Richard Macellaro's comments at the October 24,2013 Smithtown Town Conncil Meeting:
Smithtown Town Council Meeting
Public Hearing- 2014 Town Budget, Smithtown Senior Citizens Center
420 Middle Country Road, Smithtown, NY 11787
October 24, 2013
Good Evening, Mr. Supervisor and Town Board Members. My name is Richard S. Macellaro
and I have been a resident for more than 23 years.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed 2014 Smithtown Town Budget.
I am here this evening to discuss the Town’s 2014 Budget. At the August 15 meeting, I presented some ideas to initiate a process (a plan) wherein the Community has an opportunity to have an input into the formation of the Town Budget. I will briefly summarize those points:
1) Open Budget Preparation Workshops. For Town Department administrators, whose Budget appropriations enable them to fulfill their duties and responsibilities?
2) Allow Community Participation in the Town’s Budget formation.
Residents should be encouraged to voice their concerns and advise these departments where
their tax dollars would best be spent. The public should be invited to present their ideas and
suggestions for budget expenditures, such as: skate board parks, centralized purchasing and cost
efficiencies, staffing needs, town improvements, infrastructure deficiencies and a “Master Plan!”
3) There should be a series of public meetings. Taxpayers have an opportunity to participate in the Town’s Budget Preparation process. The one and only time the public is invited to comment on the Budget is at the October Town Board meeting. Then at the Town Board’s November meeting, the Supervisor’s budget is voted upon.
4) There should be a public, bi-annual review of budget expenditures. This would enable the public to review changes, additions and deletions or transfers from one budget category to another. At almost every Town Board meeting, fund transfers from these accounts are placed on the agenda and voted on by all Board members, without any explanations.
5) There should be a sufficient amount of budgeted surplus.
The Board should utilize Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) to determine the
appropriate amount that a Town Budget should maintain as a surplus.
As for this year’s budget, I too, am pleased that you submitted the 2014 budget which reflects an overall decrease of $13.12 in town taxes on a house assessed at $5,500.00.
I appreciate that you have proposed a budget, less than the 2% cap that Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature has imposed on local governments. However, I am more concerned about insuring that the jobs listed in your budget are 100 % filled at all times! I am not suggesting that you add or create unnecessary job. I am recommending that you fill all proposed jobs and insure that when a job is vacant, due to attrition, temporary layoffs or other means, and that the job is filled, within a reasonably accepted time frame. A job provides a person with a sense of dignity and pride.
Some jobs were eliminated and some were reclassified into other departments. The problem here is not doing more with less. The problem is that some jobs were taken out of the budget. While this jobs restructuring enabled the remaining staff to receive slight salary increases, this budget further reduces Smithtown’s workforce! That’s unacceptable.
As public service employees yourself, I am sure you are concerned about job longevity, salaries and benefits. However, when jobs remained temporarily unfilled, the ripple effect is long lasting.
Town workers cannot pay their mortgages, property taxes are not paid, local business suffers, families are uprooted, school enrollments decline and governmental safety nets are unnecessarily impacted. Perhaps you should consider eliminating obsolete jobs and replacing them with better time saving and useful jobs.
Candidate for Town Council