The Northern Westchester Examiner

Fund Balance Growth Report in Yorktown Debated

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The four Republicans on the Yorktown Town Board applauded a recent report from the town’s auditors that Yorktown’s unrestricted fund balance in the General Fund had increased by nearly 53%.

Representatives from O’Connor Davies attributed the large hike during the 2016 fiscal year to better than forecasted non-real estate tax revenue, as well as a $2.4 million reduction in budgeted expenses.

“Since we don’t have direct control over non-real estate tax revenues we are cautious not to overestimate that income for the town,” said Yorktown Supervisor Michael Grace in a press release. “While we are pleased that those revenues have exceeded expectations, we take great pride in the results caused by reducing the town’s spending, which we do have greater control over. During my tenure as supervisor, I have safeguarded every dollar we spend out of respect for the hardworking taxpayers of Yorktown. This week’s report shows exactly what happens when government spends prudently.”

“Under Supervisor Grace and our present town board we have made the right decisions that will keep town expenses trending downward over the next several years,” said Councilman Tom Diana. “Coupled with the fact that we have already addressed and funded a number of major infrastructure and capital improvements, as long as the revenue in the town remains consistent, we can predict a downward trend on taxes.”

Town officials also announced last week $2.2 million in paving would be done in Yorktown this summer, about $1.6 million of which was being funded through state grants, courtesy of State Senator Terrence Murphy (R/Yorktown).

However, the lone Democrat on the town board, Councilman Vishnu Patel, and Elliot Krowe, co-chair of the Yorktown Democratic Committee, maintained the large fund balance was due to the fact needed projects in the town have not been done.

“All that glistens is not gold,” Patel said. “He hasn’t done any projects.”

“The large fund balance noted by the report from the audit firm hired by the town reflects the fact that the Grace administration has failed to address serious problems affecting the safety, health and quality of life of Yorktown residents,” Krowe said. “For the past five years, this administration has allowed our streets and roads to get worse, dangerous intersections to become even more dangerous, and storefronts to remain vacant for lack of a plan for smart development in a manner which protects our environment.”

“So, the artificially-inflated fund balance is a consequence of the fact that the Grace administration has socked away money by not doing its job and by running roughshod over the will of Yorktown residents,” Krowe added.

Grace stated he has been able to build up the fund balance while making many capital improvements and investments, such as: re-equipping the Highway Department with nearly a dozen new vehicles; providing new cruisers for the Police Department; reconstructing failed infrastructure on Baptist Church Road, Croton Heights Road and Lexington Avenue; and purchasing new equipment in the Parks and Water departments and sewer districts.

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