More Woes for Town of Fishkill
By Michael Boyajian
The Senator Stephen Saland bill proposing that the Town of Fishkill be allowed to issue bonds to cure its $6.5 million deficit has been amended with a requirement that the Town’s bond hearing be open to the public.
This demand for transparency is considered by many to be a blow to the often secretive Town government that often ignores requirements for the inclusion of the public or side steps such requirements by calling an executive session during public meetings and going behind closed doors only to emerge after confused members of the public have left.
The Town accumulated the $6.5 million deficit over the course of a number of years and is reeling from the downgrading of its debt by Moody’s to just above junk bond status. The Town blames the deficit on the housing bubble however its spending began long before the bubble.
The deficit just adds to the avalanche of problems facing the shaken Town government and includes a controversial development project that threatens the pure water supply of 50,000 people and an accumulated debt built up by the questionable construction of a new police super station and underutilized recreation center.
Citizens are also concerned by the Town’s plans for the old Texaco campus and by the tax situation in the Town. The Town claims not to have raised taxes using an assessment shell game to make its point that it has cut taxes. However, one home owner reported that her taxes were only lowered by a paltry $3 and expects those taxes to raise with property values.
So the Town finds itself caught between a rock and a hard place and on the defensive with community leaders and rising discontent coming from frustrated voters who question the Town’s ongoing responses to the crisis’s facing residents.