D&C sportswriter Sal Maiorana’s description of the Miami Dolphins in yesterday’s 40-14 blowout loss to the Buffalo Bills is a perfect description of the Sweden Town Council, a dysfunctional, uninterested bunch of buffoons. First they exceed the New York State tax cap by raising town taxes by 5.09% when the tax cap was 1.56%. Then they gave themselves an undeserved 2% pay increase. Even their pay raise exceeded the tax cap.
This week, the Sweden Republicans published an ad in the Suburban News in which they claim to have acted responsibly, when in fact they have been the most irresponsible bunch of buffoons in the history of the Town of Sweden. For some reason they think it was responsible for Sweden to be one the few towns that exceeded New York State’s property tax cap. Last year, 879 of the 932 towns in New York State stayed within the property tax cap. But the Republican members of the Sweden Town Council are patting themselves on the back because they failed to do so.
Then they used the taxpayer-funded Town of Sweden Snapshots insert in the Suburban News to claim that they have already accomplished something in the future, even though it hasn’t happened yet. That is a disgrace.
“A dysfunctional, uninterested bunch of buffoons.”
The members of the Sweden Town Council shouldn’t try to pass off their pipe dreams as facts. That would be like Dolphin’s coach Joe Philbin telling the media that, “We got our butts kicked yesterday, but remember we have already beaten the Bills in the game that we haven’t played yet at Ralph Wilson Stadium in November”.
At this point in time it is insane for the members of the Sweden Town Council to say that they have already succeeded in doing something that they haven’t done yet. Anything can happen between now and the moment the town’s 2016 budget is passed.
The town hall could burn down. There could be an explosion at the town garage that destroys equipment worth millions of dollars. Or, God forbid, Leisa Strabel could have a heart attack or a stroke. What would the Sweden Town Council do if Leisa Strabel were disabled? There is ample evidence that she is the only person in the town hall who can read a spreadsheet, and she seems to be the lynchpin of the entire town government. She does all the things that the members of the town council are supposed to do, but don’t bother to do.
The ad in the Suburban News also claims that the Sweden Republican candidates tell the truth. Right! If you believe that one then you’re probably ready to buy some ocean front property in Arizona or a mountaintop cottage in Nebraska.
The members of the Sweden Town Council claim they make fact-based decisions, but they can’t supply any facts for why they threw the Brockport Ambulance Corps under the bus. They can’t explain why they gave the ambulance contract to a for-profit company, despite the fact that the Brockport Volunteer Ambulance Corps was honored by the Monroe-Livingston Regional EMS Council with its EMS Agency of the Year Award for 2014.
But the biggest distortion in the ad for the Sweden Republican candidates has to be their claim that “We are transparent”. What BS! This is 2015, and Sweden residents still can’t contact their elected officials in the town by email.
According to the Town of Sweden website, the only member of the Sweden Town Council who has a town email account is Supervisor Rob Carges. To contact any of the Councilpersons, you have to send an email to the Director of Finance, Leisa Strabel.
Beyond a doubt, Leisa Strabel knows the town finances a lot better than any of the members of the Town Council, but why on earth does the Town Council think it is a good idea to burden her with the chore of having to sort through all the emails Sweden residents send to the members of the Town Council? That is classic irresponsible leadership. With all the financial problems the Town of Sweden has, especially its failure to stay with the tax cap this year, wouldn’t it make a lot more sense to have Leisa Strabel spend more of her time trying to straighten out the budget mess the members of the Town Council have created?
Each of town judges has his own town email address. Town Clerk Karen Sweeting has her own town email account. Receiver of Taxes & Assessments, Kathy Bahr Seever has her own town email account, and Superintendent of Highways, Brian Ingraham .also has his own town email account. But Deputy Supervisor Robert Muesebeck does not have his own town email account, and neither do Councilpersons Donald Roberts, Rebecca Donohue, or Danielle Windus-Cook. That doesn’t make any sense.
Last year, a Sweden resident got fed up with not being able to contact the members of the Sweden Town Council and decided to check the other townships in Monroe County to see if this is a common practice. He found that it was not. There are 29 municipalities in the county, and the Town of Sweden is the only municipality in Monroe County where you cannot contact the council persons directly.
But nothing the Sweden Republicans have done lately makes sense; from giving themselves a 2% pay raise as they were breaking the tax cap, to terminating the contract with the Brockport Ambulance Corps, to paying the salaries of three judges when the law only requires the town to have two, especially since the case load in the town court is drastically smaller than it used to be after the village decided to establish a village court because the town had so badly mismanaged the town court.
To make things even worse, if you want to contact the Town of Sweden Snapshots, you have to “Send ideas, comments and suggestions to Leisa Strabel at the Sweden Town Hall”. Maybe town residents should contact Leisa Strabel, and suggest that the members of the Town Council should join the rest of the 21st Century by getting their own email accounts.