Nat, Get the shovel—Mona, Where’s the ladder? I got a great idea!
February 23, 2015 If nothing else, the current financial team at Ramapo Town Hall is consistent. You just know what you’re going to get every time this group comes up with what’s next. And their long-term track record? Multi-million-dollar new debt layered over the existing debt. They’ve cornered the most fiscally stressed town in New York award, year after year. You would think the three would have learned by now that you don’t get out of a hole by continuing to dig.
Their latest adventure had the trio, last fall, out at the money pit known as the Provident Bank Ballpark dropping in the ladder as the master builder clutched his shovel and descended into the $70-million-dollar hole, his feverish brain producing fading mutterings as he backed down the ladder: “An ice-skating rink. Genius, just genius. We’ll make hundreds of thousands.”
Well, even if you only casually have followed the exploits of this clueless gathering of Nat, Mona and the Supe, you probably can guess how this latest excavation turned out. Actually, you need only glance at two numbers from the latest hatful of dirt tossed up by the Supervisor: the total taken in for skater’s fees = $12,017, and the cost of renting the temporary rink = $113,600. That’s $12k in and $113k out—genius, just genius.
You knew it would fail, but who would have guessed that planting that patch of ice out in right field would cost us another $100,000+? Well, probably anybody who took the time to sketch out an actual business plan for this latest endeavor. Or anyone who has shuddered after sighting these three trudging around Ramapo with their shovels on their shoulders.
For a comprehensive view of finances for the Ramapo Ice Park, here’s the final reckoning as run by the financial software at Ramapo Town Hall on January 29:
The key number is the one in red marked “Running Balance” in the upper right. It’s in red because it’s a minus $128,909.00 that Ramapo taxpayers now owe for this project. That number is actually smaller than the final loss because the Town Clerk did not provide the labor costs in that Jan 29 run of the numbers. We can do that for them. Here’s what the payroll for people working at the site cost us all:
For each hour that the Ramapo Ice Park was open there were four workers present: 1 manager, 1 cashier, 1 skate guard, and 1maintenance person. Salaries for these people ranged from $8.50 an hour to $15.00 an hour. So, using an average $10/hour for the four personnel, times the number of hours open each week (30.5 hours Wed through Sunday), times the number of weeks open through the season (10 weeks from Nov 29 to Feb 1) we get: (30.5 × 4) × 10 = $1,220 per week × 8 weeks = $9,760 for payroll. That boosts the total hit for the taxpayers to $138,699 owed.
But doesn’t St. Lawrence’s RLDC (Ramapo Local Development Corporation) own the ballpark, and shouldn’t it be paying off these ridiculous losses? Well, check these two flyers announcing the Ramapo Ice Park.
The one on the top was scanned and sent to me by the Town Clerk along with the financial documents that we FOILed. That was in January 2015. The one beneath it, at the bottom was printed on November 19, 2014 from an email announcement from the Town. So, as indicated in the bottom right hand corner of the flyers, the Ramapo Ice Park was originally brought to you by: RLDC Ramapo Local Development Corporation. But then, somewhere along the line, that was changed to the Ramapo Ice Park is brought to you by the Town of Ramapo. Somebody, Mona, Nat, or the Supe, dumped a shovel full of dirt not only obliterating the RLDC from this mess, but also shifting the fiscal damages to the Town of Ramapo (read: you, the taxpayer).
Certainly the 30-year, multi-million-dollar debt for a stadium that loses tons of additional cash each season is bad enough, but to have this monumentally inept trio still digging holes in which they’re burying the taxpayers is crazy. It’s time to grab their shovels and boot them in the seat of their overalls. But don’t expect any help from Sleepy, Sneezy, Dopey and Doc back on the Town Board. Take a closer look at that group and you’ll notice each of them is clutching their own shovels behind their backs with sets of similarly soiled hands.
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