Sunday, December 14, 2014

Greece Town Budget & Assessments


Greece Post (12/11/14 pg. A18) ~ "Early on in my administration I realized that in order to hold the line on property taxes in 2015 I had to close a budget gap of over $2.5 million." ~~ Greece Supervisor Bill Reilich

Cited as one of the key components of the 2015 Greece Town budget: "Strong assessment growth of $117 million generates $724,000 of additional revenue without increasing the tax rate."
  

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

How did this budget gap suddenly appear? I don't recall any mention of it during the Auberger administration. Even notice this excuse is used a lot when administrations change. Either the other administration is allowed to hide costs or the other guys make this up. What is Reilich's explanation of this deficit.

SCATS said...

To 12:47PM ~~ Great question! It seems as if he is blaming part of the gap on the previous admin's reliance upon Fund Balances to close gaps in the past. He also makes it sound like Auberger's budget was high maintenance. I'm not sure if it was, or not. All I know is there appears to be no more "Free Lunch" served under the party tent at Town Hall's campus.

Anonymous said...

I looked at Augies last budget (2014) and it had a 5.3 million dollar short fall! Meaning it spent 5.3M more than it took in. The 5.3M shortfall was made up from the reserve fund. Talking to town hall people Relic saw this when he arrived, started to cut costs and had lay offs so in 2014 he saved 2.8M so going into 2015 it shrunk to a 2.5M shortfall which I understand they plan on continued cuts to get this in line by the end of 2015. On a side note unlike what Arther D reported on facebook all elected official's pay remained flat and all department heads no longer get any overtime no matter how many extra hours they work. Another Relic cost saver. This is one reason Baxter left. This is all in the towns budget documents.

SCATS said...

To 6:49PM ~~ You want us to believe Baxter left because he couldn't pull any OT? Sorry, but I'm NOT buying it ... and I'm damned sure that wasn't spelled out in some budget doc.

Anonymous said...

I said that is one reason, make $139K as Chief or make, 130K at new job, 100K retirement and 20K retirement from reserves for a total of $250K now. That as I said one good reason a 111K pay raise.

SCATS said...

To 11:44PM ~~ As a "bonus" he gets to talk to the press a lot now.

Anonymous said...

Baxter went to the Senator Charles E. Schumer school of "gota have camera". Baxter loves the camera.

Anonymous said...

To 6:49. thank you for responding Ms. Marini. Referring to the Supervisor as "Relic" really threw us off.

Anonymous said...

Where, exactly are these "budget documents" you reference, 6:49 p.m. 12/14? There is no 2015 budget and no easily found budget documents posted to the town's website. You show your hand with your insider information. Nobody's fooled by spelling it "Relic." No timely agendas posted online, either. Why is the administration so afraid of letting residents know what it's up to? Lack of transparency means they're probably hiding all kinds of shenanigans.

SCATS said...

To 10:58PM ~~ You remind me of Auggie with your reference to "shenanigans" lol

Anonymous said...

After bragging about eliminating 19 positions the Town of Greece is now hiring.
Who do they think they're fooling.

SCATS said...

To 11:31AM ~~ Obviously, they've fooled the people who voted for them.

Anonymous said...

WRONG. The 19 positions have been permanently removed from the budget (funding) if there are any other recent hires they are filling vacancy beyond those that were eliminated. Sorry this doesn't fit in with your conspiracy theory's.

SCATS said...

To 4:47PM ~~ Oh please! I've seen it all with budgets & reductions in staffing. GCSD retires them out one door only to rehire them back at $400/day through an individual contract handed out the back door. I think we have around the same 1100 +/- teachers now at under 11,000 students that we had as we approached 15,000 students. It's the proverbial "shell game."

Anonymous said...

No conspiracy theory. I know for a fact that the Town is hiring.

SCATS said...

To 10:08PM ~~ Of course they are. I find it absolutely fascinating that certain people like 4:47PM seem to be assigned to watching & talking back to nearly everything reported on this BLOG. Paranoia prevails!

george hubbard said...

TO: SCATS

1. TOG 2014 budget book (pg 54) shows:
1a. 2013 total= $56.4M
1b. 2014 total= $57.7M

2. Ques: What is 2015 total? No figure stated in GP article.

SCATS said...

It can be any number they want it to be !?

The local reporting is getting beyond horrible.

george hubbard said...

To: 12:47pm and SCATS 1:08pm

1. I respectfully disagree with any inference of BUDGET GAP SUDDENLY APPEAR, or HIDE COSTS, or EXPLANITION OF DEFICT... from the GP article “Town board passes 2015 budget” dated 12/11/14. If you are using other sources, please identify.

2. The GP article speaks to gap in proposed 2015 budget... not current year 2014 budget.

3. There is no mention/suggestion of hidden cost... or deficit.

4. According to Adopted 2014 Budget (pg 3/60), TOG planned to use $5.1M of “Unexpended Fund Balance” in the upcoming year (2014).

5. This is using $5.1M of taxpayer money previously collected that wasn’t expended... i.e. using up OLD TAX MONEY rather than collecting NEW TAX MONEY. Sounds like good budget practice.

