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Murray should provide answers to public, not belittle residents

Posted 10 April 2016 at 12:00 am

Editor:

Shame on the Murray Town Board. Yes, shame on you for treating Mr. Sidonio as a Second Class Citizen for expressing a legitimate concern and asking questions about the over-taxation of the water districts.

I realize the board doesn’t have to give an answer at the meeting but ultimately does have to answer the questions. Instead of treating him with respect you chose to take the stand in that you felt that he was not entitled to that information. In the manner in which you handled the situation you have created an atmosphere of suspicion within your Town Government – my opinion.

I will be referencing 2 “Letters to the Editor” or “Opinion Section” in the Orleans Hub, The Daily News and the Suburban News. Mr. Sidonio’s letter, “Murray Resident Believes Water Districts Have Been Overcharged,” March 14, 2016, and the Murray Town Board’s letter, “Well Managed Murray Water System (Should) be the Envy of Other Communities.” This letter apparently was supported by the Murray Town Board, because the names of the Town of Murray Supervisor and all other board members appeared at the conclusion. I think that one individual, maybe two were responsible for this masterpiece which was entirely without substance, and certainly no defining “true facts.”

Mr. Sidonio alluded to the NYS Comptroller’s Audit Report addressing shortcomings in the Town of Murray’s Capital Projects Accounts, (water districts). According to the Comptroller’s Audit the Town of Murray is unable to give a proper fiscal accounting of the funds so that its true financial condition is virtually unknown, (so much for the monthly Supervisor’s report).

Murray Town Board Rebuttal: The letter titled with the words (should be the envy) instead of (is the envy) should tell us who made the assumption. In the 1st paragraph, besides mocking and belittling Mr. Sidonio, they stated that “True Facts” on the funding of the Water Districts need to be explored. The citizens of the Town of Murray are still waiting for the “Explorers” to come out with the “True Facts.”

Mr. Sidonio: It’s apparent that the water district residents have been overtaxed for years. The special district tax levy should be the sum of the principal plus the interest on the loan to fund the waterline infrastructure, and nothing else.

Murray Town Board Rebuttal: It’s important to ask questions to ensure that tax dollars are “collected and spent properly.” Who is supposed to ask questions? The Board won’t answer. They claim that they have built a “Reserve Fund” into each water district for the sole purpose of fire protection, maintenance and other unexpected expenditures. OK, they must have the documentation. Estimated water usage for fires and training – how much? Estimated water loss from water main breaks – how much? Labor and materials to repair water main breaks, a known amount – how much? Water main testing and flushing on a regular basis a known amount – how much? Lost water – how much?

The Murray Town Board refers to a neighboring Town with a 60-million-gallon water loss. The intellects neglect to mention that there was no leak in that Town to support that loss. No 60 million gallon-sized puddle either. The trusting taxpayers had to pay for the mysterious disappearance of 60 million gallons of water due to poor fiscal accounting practices in the previous administration. Precisely what Mr. Sidonio is trying to point out and prevent from happening in his Town! I hope he is not too late!

Mr. Sidonio: It appears that the funds from the over taxation are no longer in the water district accounts, so where would it be?

Hopefully, enough people will take interest and make their presence known at the April 2016 Murray Town Board meeting. There, Supervisor Morriss with the help of the Town Attorney will provide the documentation showing everyone that their “Tax Dollars” have been properly spent after having been collected.

Allen Lofthouse
Kendall