Berne residents need the facts

To the Editor:

I looked at a table for the Albany County sales-tax revenue for April 2020. For April, Albany County was down 25 percent from last year. The town of Berne’s 2020 budget includes the 41 percent it expected to get from sales tax. With the COVID crisis, it is safe to say that we will not be getting the full 41 percent, if anything at all.  

I have found no indication that the Berne Town Board has addressed the current health and financial crisis. I do see that other Hilltowns such as Westerlo are working on trimming where it can in reaction to the current financial crisis caused by COVID-19. 

When reading about current expenditures made by the Berne Town Board, and highway-worker contracts being negotiated, I am concerned that the Berne Town Board has not planned ahead for our future. We should be planning for the worst and then hoping for the best.

Many Hilltown organizations, including churches, libraries, and firehouses, have fundraisers throughout the year that they depend on for their financial stability. Many fundraisers have been cancelled due to the COVID crisis. Everywhere you turn, there are people losing their jobs and businesses closing.

I believe that the actions, or should I say inaction, of the Berne Town Board this fiscal year will decide the future of our town. If the fund balance is gone and the town had an emergency, there would be no money readily available. The state controller’s office warns about the dangers of low fund balances that can put the town in a position where it needs to rely on short-term borrowing to bridge unforeseen deficits. 

If this board is so confident about our financial future and think that there are outrageous claims being made, I am asking them to kindly provide the letter to The Enterprise that was promised several weeks ago by Mr. [Supervisor Sean] Lyons to explain the town’s budget status and issues. 

We need the facts. We need to know our town is safe. We need to know that we are not headed towards a fiscal disaster leading into bankruptcy. We need to know that this board is working for us — the residents of the town of Berne.

JoAnne Brady

East Berne

Editor’s note: JoAnne Brady and Frank Brady, who also has a letter in this edition, are married.

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