Comments invited.

SCATS said...

George ~~ I respectfully disagree. SOUNDS LIKE WE ARE OVER-ASSESSED! Oh wait!!! We are!!!

Anonymous said...

As I understand 9:37am (Geo H.) 2014 budget was balanced when approved and does not have a gap/deficit problem now.

Is this true?

Anonymous said...

The 2014 Auggies last was balanced by using the 5.1 million out of reserves. This means they spent more than they took in, like going to your saving account to pay all the bills. No George this is not good because you can't do that every year. You have to trim spending that is why cuts and lay offs occurred. The 2015 budget planned on using 2.8 million out of reserve which means during 2014 they closed the gap by over two million. The 2015 budget also spends 1 million less than 2014. By the end of 2015 the towns goal is to spend no more than taken in so in a two years time frame they will of cut spending to eliminate the gap. Just like home you can't pay your bills by draining your bank account.

george hubbard said...

To: 12:32pm - thanks for the question.

1. The answer to your question is, "It is true". Facts tell why.... and the absence of facts to the contrary reinforce it.

2. The 2014 budget document shows total appropriations were equal to total income when adopted by four Councilmen (Barry, Granville, Conlon, and Morris... as I recall) and Supervisor Auberger only days after new Supervisor Reilich was elected - Nov 5, 2013. Ask them!

3. Having been running for office several months prior to 2014 budget adoption, surely the Supervisor designate knew, or should have known, about the budget in detail... and its explicit use of FUND BALANCE (not RESERVE FUNDS as 6:49pm says) as income for 2014.

4. No written documentation has been identified showing gap... shortfall... or deficit for the 2014 budget year.

Comments invited.

Anonymous said...

The 2014 budget shows the 5+ million being used to balance the 2014 budget and yes all voted.
There is nothing wrong with that and is commonly done. Problem is you then have to cut spending the following years because you can not continue spending 5 million more than you take in. Nothing wrong done here it just placed pressure on the following budgets.

george hubbard said...

To: 5:26pm, thanks for posting... I had not seen yours when I posted 9:37am.

1. You say, 2014 budget was balanced using $5.1M out of reserves.
1a. Ques: Is your source of information available publicly showing RESERVES were used vis-à-vis FUND BALANCE? Please identify.

2. 2014 budget book page 3 of 60, shows columns with headings and total amounts (figures rounded, sum not perfect):

Col 1: Fund Name.

Col 2: “Appropriations”= $57.7M

Col 3: “Less: Estimated Revenues”= $16.3M

Col 4: “Less: Unexpended Fund Balance”= $5.1M

Col 5: “Amount to be Raised by Tax”= $36.2M

3. 2014 sequence seems clear, start with Appropriations... subtract Est. Rev... subtract Unexpected FB... use Amount to be Raised by Tax to balance.

4. You say, “2015 budget planned on using $2.8M out of reserves...”.
4a. Ques: Why did 2015 budget use RESERVES vis-a-vis FUND BALANCE?

Comments invited.

Anonymous said...

The term reserves and fund balance are synonymous when referencing the town budget.

SCATS said...

To 8:20PM ~~ Likewise with the GCSD budget.

george hubbard said...

To: 6:30pm

Thanks for posting.

1. You say, “Problem is you then have to cut spending in following years...”

1a. Do you mean spending in the context of budgets in following years, i.e. APPROPRIATIONS= planned spending, or...

1b. spending in the context of ACTUAL spending in following years... i.e. year-end totals?

2. Ques: Would you agree that a balanced budget consisting of 4 pieces (Appropriations, Revenue, Fund Balance, and Taxes [to be raised]) can only be altered by changing at least 2 components?

3. Therefore the word combination to CUT SPENDING... technically has no meaning... or perhaps has more than one meaning and is ambiguous.

Comments invited.

Anonymous said...

Hello 6:30pm

There was not only “nothing wrong done here”, there was something done right in 2014 budget!

The 5+ million fund balance is taxes collected in earlier years and not needed. If it wasn’t used in 2014, taxpayer money would sit idle another year.

Recent D&C article said some towns are sitting on stashes. Greece was one. Just another example of dysfunctional NYS.

Come on people, wake up!

SCATS said...

In Greece NY a "Fund balance" means TAXPAYERS WERE CHARGED/PAID TOO MUCH & the powers that be stash it away in slush funds, er ... I mean a "fund balance." GCSD has SEVERAL of them!!

Anonymous said...

