Saturday, November 5, 2016


At Tuesday night’s Town Council meeting, I witness the height of stupidity. Our previous Finance Director, Mr. Edward Karass, briefed the Town Council on what are good financial practices and what are financial bad practices. He was trying to explain how our town got into the financial fix the town was in and what can be done to get the town out of debit. One of the areas to correct was to eliminate the practice of lease to purchase Police cruisers.

The Town Council does a decent job when it comes to allocating funding for Police cruisers in the town budget. The funds to purchase these vehicles are allocated in the approved budget. The old process was twofold. Part one is to get a bid for the purchase and then to borrow funds to pay for the lease to purchase of the cruisers. This adds to the cost of the cruiser and requires the taxpayer to pay additional fees for leasing. Mr. Karass and I agree that if you allocate the funding for these vehicles in the budget the town should pay OUTRIGHT for the purchase of the vehicles. This saves the taxpayers the cost of leasing and does not increase the town’s debit.

However, Mr. Karass has been gone about a month now and on Tuesday night the old procedure was back in place by lease to purchase a Police cruiser. There was no need to go lease to purchase because the funding had already been approved in the budget. The police budget is roughly two million tax dollars so there should be sufficient funds to purchase the cruiser OUTRIGHT and save the town leasing fees. According to the Town Manager, this is the way it always has been done.

Doing things because we have always done it that way is about as dump as it comes. Especially after our previous Finance Director explained why this is a bad practice. Vice-Chair Metivier stated that the Town Council would look into the area next year. This is the same answer we have gotten for the past three years, with no results. It is terrible to have the right information and then ignore it.

This cruiser has to be retrofitted with the communication equipment in the vehicle. However, the equipment is for a Crown Vic and not the SUV the town purchased so there is going to be an additional cost to transfer the equipment into the new cruiser. The Town Council added an additional cost of roughly $7,625 to the cost of purchasing the cruiser, which was $25,375.00 to make it an even $33,000.00. The Town Council could have used $7,625.00 of forfeiture funds to cover this additional cost. This is what the forfeiture funds are designed to be utilized for but none of our Councilors thought of it.

This is the problem with the Council Working Rules. The Council Working Rules eliminate a chance of having a discussion or dialogue on issues with the Public. Apparently, the Town Council believes they are smarter than everyone else in town and therefore does not need to get additional help. Think about what would happen if everyone could input data into a problem so that the Town Council had all the facts in order to make an intelligent decision.

Please call the Town Manager and your Councilors and voice your concerns about spending your tax dollars when there is no need.

Larry Fillmore

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