The BOA meeting tonight will decide how to spend one million in "free cash" suddenly found...proof once again that we never needed an override. Our budget process is far from open or transparent. Political leadership in Melrose cannot be trusted. The margin of defeat regarding the tax increase and the number of blanks in the latest election count should matter. BOA members hopefully got the message and will not just vote the way they are directed by City Hall. Some of the same candidates who lost to incumbants are already planning to run again....the other talk around town yesterday was regarding Mike Zwirko's plans to challenge Dolan for Mayor in two years.....if true, MZ will have to distance himself from GI and MBMM and show some guts by challenging the status quo of quid pro quo........
MZ has so far demonstrated only that he is a puppet of RD, and his wife is a political appointee/city employee of RD. Good for anyone who is serious about challenging RD. It needs to happen. So if MZ is serious, he has a lot more than distancing to worry about. Stepping up to the very obvious (screaming) demands must be first and foremost. And for those candidates who lost, they can still be winners in the community if they show up and continue to speak their peace, instead of what most do by just retreating or being absorbed by the administration in some patronage position.
Note: The "structural deficit" was always and still is a fraud that this administration continues to yammer about. So is/was the "loss of ARRA funding" RD (and his sycophant city auditor) keeps whining and lying about. Grow up, citizens, and don't allow this brazen manipulation and garbage anymore!
Yes, and then there was the $600,000+ surplus in the school budget that they quickly washed over a couple of months ago during a SC meeting, praising themselves for their prudent fiscal practices instead of taking themselves to task for being the outrageous liars and incompetents they are.
Where did the free cash come from.....??? What line items have the BOA members been told to propose tonight? How about asking the BOA members who are on the take for GIC to pay the City back the money they've stolen? And you wonder why so many of us voted down the override 2to1.....?
Yet there was plenty of money available to hire lawyers for school administrators to defend themselves against Federal civil rights charges made by OCR. Despite Thorpe, Taymore and Robert Van Campen's efforts to not disclose this public information, Carrie Kourkoumelis is still trying to get a handle on how many hundreds of thousands of dollars has been squandered by the Super's office in this regard. Apparently, they seem to be raiding other budgets to pay for this expense, including the SPED budget, believe it or not. Just shameful taking educational funding from the kids to defend their dirty work to violate parents' and children's civil rights. But then again this is Melrose...
There are two orders. It's not one million in free cash they're spending tonight - it's over $2.46 million. Isn't it interesting they can pull out of their hat more than the $2.25 million override they claimed was so critical to fund the city?
Here are the two orders
Subject: Available Free Cash $1,169,941.66
Order #: ORDER-2016-59
An Appropriation of $1,169,941.66 from available free cash to the Snow & Ice Deficit as set forth within.
Subject: Available Free Cash $1,292,665.29
Order #: ORDER-2016-60
An Appropriation of $1,292,665.29 From Available Free Cash to Various Accounts as set forth within
On top of that, The Feds just made available $120 million to Massachusetts in Federal Disaster Aid for the snow removal costs from last year. Surely, Melrose will see its share. On top of that, Taymore and the rest of the school administrators have probably spent half of a million already in legal costs defending themselves from the Federal Office of Civil Rights for their civil rights transgressions: Ignoring victims and complainants who filed civil rights complaints and instead, retaliating against them.
I guess the result of this discussion is - you don't need to wait til the snow falls to get a "snow job" from this Melrose administration!
Free cash / slush fund - same difference.
The Weekly News reports average property taxes will increase by 3.5%. How can the bill increase 3.5% if the limit is 2.5% under Prop. 2 1/2?
Now we find out the surplus from last year pays off the entire snow removal bill and more money for schools and on and on. Through the whole override campaign they must have known they budgeted two million dollars more than they spent last year.
I supported the override, because they claimed revenues were maxed out. If I knew they were sitting on 2.5 million dollars, I wouldn't have voted for it.
Time to vote for a Prop. 2 1/2 UNDERRIDE instead!!
The money in free cash came from last fiscal year. The snow costs came from last fiscal year. Couldn't they simply have paid the money last year instead of carrying it over?
