Letter: Finance & Budget chairman says he puts taxpayers over internal party politics
To the Editor:
Finance & Budget never made this personal —it was about the facts and taxes. Our job is to ask the tough (and easy) questions; challenge boards in a constructive manner; and, perform due diligence to report on the recommended budget to the full RTM. This is good government, healthy dialogue and governmental checks and balances.
The RTM cannot adjust income - only Board of Selectman and Board of Finance can.
Finance & Budget requested they review Fiscal Year 20 budgeted investment income — Why?
Four months into Fiscal Year 2019, investment earnings were $250,000 - annual projection $750,000.
FY20 budgeted investment income in the RFCNRE fund increased from $30,000 to $100,000 - a 230+% increase —same pooled monies but calculated by the town’s director of finance —not the treasurer.
Treasurer’s FY20 budgeted increase was only 70% to $300,000 —an amount achieved in just five months in 2019 and $450,000 below projected (actual FY19 income $767,000).
BOF has changed the Treasurer’s budgeted income seven times in the last 10 years since 2010.
This appeared worthy of discussion.
F&B’s vice chairman with extensive executive banking experience, including treasury, met with the Treasurer. He reported back:
A potential “opportunity loss” to the taxpayers as Treasurer refused to invest in the State’s STIF funds —or allowable T-bills with equivalent yields
Standard industry cash flow statements not prepared —indifferent who prepares.
No portfolio performance metrics with comparison to nationally accepted benchmarks
Investments in bank CD’s and low-yielding bank MMA’s (85bp) significantly underperforming other allowed investments (240bp)
Investment policy was reviewed and adequate
Our conversations were solely on the proposed budgeted income and potential revenue opportunity loss —nothing else. Before 2010, town portfolio earned $1-2 million annually with less investible funds.
Under reporting revenue has consequences of over taxing our citizens. The amount to move the mill rate 1bp is $85,000. Budgeting actual investment income was not insignificant — it could have decreased this year’s tax increase by 8-12%. In the end, the BOF took our discussion under advisement and we all moved forward passing an overall good budget. I will always put our citizens’ and taxpayers’ interests above all others including silly internal party politics.
The writer is the chairman of the RTM’s Finance & Budget Committee.