A week ago Tuesday, September 27, State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli published this year’s list of the most fiscally stressed municipalities in New York State. And once again, Supervisor St. Lawrence and his Town Board have refused to provide the financial data requested of all of the State’s counties, cities, towns and villages. That makes two of the last three years that this group has hidden the Town’s finances in order to avoid the Comptroller’s Fiscal Stress Monitoring System. Why would they do this? You need only look at the one recent year when they did provide the numbers to get an answer.
Ramapo had until Aug. 31, 2016 to provide the 2015 financial information to DiNapoli’s office. They didn’t supply the data for this year’s report, and they also failed to report two years ago for the 2013 fiscal year. They did provide the numbers for the year in-between and did make the 2014 report where they were clobbered with one of the worst-in-the-state listings—a 77.1%. To understand what that number means consider the following. Towns that are equal to 45% are listed as susceptible to fiscal stress. If you’re greater than or equal to 55%, you are listed as moderately stressed. The municipalities with 65% or more are significantly fiscally stressed. The 77.1% that Ramapo was pegged at last year would rank them in this year’s report as the second worst town in all of New York State. Any thoughts on the question, “Are this year’s post-arrest financials any better than last year’s?” For the optimists who say, “Sure there could have been some improvement,” there’s the nagging follow-up, “Then why didn’t the Town file by the end of August?” Too busy putting together legal defense teams for St. Lawrence, Klein, Troodler, Oberman, Mallia and Tress?
It’s important to note here that this is not just a St. Lawrence issue. The Board members who have assumed the role of silent assent are as guilty in this matter as the Supervisor. In fact, their part is more disturbing because of what’s on the upcoming docket in Ramapo. Board member Tress was taken out of his home in handcuffs and eventually removed from the Board. St. Lawrence was also arrested at home and today he is 96 days away from fidgeting in a courtroom as jury selection begins on his first round of 22 criminal counts, to be followed by 22 civil counts brought by the SEC. With both of those members gone that will leave the good citizens of Ramapo with the three silent accessories (from left to right in the photo above): Yitzchok Ullman, Brendel Logan Charles, Patrick Withers.
To search the municipalities in this year’s report, go to the Fiscal Stress Monitoring System Search Tool at http://wwe1.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/fiscalmonitoring/fsms.cfm.
For a complete, detailed report on Ramapo’s 2014 debacle of a financial year go to http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/fiscalmonitoring/satfiles/2014/Town/Ramapo_2014.pdf.