Barbara Kerr said: (Editor’s Note: Kerr did not select one of the four options given) After reviewing four years of Town Budgets (2014, 2015, 2016 & 2017) with Matt Horton CPA at the State Controller’s Office and speaking to a representative at the auditing firm EFPR Group last week we still have no firm numbers on any shortfall in Milton’s budget. EFPR was hired by the Town to review the budgets that are in question.
There was clearly a clerical error in the budgets over the last three years. During the budget process, the Controller enters the numbers in the Tentative budget and the Budget Officer reviews the numbers and presents it to the Town Board. The Board relies on these numbers to produce a balanced budget. That error was not found by anyone involved in this process. As of this writing anyone that speculates on numbers or shortfalls would be totally disingenuous.
When the Board is presented with the audit and final numbers from EFPR Group we will do the job we were elected to do and resolve the problem. If I can speak for the Board I’m sure this will be an open process so that all questions can be addressed and the taxpayers can be completely informed.
Scott Ostrander said: Upon my taking office in March I went and spoke to the head of each department, each person told me to look at the budget, upon me doing so there were obvious issues such as unaccounted for employee raises, misapplication of sales tax and underfunded accounts. Upon seeing the potential budget crisis ahead I went to the New York State Comptrollers Office and met with them for hours. I requested a full audit of the books. The current budget has a potential 1.2 million dollar deficit.
The steps I believe we need to take to resolve this budget issue and prevent further budget issues are: 1. Implementing the recommendation of the NYS Comptrollers Office from the 2015 audit, these recommendations have been ignored by the current Town Board and Supervisor. 2. Monthly reviews of the budget by the Town Board. 3. Hiring of a certified CPA to manage the Town’s books. 4. More transparency of the budget process and holding multiple public meetings of the budget committee. 5. I call for a full forensic audit of the finances of the Town of Milton.
These 5 points are just a start to making the budget strong. Upon my taking Office I became involved in the interview committee with Frank Blaisdell, in that committee I am proud to say we found a qualified, certified CPA and she has been working hard to make the books right!
I believe the Town of Milton should have low taxes or even no taxes if possible, that is achieved by increasing our sales tax revenues. I want to be a driving force in obtaining more businesses to the Town Center, and to help our current businesses succeed. I would like to showcase our wonderful Town Center and make it a desirable place for businesses to operate. I also would like to see development in the Route 50 area wherever there are spaces available. As Town Supervisor I would like to work with business associations and owners to make our Town a hot spot for business while keeping our small town feel. Increasing our sales tax revenue will decrease property taxes. I believe this can occur by 1. Making Town Center desirable to businesses 2. Seeking grants to assist businesses to either improve their store fronts or expand and 3. Working with business owners and associations and having a dialogue on what they believe it takes to succeed.
Lastly, I am not a Politician, I am a lifelong public servant and lifelong resident that cares deeply about the Town of Milton. I have been a Police Officer for almost 30 years, have served as PBA President, Vice President and Treasurer. Also, I am the owner of a small business. My opponent Barbara Kerr has been on the Town Board for 6 years and has taken no accountability for the issues with the budget. Ms. Kerr was on the budget committee that failed to properly oversee the budget along with Supervisor Lewza and the former comptroller, this committee pushed a budget along to spite multiple warnings from department heads and employees that errors were made. This critical error has serious ramifications for the Town. Her lack of responsiveness to this budget issue alarms me. Ms. Kerr says “experience matters”, but is this the experience Milton needs?
As Town Supervisor I will be leading by example, and will be holding myself accountable. The future of our Town depends on it.
Election day is Tuesday, Sept. 12 and your chance to vote towards new leadership in the Town of Milton between the endorsed candidate Scott Ostrander and long serving town councilwoman Barbara Kerr.