An audit of Cablevision franchise fees initiated by the Yorktown Town Board in mid-2009 has proven that Yorktown is owed over $350,000 because of irregularities in franchise fee payments. Yorktown participated at the request of then-supervisor Don Peters, who suspected there was a problem.
“I worked with seven other municipalities to fund the audit because I sensed that we were not getting our rightful distribution of franchise fees,” said Peters, who is running for supervisor again. “And to its credit, my town board agreed with me and voted to fund our share of the audit. The results showed that all eight municipalities were owed money, to the tune of $780,316 and of that, Yorktown was the greatest beneficiary.”
The towns that formed a consortium for the audit included Bedford, Harrison, Mount Kisco, Lewisboro, North Castle, Pound Ridge, Somers and Yorktown.
The audit found that each town was due money, with $18,696, the least amount due to Mount Kisco and Yorktown being owed $353,949, the highest amount of all the municipalities. The closest to Yorktown’s highest fee adjustment will go to the town of Harrison, which is owed $126,009.
The audit was conducted by Ashpaugh & Sculco, certified public accountants of Winter Park, Fla. with equal funding of $6,000 from each participating municipality.
The final results were dated March 21 and Peters wants to know why the current supervisor Susan Siegel has not made the report public.
“Our current supervisor was sent the results of the audit on March 21, and to date, she has not announced anything to the public,” Peters continued, “and this is the woman who says that other candidates are playing politics. Why did we have to go to the New Castle website to see the full report? Why wasn’t this great news announced to the press, the public and on the Town’s website. I think it’s clear who is playing politics.”
“We won the greatest windfall from this audit in the exact amount of $353,949,” Peters said, “which will go to the Town’s General Fund.”
“If I were to fault anything about my first term in office, it would be that I didn’t always try to get pats on the back for what I did,” Peters added. “My next time up, I will be sure to communicate everything that I do. In fact, look for a long list of projects I initiated that the current supervisor has taken credit for.”
Not so fast, Siegel stated. “Yes, we received the report,” she said. “We [the town supervisors] had discussions about it. We met with Cablevision and they denied that they owe us anything. As a consortium we are deciding on our next strategy and that is on the board agenda for Tuesday night.”
At the work session the town board will discuss whether they are interested in pursuing the matter from a legal angle as part of the consortium.
“The next step is to proceed with a law firm that will push Cablevision into a settlement or litigation,” said Siegel. “But we cannot move forward with it unless we get our boards’ approvals.”