Monday, June 4, 2012

Southbridge Town Budget Available On-Line Courtesy of Dennis Martinek



Southbridge town council candidate Dennis Martinek has made all 268 pages of the FY 2013 Southbridge town budget available on-line.

It can be downloaded in PDF format at this location: 2013 Southbridge Town Budget.


Why couldn’t’ the town do this before it was voted on?



UPDATE: Dennis’ latest campaign video, “The Access Road: The Khyber Pass” is also now available.

19 comments:

  1. This is really the budget? A bunch of poorly labeled, photocopied pages? What century are we in here? No wonder Soutbridge's "finances" are such a mess. They can't even create a proper PDF in the town hall. We've got crooked, photocopied pages, some pages with corrupted data, unclearly titled expenditures. Thanks for posting this. It's clear that we have people handling 10s of millions in funds and appropriations that can't even make a proper photocopy. This is ridiculous. No wonder the council and manager can spend money however they want. Expenditures are barely comprehensible on this "budget".

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    Replies
    1. By the way, how can I take a budget seriously when we have departments asking for thousands for purchases and they can't even use spell check?

      Delete
    2. In all fairness, Dennis prepared the PDF. I also downloaded the document, and while all pages were clear some were indeed off-center.
      Nevertheless, I give all credit to a private citizen who got the document and took a great deal of time to make PDF copies of all 268 pages and then post them to be available to everybody.
      I sure as hell didn’t see anybody else bothering to do it.

      Delete
    3. My apologies for that. I didn't realize it was a homemade version. I thank Dennis for putting in the effort to provide us with this document.

      Still, I hope I'm not going to become too annoying on your blog, Kenny. I will start with a lot of questions about expenditures labeled as "capital improvement" for the DPW. What gives? Am I misunderstanding the definition of Capital Improvement? And what's wrong with a backhoe from 1995? The MBTA has been using locomotives built in the 40s! Where are the $23000 in trade-ins coming from on the directors truck? New explorers cost 10000 less. Think about how we feel, watching the high and mighty DPW Director drive a shiny new SUV whenever he wants, wherever he wants, paid for by the town. We can't keep enough teachers to fill our gleaming new (state funded) school.

      $45000 for a new SUV for the fire chief at a time when we have to cut nearly $800,000 from the School Budget? Is BB going to have to teach the kids by himself?

      I don't intend to belittle the work that goes into preparing a budget. There are many things that departments need, but I shouldn't hold my breath that anyone on the council will scrutinize these budgets appropriately.

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    4. You are by no means annoying.

      I don't have answers to your questions.

      My point is, if Dennis could do this, if - at $.20 per page it would have cost residents over $50.00 to get a copy of this - why couldn't this have been made available to residents before the budget hearing?

      Remember Chair Nikolla's remark that nobody attends these hearings? Could that be because they don't have these critical facts before those sham hearings?

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    5. I'm sure if the public had better access, or were even awareness of this budget plan, we would have more involvement. One wouldn't even have to print many copies if several 3-ring-binders with plastic sheets were available at the town hall for anyone to view.

      Better still, if we had appropriations for the town website, in conjunction with the towns IT needs, we could have a link to view the budget. It would be even more cost effective than paper, easier to archive, and more difficult to manipulate or make fraudulent.

      Delete
    6. Dennis J. MartinekJune 4, 2012 at 7:40 PM

      iq,

      When I asked Yvonne for a copy of the budget, she asked me which section. The more I pushed for the entire document, the more she pushed for which section. I felt as if she were trying to find out what I was looking for.

      Sometimes, when someone asks for something, you just give it to them as requested.

      It also brought to mind the nepotism situation in the town government...assistant to the TM, Building Inspector, and now, grandson, cable director number 3 since Zotos left.

      That's how and why the TM is growing government in Southbridge, and makes decisions based on subjectivity, in my opinion.

      Since the current councilors like bylaws, they should add one limiting a town job to one person per immediate family? What do you think?

