To the editor:
Mr. Kilroy takes exception to my opinion and stated that I misinformed the public.
I disagree and believe it is he who is using smoke and mirrors to obfuscate the effect the consistent drawdown of the fund balance has on the budget.
I actually do understand where the fund balance comes from. Simply put, if we underspend our budget, the surplus goes into the fund balance. If we overspend, the excess must be covered by the fund balance. It helps to smooth out the tax rates year to year when we might have higher-spending years due to special circumstances.
My concern is that we have been consistently reducing the fund balance. In 2006 (the earliest data which Mr. Kilroy supplied to me) the General Fund fund balance was more than $521,000. Now it is just $346,000, a decrease of $175,000. It has gone down by one-third. That's not smoothing the tax levy; that is artificially lowering the tax levy.
And we can't blame the recession; this started at least two years prior to the recession.
The airport budget has similar numbers. In 2006 the fund balance was $463,000; in 2011 it was $315,000, a decrease of $148,000, or 32 percent. Of course, it also helped that we received a refund from the state for overpaid sales tax due to filing errors. The refund covers the most recent three years of misfiling, but according to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, the filing errors go back to 2003. Too bad we could only recoup the three years of overpayments, not eight years.
And if Mr. Kilroy wants to use the argument that the fund balance was too high in 2006 and it needed to be brought down, then I ask, "How did the town board and the budget officer (Mr. Kilroy since 1989) allow it to grow so high at the expense of the taxpayers back then?"