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PRESS RELEASE |
What Does the Monroe County Legislature Do? Who Pays for It? Why Should You Care?
A basic premise of internal controls is to have adequate
supporting documentation for financial transactions.
There’s a reason the County’s system does not provide that.
They quite simply don’t want you to know.
Mendon, New York— We invite you to join us on Thursday, August 22, 2019, at 7 p.m. at the Mendon Community Center to learn what the Monroe County really does with your hard-earned dollars.
Monroe County Legislator Howard Maffucci, whose hard work and success have led to his running unopposed in 2019, has made a study of county budgeting practices. What he has discovered is blatant misrepresentation; an alarming amount of waste; and a disturbing lack of reporting and accountability. Legislator Maffucci will walk you through the budget and discuss everything you need to know about where the money comes from, how it is allocated, and how it is spent.
While Monroe County officials assure the community that it maintains accounting integrity, the Office of the New York State Controller audited the County’s finances in 2018 on behalf of the taxpayers and concluded that the County:
• “did not produce a $12 million surplus” it claimed; rather, “the operating surpluses for 2016 and 2017 totaled $2.4 million, of which $1 million was from a 2017 one-time revenue that will not recur”
• “lacked readily available documentation to support significant amounts included in its annual reports and was unable to generate common financial reports”
• “has been rated as being in Significant Fiscal Stress for fiscal years 2015, 2016 and 2017”
Legislator Maffucci will be joined by Terry Daniele of Mendon, a candidate for the County Legislature from the Fifth Legislative District (which includes Mendon, Rush and parts of Henrietta and Pittsford). Both will answer your questions about how the budget – and county government – should work for you.
This event is sponsored by the Mendon Democratic Committee.
Please help us get the word out to Mendon voters about Terry and Erin’s campaign. We’ll be meeting on Saturday 10/21 at noon and Sunday 10/22 at 11:00 a.m. in the library parking lot. Just two hours of canvassing each/either day. Email us at MendonDems2008@gmail.com if you can help out.
TOWN BOARD DRAGS MENDON INTO THE PAST
- by Tim Pryor, Chair of the Mendon Democratic Committee
Recent Mendon Board legislation is part of a state-wide effort to thwart clean energy
The Mendon Town Board recently took action to brand our town as a community that clings to the past and shuns the future. I refer here to the recent Board action that exempts the town from Section 487 of the Tax Law, which encourages residents to install alternative energy systems such as solar, wind or methane recycling (usually from animal waste).
Section 487 exempts homeowners and others who install alternative energy systems from an increase in their tax assessment based on the added value of the installation. Since 1991, New York has provided this real estate tax exemption, along with additional income tax incentives, to encourage investment in alternative energy systems.
In recent years, these incentives have been under increasing attack by coal, oil and gas interests which have begun to resent the competition from clean energy. The Mendon Town Board’s legislation, which eliminates the exemption, is part of a state-wide effort to thwart clean energy promoted by the Koch family and other Big Energy interests.
Section 487 also allows towns to opt out of the exemption, and thus tax alternative energy installations. This is what the Board just did. The Town Board (which came up with this notion when some if its members attended a seminar paid for with tax money) claims that the tax incentive is unfair to citizens who do not have alternative energy systems. I have yet to understand how the tax incentive in unfair, as any citizen can take advantage of it, no one is penalized for not taking advantage of it, and the Board has not offered any factual support for its claim.
The Board’s attorney says the new law will affect only large installations, not individual home installations, because the town has not historically seen the addition of a solar system as a valuable addition to property. However, NY-Sun, a project of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), asserts that “Jurisdictions cannot choose to tax large systems but not small ones.”
For my part, I cannot see how the Town of Mendon will benefit from the new law. It does not affect existing systems, which are grandfathered by the state law. By its own admission, the Town will not increase the assessment of any new system attached to a private home. The Town is also not likely to gain from assessing any new solar farm or similar installations, because the Board’s action will discourage the establishment of alternative energy systems in Mendon. “Some local governments are opting out of RPTL § 487 so they can tax these multimillion-dollar projects and generate additional property tax revenue. However, these jurisdictions may find that they will not actually collect … more tax revenue from solar or other renewable energy systems because the systems may not be built if they are fully taxable, ” NY SUN explained.
There are clearly some negatives associated with the Town Board’s decision. First, Section 487 allows towns to negotiate Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreements with parties installing alternative energy systems. PILOT projects are a popular and workable way for towns to gain some income from otherwise tax exempt projects. Passing this law has eliminated that option.
Second, by threatening increased taxes on farm-based methane generation systems, Mendon discourages the installation of waste management systems which reduce water pollution and turn waste into energy that can be used on site and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
Finally, and perhaps most important, the town is sending a message to the rest of the world that Mendon is comfortable living in the past and has no interest in promoting a sustainable future.
You may use this link https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/ny-27-2018-democratic-nominee-fund-1 to donate to the congressional race for our district. All funds will be kept in reserve to be donated to the eventual Democratic nominee.
From Buffalo News:
We are deeply saddened by the sudden death of Mendon Democratic Committee member, Paul MacAulay in December. The editorial board at the Democrat and Chronicle wrote this piece in his honor titled, “A true believer in justice for all”. Please take a moment to read it. Paul’s obituary is posted beneath as well. Donations in Paul’s name can be made to Campaign for Justice or the Mendon Public Library.
Very important that we elect Barbara Baer to the Assembly.
You can hear the broadcast on Connections with Evan Dawson