Saturday, October 11, 2014

HOW TO BE RESPONSIBLE!!! ----------------- by Larry Fillmore


Have you ever wondered how to be responsible?  I mean as a citizen, neighbor or community leader.  I have some examples for you to evaluate.  First, we will look at being a community leader.

Chief Brooks is the Chief of Police and as such is a figure to look up too.  Just after hearing the news that the Undesignated Fund for the town is at 7%, Chief Brooks ask the Town Council to borrow $53,292.00 tax dollars to Lease to Purchase two police vehicles.  Chief Brooks knows that according to our town Charter, the recommended level for the Undesignated Fund is 12.5%.

Last year, the town Leased to Purchase two 2014 police vehicles.  This makes nine vehicles in the police department inventory including two police vehicles that sit at the schools daily.  Of course, if we did not borrow money to Lease to Purchase these two vehicles this year and one of your cruisers does break down then Chief Brooks could pull one of these school vehicles to use until the town could repair or replace the downed cruiser.  Or Chief Brooks could have borrowed money for only one new cruiser and saved the taxpayers some tax dollars.

Remember back in October 2013, Chief Brooks announced that the town had received approximately $71,000.00 in Forfeiture Funds to be used strictly by the police department to enhance its performance.   At that time, Chief Brooks had several items on the Capital Improvement Plan to include police vehicles.  All of the items on the Capital Improvement Plan qualified for use of the Forfeiture Funds.  Chief Brooks elected NOT to use the Forfeiture Funds for any items on the Capital Improvement Plan.  Instead, Chief Brooks used the Forfeiture Funds for such items as three (3) assault rifles; a GPS; balls and a ball launcher for the K-9; a Glock Auto Model 23; 40 Cal Gen4 with 3-13 round magazines; new Tasers and Officer training just to name a few items.  If the items on the Capital Improvement Plan are necessary, why didn’t Chief Brooks purchase any of those items first and then fill in with some of the items he did purchase.  Could the reason be that Chief Brooks acted responsible and wants the taxpayers to have to pay for these items on the Capital Improvement Plan, like the police vehicles?

So now let’s look at what followed.  During the budget process the Town Council never made any cuts in the police department budget even though they knew Chief Brooks had Forfeiture Funds that he could use in lieu of tax dollars.  Last Tuesday, the Town Council approved $53,292.00 for the Lease to Purchase two police vehicles.  

How is the town going to get back on its feet or stop raising our taxes if Chief Brooks and the Town Council continue to spend money the town does not have.  The Town Council needs to immediately stop borrowing and strict all purchases to item the town has money for and absolute need immediately to operate.  The taxpayers cannot continue to be forced to pay increases in taxes every year for irresponsible spending.

I personally do not call any of this being responsible or a good citizen, neighbor or community leader.

Larry Fillmore

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