East Greenbush’s Finances Remain Highly Stressed
Since taking office in 2012, I have attempted to lead the town board majority toward embracing an attitude of fiscal austerity where the town’s budget is concerned, especially in the area of spending. I’ve encouraged a reduction in staffing, where appropriate, and have refused to backfill several positions in the department of public works which, alone, would have saved the town almost a quarter of a million dollars a year; however, as the expression goes, “you can lead a mule to water, but you can’t make it drink.”
These repeated savings could have been applied toward reducing the town’s inter-fund debt of over $2 million, which was incurred prior to my administration. If applied toward the debt, which resulted from faulty fiscal gimmicks years ago, it could have been paid off in approximately half the time that it will now take.
Although I have done my level best to cooperate with the town board majority, my advice on fiscal prudence has apparently fallen on deaf ears as evidenced by the recent reports from numerous fiscal analysts who continue to warn the public of the precarious state of the town’s finances. This includes the town’s current junk-bond status and the danger of bankruptcy.
Indeed, the failed fiscal practices of the past persist by the town board majority which has controlled our budgets for nearly three years. This was underscored by the town’s recent financial audit by the State Comptroller, which found East Greenbush to be significantly stressed.
Currently, I am pushing hard to complete the independent, outside audit that I initiated last year. Unfortunately, because of the poor condition of the town’s fiscal records going back to 2009, the town has had to hire another accounting firm to re-establish correct financial information so that the auditing firm can complete its work for the town.
The residents of East Greenbush deserve the truth about their town’s finances. The willingness of the board majority to distort the true picture is a prime example of how East Greenbush got itself into such dire financial straights in the first place.
~Keith A. Langley, East Greenbush Town Supervisor