Research reveals Town of Ramapo Still most fiscally stressed in the
Posted January 22nd, 2015
Rockland County Times Commentary
What, me worry?
When the New York
Comptroller’s list of most fiscally stressed local governments for
the fiscal year 2013 came out in 2014, the Town of Ramapo was
conspicuously absent after ranking as the number one most stressed
town for the fiscal year ending 2012.
Local sleuth for the
Ramapo GOP Committee Bill Weber thought that didn’t quite add up.
Upon researching the matter Weber discovered a few interesting
things. For starters, the Town of Ramapo filed its financial reports
late in 2014, thus avoiding mention on the list. It turns out that
if a government files their papers late, they do not get ranked on
the list and the Comptroller’s Office makes no effort to amend the
list later when they do file.
Their lateness worked in
the favor of town officials.
When the Comptroller’s
Office provided Weber with the math formula used to determine the
fiscal stress list, Weber plugged the financial numbers in and found
out the Town of Ramapo still ranks as the most fiscally stressed
town in the state, and is just behind nearby Village of Suffern and
the County of Rockland for most fiscally stressed government overall
in the state. In fact, the town’s score is significantly worse than
Weber told the Rockland
County Times, “It is imperative that all government entities, and
most especially those towns that are in significant fiscal stress,
file their financial data with the NYS Comptroller’s Office in a
timely fashion so that the state can evaluate the fiscal health of
those government entities and make recommendations or take
appropriate action where and when needed.”
Former Ramapo GOP
supervisor candidate Marino Fontana added, “The Town of Ramapo did
not release their 2013 financials in a timely manner. This resulted
in New York State not ratings the town’s fiscal health. Because of
this we felt it was in the people and town’s best interest to know
where we stand financially.”
When the matter of the
town’s stress rating was brought up at a town board meeting, Weber
said Ramapo Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence tried to blame 2012
the numbers on faulty bookkeeping by his nemesis Melissa Reimer,
former town finance director. However, documents revealed St.
Lawrence signed off on the numbers himself and Reimer already had
been ostracized long before the 2013 reports were made.