What is the Town of Sweden government trying to hide? And why won’t they answer a simple question about their 2016 tentative budget? The Sweden Republicans say they are cooperative, but they are not.
In the General Fund- Revenue section of the 2016 tentative budget, Item number A.2001is PARK AND RECREATION CHARGES. In the 2015 budget this revenue item was for $260,000.00. In the 2016 tentative budget the town is projecting that this item will bring in $245,000.00 of revenue for the town.
That is a lot of money so it is reasonable for Sweden taxpayers to ask where that money comes from. But the town has absolutely refused to reveal what the Park and Recreation revenues are, and they have refused to reveal where this seemingly phantom money comes from. Maybe the members of the town government just pulled the numbers out of their backsides.
It is bad enough the 2016 Tentative Budget published by the town is impossible to read online. The cover page is printed sideways, and so are pages 1 through 3 so you can’t read any of the writing on those pages online. To make matters worse, pages 4 and 5 of the town’s 2016 Tentative Budget are printed upside down. That’s right, those pages are printed upside down, so if you want to read them online, you either have to stand on your head or turn your computer upside down.
Barring that, if you want to read the Town of Sweden’ s 2016 tentative budget, you either have to download the pdf file and then use Adobe Acrobat to correct all of the page layout mistakes made by the town government, or you have to print the pages and turn the pages in the right direction yourself.
But when you ask the town a simple question about the tentative budget, they respond that their attorney has told them that they don’t have to answer you. Here is the question: “Can you please explain to me what this budget item means – item A.2001, PARK AND RECREATION CHARGES?”
Instead of answering the questions, Town Financial Director Leisa Strabel replied by sending sent a copy of “the 2014 Year End Trial Balance and the 2015 Trial Balance through August 31, 2015 in a tab delimited text file.” Those text files are just a long list of the budget items. Neither of them defines what the Park and Recreation revenues are. The entries in the 2014 Year End Trial Balance look like this.
R…A…1550……A.1550…PUBL POUND CHRG & DOG CTRL FEES…-2245
R…A…2001……A.2001…PARK AND RECREATION CHARGES…-207542.04
R…A…2011……A.2011…SENIOR CENTER PROGRAM FEES…-5965.76
When it was pointed out that this information did not answer the question, Town Clerk Karen Sweeting replied: “Based upon the review of the Sweden Town Attorney and the Finance Director, it is my understanding that we have provided all the documents required under FOIL to fulfill this request.”
Instead of answering the simple question and providing a definition of what the Park and Recreation revenue is, the Town Clerk turned the matter over to the town attorney. What is the Town of Sweden government trying to hide? It seems pretty obvious that they are trying to hide their own incompetence.