“Suffern Mayor Ed Markunas has said the village is exploring whether to separate from Ramapo over how the town has used millions in village taxpayer money for town-provided services over the years.
Suffern is already a “full-service village,” Markunas said, and decoupling from Ramapo would allow the village to “be in control of 100 percent of our tax base.”
The village of approximately 10,700 residents is undergoing an analysis to determine whether separating from Ramapo is possible, and whether it makes financial and long-term sense to become a town or a city, Markunas said.
Markunas’ comments followed a letter he sent to state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli that called on the state agency to audit Ramapo’s finances between 2009 and 2015.
Suffern taxpayers annually pay Ramapo more than $1 million for various services, including ambulance and tax assessing, and Markunas said he wants to ensure the money is being spent appropriately by the town.
“We don’t know if that tax money has been allocated to the appropriate funds within the Town of Ramapo,” Markunas said.
The Suffern mayor, who described Ramapo’s finances as a “mess,” requested the state comptroller conduct the audit in a letter sent on Nov. 17.
Markunas said he was motivated to call for the audit after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission hit the town’s auditing firm — Mamaroneck-based PKF O’Connor Davies — and one of its senior partners with more than a half-million dollars in penalties in October.
The fines related to the firm issuing fraudulent audit reports in connection with municipal bonds sought by Ramapo to build the town’s baseball stadium.
Soon after the sanctions were handed down, O’Connor Davies said in a statement that it stood by its work with Ramapo.
The fraudulent audit reports also led to a federal indictment against St. Lawrence and former Deputy Town Attorney Aaron Troodler, who was a previous executive director of the Ramapo Local Development Corp. Their trial is scheduled for April.”
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