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Nov 10, 2008 3:24 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Democratic committee attacks Democratic Town Board over budget

Nov 10, 2008 3:24 PM

Bill Taylor, chairman of the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee, sent the following statement about the all-Democratic Town Board’s proposed 2009 town budget to local papers Monday morning:

The Democratic Town Committee is extremely disappointed by the proposed town budget and more so by the ongoing fiscal crisis that led to it. The board’s plan to respond with a business as usual budget while a 25-percent tax hike hits the community in the gut puts all the pain on the taxpayer. The budget makes no significant cuts in any town spending. With the unconscionable exception of cuts to social and educational services, there is scarce evidence in this budget of the things most municipalities do in a budget crisis, such as cutting expenses, nonessential projects, activities and purchases.

Unfortunately, some tax increase, which should have been phased in starting years ago, can no longer be delayed. But our community has a right to expect that town spending be kept as low as possible. That requires a reordering of government priorities and a firm insistence that expenditures be controlled. We urge the board to do what many other municipalities do when a need for fiscal discipline strikes: mandate a percentage cut in each municipal department, with the mandate for this budget set at 10 percent, with exceptions to be made only upon a compelling showing of necessity to meet agreed upon community priorities.

We perceive this as an interim response to an emergency. The board must move aggressively to reduce the burden it would otherwise impose on its constituents during a time when the conditions of the nation and the world already threaten the financial security of many in our town. But this action should be only the beginning of an effort to make sure that our taxpayers are paying no more than they need to for the services the town provides.

The board needs to take full responsibility for the managerial and fiscal soundness of the town’s many programs. Our simple review indicates that there are many places where expenditures could be tightened, where programs could be restructured to reduce redundancy, to reduce or spread costs over a longer period.

The Town Board should spend the next year reviewing the operations of every department with the expectation of reshaping and restructuring so that every expenditure meets a need, waste and fat are permanently excised, and within due course the budget is reduced. The goal should be a significant, greater than 10-percent, reduction in proposed taxes in 2010.

The Democratic Town Committee seeks out and sponsors for town leadership the wisest and most honorable people we can find. When they excel we applaud them and when they disappoint it is our job to remind them of their obligations to the electors. The town’s current financial condition is not acceptable and must be fixed.

For The Democratic Committee

Bill Taylor, Chairman

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A new poll tells me the Democratic Committee standing behind MC GINTEE is as deceitful as he is. Either you knew of the financial situtation long before the rest of us OR he pulled the wool over your eyes too. If that is the case how can you blame the other 4 Board members for trusting and believing in him IF you did too????
By disappointed (96), wainscott on Nov 24, 08 8:23 AM
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