Published On: Tue, May 21st, 2019

So…

..I recently FOILed the 2018 Annual Update Document (AUD) which is required to be filed in the NYS Comptroller's office by May 1 each year.

The document is a summary of expenses and revenues for the previous year (in this case 2018). While it is unaudited, it is a good indicator of what one might expect to see the 2018 audited financials when they are disclosed.

Upon receipt of the FOILed AUD, I started to review each fund. Several things caught my eye, but one in particular is very peculiar and doesn't really require a rocket scientist to realize that something is askew.

I tried asking the supervisor for an explanation, but he was unable to answer my question.  I replied to him that I would FOIL the information through the town clerk and figure it out for myself.

So, I submitted a FOIL request to try to get to the root of the problem. The requested documentation was supposed to be made available no later than May 17th; however, last Thursday, the town clerk said the documentation would probably not be made available until Tuesday or Wednesday of this week because they were busy working on the 2018 audited statements.  When asked today, the town clerk said she is still trying to get the documentation for me...she didn't have a specific time-frame for providing the requested documents.

UPDATE...The 2018 audited financials must be finished...or the pipeline from my blog to town offices is alive and well because I received the FOILed documents via email first thing this morning!

Hmm...I only asked for copies of the last two years of general ledgers for each of the fire protection districts along with the year-end bank statements for the districts. I also asked for the April 2019 month-end bank statement(s).  Should be readily available information; I would think it would be a matter of running a report since the town's records are computerized.

My reason for asking questions is that it appears that the five (5) fire protection districts which are reported in the AUD as one combined fund was actually reported as being in a negative balance at the end of 2018.   Since the fire protection districts are combined as one fund in the report, it is impossible to discern which district(s) might be the reason for the negative balance.

Anyway, it is odd to have a negative balance in a fund where tax dollars are collected and disbursed to each individual fire protection provider in accordance to an annual negotiated contract.   The town board knows the exact contracted price for each fire protection district when the annual budget is adopted each year so they know exactly how much needs to be collected from taxpayers to cover the contract.

It is particularly difficult to believe that the combined fire protection district 2018 year-end fund balance could be negative particularly since the monies that were budgeted and collected from taxpayers in Fire District 1 & 2 to pay down BAN principal in 2018 was never used to pay down the BAN and also since the taxpayers in the Willowvale Fire Protection District were overcharged for their pension plan.

So,...the question is...where's the rest of the taxpayers' money that was collected for fire protection and never used for the purpose for which it was collected?

I will report as soon as the requested documentation is made available to me.