      Delete
    7. Dennis J. MartinekJune 4, 2012 at 9:00 PM

      Just an FYI...the pages weren't scanned crooked. That's the way that the document was provided to me. Crooked. Maybe a Freudian slip?

      :)

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  2. Not to mention that not one capital projects request even comes close to adressing the details listed on sections 8 - 11 on request forms. So we're just supposed to take in good faith, from the DPW, that things just "cost what they cost"? Would someone illuminate for me the accountability behind these decisions?

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    Replies
    1. Even if these budgets were available in three ring binders, how many people could go down to town hall and go through 268 pages?

      Access to the internet is dramatically greater than it was when I was on the council.

      Our town website is as archaic as Myspace.

      There is no reason why this document could not have been available on an up-to-date site that does more than promoting “feel-good” events and our local trashlord.

      Delete
    2. I'm sorry.
      That's unfair to Myspace.

      Delete
    3. Dennis J.MartinekJune 4, 2012 at 5:54 PM

      Apparently we are supposed to accept all of it at face value. Looking forward to the debate to discuss several of the questionable items.

      BTW, sorry the copy was crooked in places, but that's the way it was on the hard copy they gave me. I could show you, it's pretty sad...but it beats everyone paying $54 for it.

      I just hope everyone reads it as you and I have. It's fascinating to see all the fat they will never bump into...is it any wonder our budget is so damn high, along with our taxes?

      Feel free to visit www.VoteForDennis.com to read my article on on the lack of technology in Southbridge, as well as the lack of transparency.

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    4. @ D. Martinek

      Would it be possible for to create a PDF Sampler consisting of a few budget pages?
      A modest number will do: 2-4 pages.

      I can't be the only one that's curious.

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    5. Yes, but it would depend on which 2-4 pages you'd want. You can easily print a page, a page range, or, if you want to kill a forest, the whole document.

      Delete
    6. @ Dennis

      I'd settle for "The Operating Budget Summary" or "The Capital Budget Project Listing".

      Thanks

      Delete
    7. email me at dennisjmartinek@me.com and when I come up for air, I'll send it to you!

      Delete
  3. aka Jester

    @ iq

    Look to Understanding Municipal (Muni) Bond Ratings. Key Criteria pre-exist (5 Approx.) that will ultimately all factor into establishing a Muni Bond's Rating.

    Start Your Journey Visiting:

    #1) Municipal Bond Rating Definition
    ....By Jason Van Steenwyk , eHow Contributor

    “When a county or state government or agency needs to raise money, it issues a bond. A bond is a promise to repay borrowed money according to a set schedule. Municipal bonds are backed by the government's ability to tax, or *enforce the collection of revenues from other sources*. However, investors must balance the revenue-raising potential of government entities against their obligations, available reserves and overall economic prospects. Because few investors have the time and expertise to thoroughly evaluate these factors, they frequently delegate these tasks to bond rating agencies, who assign a letter grade to municipal bond issues based on their assessment of the borrower's ability to repay the debt on schedule.”

    Then gingerly advance yourself to:

    #2) City Mayors: Municipal Bonds
    ....Search: Citymayors.com/finance/bonds.html

    "City Mayors explains municipal bonds in the US ... Code of Ethics serves as a benchmark to honest and open local government"

    "20 March 2012: Infrastructure in the US is generally financed through sub-national capital financing vehicles, termed municipal bonds, which encompass the issuance of bonds by state and local governments, their agencies and quasi-public bodies generically termed special districts. While the term comprises issuers other than municipalities, the first bond of this trail-blazing genre was issued in 1812 by New York City. This pioneering debt instrument was a general obligation bond, which meant that it was backed by the taxing power and tax revenues of the issuers."

    If Time Permits...Briefly Stop at:

    #3) Fidelity.com/bonds/municipal
    #4) View: Pioneer Investment Video

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for clearing that up for me. So according to your last paragraph, basically and historically, our country takes on debt to build roads?

      Delete
    2. aka Jester

      @ iq

      The operative word missing is: "Additional".

      "...Our country takes on "Additional" debt to build roads".

      Delete

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