Mayor Belmont’s Tax Scam
October 28, 2019 (via email)
Dear Friends and Supporters:
“Key Findings: From 2013 through 2017, the Board underestimated revenues in its budgets by a total of $15.4 million, or an average of $3.08 million (8 percent) per year, which created excessive unassigned fund balance.” So begins the 2019 audit of Harrison’s budget by the Office of the New York State Comptroller. The full audit can be found at: https://www.osc.state.ny.us/
After observing that Mayor Belmont and his team were using similar revenue projections for 2018, the Audit Report at page 4 concludes: “Because the Board underestimated revenues, it appears that the Town needed to both increase its tax levy and use fund balance to close projected budget gaps.” Belmont’s excuse? “In response, town officials told us Board members were aware of the excess unassigned fund balance and believed it was reasonable, especially because towns are not restricted as to the amount of unassigned fund balance they may retain.” Audit Report at 5.
Belmont and his team have been intentionally underestimating town revenues and purposely overtaxing Harrison residents for years. This is not some budget smoothing mechanism. It is a deceptive exercise in building a discretionary fund that Belmont and his board can then spend on their favored pet projects. At the September 5th Town Board Meeting, Belmont quietly shifted approximately $2.8 million from the unassigned fund balance into some of these projects.
Rather than hoarding cash for a slush fund, why can’t Belmont and his team be honest and upfront with taxpayers about how much money it costs to run the town and what major capital projects Harrison should undertake?
On November 5th you can take Harrison’s purse away from the current administration and put it into the hands of people who will look out for your best interests.
Frank Gordon for Mayor
Lauren Leader for Town Board
Michael Romita for Town Board