This letter marks my first 100 days in office. My focus during this time has been to get a handle on the status of the Town’s existing financial situation that I adopted when I came into office. In accordance with my policy of implementing financial transparency, I wanted you—the taxpayers—to know that the Town is approximately $1million short of where the Town should be at this time. In this letter, I provide details about what happened and what we are doing to fix the situation.
A few days ago, I received a preliminary copy of Tuxedo’s Annual Update Document that will be submitted to the State of New York. This document will be available on our website www.tuxedogov.org this week.
I have requested the Town accountant to present at a town board meeting the findings of this report and answer any questions you may have at the next Town Board meeting, tentatively scheduled for April 28. The information contained in the report shows our fund balances to be approximately $1 million short. The two major factors creating this deficit were the lack of funding from the Federal Government to the Ambulance Corps and our contribution to the New York State retirement fund. These additional expenses, combined with decreased revenues, resulted in the Town’s miss in 2013.
There will be some difficult decisions ahead of us but we will do what is necessary to pull the Town out of the hole it is in. I am confident we will be successful as I feel we have a clear vision of where we need to go and we have the right people in the right places to change the course we are on. As previously mentioned, we now have a finance committee that will conduct a deep dive into the numbers and make their recommendations to the board.
Furthermore, over the next 90 days we will begin implementing processes, policies and procedures that will improve controls and make Tuxedo compliant with the requirements of the State Comptroller’s Office. We will begin cutting spending and by the time you have read this newsletter, we would have already frozen spending in all departments on all non-essential items. All projects are on hold indefinitely and will need board authorization to be funded. All departments will experience a freeze on all hiring.
Finally, the audit of the Town conducted by the New York State Comptroller continues, and we have already begun implementing action plans to improve financial controls and close our gaps. As I stated previously to you, I will make the report of the Comptroller available as soon as it is completed.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. I invite you to attend the Town Board meeting on April 28 and direct questions to the Town’s accountant. In the meantime, the Town board and I are working every day to get to the bottom of this regrettable situation.