact that the Town of Plattsburgh has more than $800 million of infrastructure. About half of that has been depreciated. That statistic indicates that $400 million of that infrastructure, while in place, has exceeded its life expectancy.

When one compares $6 million on hand with $400 million in emerging replacement needs, the $6 million doesn’t seem very large. It is vital that these funds remain targeted for future capital projects.

The Town Council should not compound these problems by “kicking the can down the road.” We are still digging our town out of the consequences of that mentality.

MARTY MANNIX

Deputy supervisor

Town of Plattsburgh

 

School accountability

TO THE EDITOR: Plattsburgh School District and board need input, transparency, communication, accountability, financial sustainability and bold leadership.   

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