There has to be some fund balance. For example if you have a harsh winter like last year you could spend an extra 125K on salt and two or three times that on over time labor. These are unforeseen situations and even the comptroller agrees on a fund balance that is not excessive. A fund balance of 10-15% is not excessive but prudent. What would of happened in 2014 if the 5+ million wasn't there? Answer a 12-13% tax increase.
Charlie regarding your questions;
1A Cut real spending as in payroll or eliminate expenses that are not necessary. For example Reilich sold the old school district bus garage that was in need of repairs. This put revenue into the coffers and a property back on the tax roles. Another example is renegotiating the branch library lease with a new landlord that saved 8K per year or the new copier lease that saved 10K per year.
I don't agree with point two. All four can be addressed Appropriations, you can reduce payroll both in numbers as well as in contract negotiations. Revenue you can promote commercial development such as the Nano tech company that will pay property taxes and employ local residents or new residents that move into our town, Fund Balance can be increased for example every residential unit, apartment or house pays a recreation trust fee when a building permit is taken out. This increases the rec fund for park improvements for all to enjoy. Taxes can be increased but as a last resort. Increasing user fees is always preferred. If you don't use the service you don'y pay. If you do you pay your fair share. By the way you will notice the 2015 budget spends one million dollars less than the 2014. That is cutting what you spend to align it closer with what you take in.

SCATS said...

To 7:36PM ~~ 10-15% might sound "prudent" to you, but seems excessive to me!! NY schools can only retain 4 percent of the current school
budget in unreserved, unappropriated fund balance in comparison!!

george hubbard said...

To: SCATS

1. Comparing Fund Balance for 2013, 2014, and 2015 shows a $2.3M gap going into 2015. Why?

2. Table A below compares 2013 and 2014 budgets side-by-side... and with one figure (posted by 6:49pm & 5:26pm) for 2015.

3. Table A:
____________________A________B_______C_______D_
___________________2013_____2014____%Chg____2015

a “Appropriations”__$56.43M__$57.67M__+2.2%

b “Less: Estimated__$15.78M__$16.35M__+3.6%
__Revenue”

c “Less: Unexpend____$5.00M___$5.11M__+2.2%__$2.8M
__Fund Balance”

d “Amount Raised____$35.64M__$36.21M__+1.6%
__By Tax”


4. Note first, 2013 and 2014 Appropriations nearly equal at $56.43M and $57.7M respectively (Ln “a”). Likewise, Unexpended Fund Balance of $5.00M and $5.11M respectively (Ln “c”).

5. Second, Supervisor “A” (Auberger) managed 2013 and ended with UNEXPENDED FUND BALANCE= $5.11M... this available for the next year’s budget (2014).

6. By contrast, Supervisor “R” (Reilich) managing 2014 expects to end with UNEXPENDED FUND BALANCE= $2.8M... this available for the next year’s budget (2015).

7 Ques: Comparing 2013 vs. 2014, did “A” achieve better financial results than “R”?

8. Ques: If 2015 FB has a gap of $2.3M ($5.1M - $2.8M= $2.3M), where did the $2.3M go?

SCATS said...

George ~~ PLEASE have a holiday drink :)

Anonymous said...

George question 8. the 2.3M went away due to structural cuts and efficiencies Reilich put in place during the 2014 year knowing to trim 5.1 in one year is difficult (that had never been done). Reilich plans on trimming the remaining amount in 2015 and to actually build the reserve slightly. Lets not over look a zero tax rate increase in 2015 and shrinking the budget by one million dollars over 2014.

SCATS said...

To 11:13AM ~~ I love how YOU "overlook" the $117 MILLION RISE IN ASSESSMENTS !!!! Most think of that as a TAX INCREASE!!!

george hubbard said...

To: 11:13am

Thanks for posting.

1. You say, “...2.3M went away due to structural cuts and efficiencies...”, but my understanding is unclear.
1a. Ques: How does $2.3M just “go away”?
1b. Ques: Did $2.3M GO AWAY in 2014 ACTUAL expenditures?
or
1c. Ques: Did $2.3M GO AWAY in 2015 budget?

2. Ques: What is 2015 budget total Appropriation?
2a. Ques: Has this figure been made available to public? When? Where?

Thanks. Feedback invited.

Anonymous said...

11:13am

If spending was cut $2.3M in 2014, why isn't 2015 budget reduced $2.3M from 2014?

How much is 2015 budget anyway? You never say!

Anonymous said...

SCATS

Spending and income can not be determined from a budget.

A Greece budget is a PLAN for spending (called Appropriations) and a PLAN for income (revenue + fund balance + taxes) to offset the appropriations. The budget is then balanced and ready for Board approval.

Total actual spending and income are known after the budget year is closed.

Intermediate YTD (Year-To-Date) totals can be reported.

Estimates of year-end totals can be calculated.

Anonymous said...

11:13am Yes, $2.3M WENT AWAY in 2014 ACTUAL expenditures, lay off's the biggest single savings, timers on lighting, redo branch library lease, renegotiate copier leases, new phone system saves 109K annually, refinancing debt saved $125 thousand, etc.
2. I do not have a budget in front of me but take the 2014 budget and subtract 1 million and that is the amount of the 2015 budget.
2015 budget is in the main branch of the library.

11:13am Because over 5 million was being used out of reserves to fund the budget. Revenues from assessment and growth combined meant $765 thousand more in revenue. 1 million was the budget reduction, the rest was savings from reserves, only 2.5M was used out of reserves in 2015. By 2016 the goal is to spend what is taken in so no money from reserves if attained.

Anonymous said...

1:13 SCATS No actually we call that paying your fair share!

SCATS said...

To 3:04PM ~~ I have NO idea what you are talking about. I didn't post a comment at 1:13.