Bloggers, talkers urged to get facts straight
Updated 3:15 pm, Thursday, February 17, 2011
It's budget season in New Milford.
Almost inevitably, blogged misinformation about finances appears to already be showing its hoary head.
Information put forward at the Feb. 10 Board of Finance meeting has circulated via the web as indicating auditor BlumShapiro reported the town to the state for non-cooperation in presenting the books.
Untrue, Board of Finance chairman Joanne Chapin said this week.
Ambulance barn bonding was blogged as having been misrepresented to the bonding agency. Again, untrue, board member Frank Wargo responded.
"If there was an audit issue, we would enter into a discussion with the town and work with them to resolve it," Mr. Ojakian said.
For Mayor Pat Murphy, the circulation of misinformation about finances is disturbing.
"Sometimes, someone takes information and tries to shift it so it fits their agenda; other times, people get confused," the mayor said.
She asked anyone with questions about the audit or budget "make an appointment and sit down with me or finance director Ray Jankowski.
"If it's a question about the schools, sit down with their finance guy, Greg Miller," she said. "Go right to the source."
Remembering last spring's often vitriolic exchanges, the mayor and Town Council members are asking town residents remain civil and be sure of their facts before representing the town's finances by either blog or word of mouth.
"With all the fiscal problems at state and federal levels at this time, I don't want to see that have an effect on the town budget going through," said Town Councilman Roger Szendy. "I don't want people to lash out in frustration and overall anger when they go into the voting booth."
As far as the 2010 fiscal year audit goes, it would not be a matter of the auditors reporting the town to the state, but of the town having to apply for a second extension.
While Mr. Jankowski is displeased with BlumShapiro for being late in completing the audit for the second year in a row, "everything is up to snuff on our end," Mrs. Chapin said.
As for misinformation being reported to the bonding agencies, minutes from the Feb. 10 finance board meeting indicate it is a matter of the "ambulance barn was paid for in the 2010 fiscal year."
Rather, "the permanent borrowing (for the barn) was not settled until the 2011 fiscal year" that makes the books seem to not reconcile, according to Mr. Jankowski.
A footnote is being added to the audit to explain, he concluded.