Wow....that would take common sense which is lacking in the current administration. Also, they probably didn't realize they had that much free cash around - or better yet - they forgot to pay off some of their friends and organizations.
I think they were holding off paying the snow bills to demonstrate they needed some of the 120 million in disaster aid approved by the Feds for Massachusetts. Melrose will certainly see some of that aid.
Nice thinking, Snow Job - bingo! Our Mayor and his cabal really know how to get those state/federal dollars!
Now the override looks like an entire fraud upon the residents of Melrose - shame on the Mayor, Board of Aldermen, School Committee and of course, the one who had much to gain from these shenanigans, Taymore! Who would ever believe this group of scoundrels again?
Well I am trying to be snarky! We've all been hood-winked - except that enough people in the city smelled a "rat" and voted no on the override. Those who voted for it, shame on them for going along with the charade or for their ignorance.
Can anyone answer these questions?
How can the average tax bill go up by 3.5% if the total revenue from the property tax base can't increase more than 2.5%?
Is it because businesses aren't assessed taxes to pay their fair share this year?
And why did businesses get a lower percentage increase than residential properties?
It would seem that the 3.5% increase is based on a 3.5% total increase in revenues based on increased assessments of properties, not on an increased rate of 3.5% per se.
I think the total amount taken in by the city for the so-called tax base can't go up by more than 2.5%. But that's only the base. The debt exclusions would add to it too. I'm not sure what else & I would be interested in knowing the answer.
It does seems odd that the property taxes can increase so much over the 2.5%. As admitted to by the city, it's the largest increase in 5 years.
This of course was conveniently hidden while the override was being sought. Because of course city hall knew there would be a big increase. The vote was only a month ago. Dishonest.
The tax levy can't increase by more than 2.5% except for new construction. Higher property assessments can't raise the amount of money of the tax levy. They only reduce the mil rate because they allow the tax levy to be divided up among more assessed value.
From the meeting:
July 1, 2015 Free Cash $3,398,353
July 1, 2014 Free Cash $3,183,025
July 1, 2013 Free Cash $2,195,074
July 1, 2012 Free Cash $1,966,044
July 1, 2011 Free Cash $1,463,899
Five Year Avg. Free Cash $2,441,279
That's about 3.4 million dollars this year. Quite a game has been played the last few years. The mayor groused about money while rolling in it. The 'need' for the override was nonexistent. Glad it failed.
Gee, I guess they would call that a Structural Surplus! Perhaps the mayor, superintendent of schools and CFO and others should just come clean and admit they have been fooling us with this "structural deficit" talk.
Fooling us? Not even close. They have been deliberately deceitful. Where I grew up, that's called lying.
If you want to see what happens when one of them gets caught in a lie, watch the last Alderman's get together at about 1:46.
Hopefully, this little burb is finally waking up from it's long sleep and is realizing what a bunch of unprincipled trash they really are. Everett 2.0.
Love the term "Structural Surplus"!
It's too bad the override didn't pass. The mayor would have used it and the $3.4 million surplus - total $5.6 million dollars - to hire 56 more community liaisons at $100,000 each and each of them would have been responsible for getting him 100 votes in the next override election. With that override money, he would hire 20 more community liaisons to get 100 votes each for him. Pretty soon the mayor would have more votes every election than there are people in Melrose.
"Actual Free Cash" - Where do you see those figures about free cash over the last 5 years? Was it said at the Dec 10 meeting? If so, around what time in the video?
The City Auditor read those numbers at 1:03:50 of the Dec. 10 meeting.
Why DON'T the aldermen budget the right amount for the schools from the beginning of each year? If they put the $600,000 in the city budget for the schools up front. Then there's no deficit. Don't see any good to holding it back and paying later. The money gets spent just the same.
Not only could they (SC AND BOA!) have budgeted correctly, they purposely didn't and don't. The Biz Mgr of the schools revealed a couple of months ago in public session that there was a $600,000+ surplus (due to their "careful" management and great...gush, gush, aren't we special, effusive self-praise, etc.). This amount could have and should have been the end of the "structural deficit" nonsense, but that wouldn't have happened because then the false (fraudulent) "basis" for the override arguments would have been obvious to all.