The following letter was published in this week’s issue of the Gazette.
To the Editor:
In the September 20-26 edition of this paper, the public heard for the first time from unopposed Croton Dems Trustee candidate Andy Simmons. Mr. Simmons chose to write to the community he will soon represent to extoll the virtues of his political organization for allegedly initiating much of what he loves about Croton. He also wrote that he would be addressing other issues in future letters to the members of the public.
With only two more editions of the paper before Election Day, after which Mr. Simmons will join the other members of the Village Board in the Cone of Silence that has descended over it due to the new “answer no questions from the public” policy which is vigorously enforced by the Mayor, Mr. Simmons has added only that he will join the rest of the board in pursuing an aggressive pro-environment agenda. For many reasons, this is not exactly a surprise.
I’d like to know his answers to a few questions about a more mundane local matter: village finances.
Mr. Simmons, when your political party had one-party control of the village between 2009 and 2015, village debt increased by 90%, making Croton one of the most heavily indebted villages of its size in all of New York State. During the two years your party was out of power, the village adopted a debt policy developed by financial professionals to reduce the amount of village debt by limiting general fund debt payments to 16% or less of total appropriations and requiring the village to issue less debt than was retired each fiscal year. The Pugh administration has proposed a capital budget which, according to the Village Manager, will require the village to abrogate this policy in order to borrow more than $4 million dollars next year, increasing total village debt to almost $40 million.
Do you support your party’s plans to abrogate the debt policy and increase village debt next year by borrowing more than $4 million? And if so, how do you justify this borrowing in light of the predicted likelihood that village expenditures will exceed total village revenues within just a few years of today?