Thursday, November 13, 2014


Someone once said “There is a time and place for everything”.   I totally agree with them, however, I believe the town has taken this a little too far.   Since, the town does not have the money to pay outright for acquisitions; there have adopted a lease to purchase policy.  This means they are borrowing money they do not have in order to acquire equipment they want not need.

Interim Town Manager, Dale Olmstead, briefed the people at a Council meeting on the current financial situation the town was in.  Mr. Olmstead recommended a maintenance budget in order to start programs to get the town back on track.  A maintenance budget means the ONLY acquisitions are those necessary to maintain operations.  So let’s take a look at how the Council and Department Heads responded to this idea.

So far this year the Council has approved the acquisition of the following:

June 24th Replace Snow Plow $87,743.00
September 2nd Dump Body Installation  44,170.00
September 2nd Culvert Liner  18,900.00
  October 7th 2-Police Cruisers  53,292.00
October 21st Asphalt Reclaimer  31,490.00
November 4th Heavy Duty Truck  52,669.00
Total $283,264.00

These items are from two departments; the Police Department and Public Works.  This $283,264.00 will have to be borrowed under the Lease to Purchase program.  Under the Lease to Purchase program, as with any leasing program, the taxpayers will have to pay additional funds for the right to spread out the payments.

I do believe that if properly utilized the Lease to Purchase program could be a valuable asset to the town.  However, since our Undesignated Fund is currently sitting at 7% instead of the 12.5% recommended by our Charter, this is not the right time to be borrowing more money?  All of this is has nothing to do with the town’s debt services from the approved bonds.  

Money that is budgeted and not spent goes into the Undesignated Fund.  Councilors need to consider the situation prior to approving unnecessary acquisition.  Take for instance the purchase of a heavy duty truck for Public Works.  According to Mr. Leighton, the current vehicle is in such a poor state that it cannot receive a sticker.  This means it is unsafe and cannot be utilized on our highways because it is a dangers the public.  But last night, Mr. Leighton told the Council the current truck will go to the Parks Department to be used in Beaver Park.  So this means that Mr. Leighton has no problem putting our Park Ranger and her volunteer’s lives in danger.  If the town is going to repair the current vehicle for the Parks Department, why do we need to replace it?  This sounds to me like someone is BS’ing the Council again.

Common sense tells you that spending more money than you have is a true sign of pending disaster.

Larry Fillmore