Who are we? What do we do? Why are we doing this? Simple: Our mission is to reduce property taxes. Our agenda is very straight forward. Get involved! Join us!
The Clarkstown Taxpayers general membership meeting Thursday 4/18 at the Nanuet Library featured guest speaker Tim Hoefer of the Manhattan Institute and drew a large turnout of interested and concerned Residents.
Frank Grandel, President of the 600 plus member non-political group, outlined the Group's mission and spoke of various Town Board approved (most unanimously) excesses, which contribute to our extremely high property taxes, discouraging young families from settling here, and driving out long time residents.
Among the items Mr. Grandel listed were Clarkstown's excessive Police Salaries, in addition to overtime and benefit costs, 24/7 use of town Vehicles, town employees cell charges, as well as hiring of political operatives to high paying patronage positions in the town. Residents were urged to pay attention, become more involved by attending Town Board meetings and voice disapproval of reckless spending by this board. The Taxpayer group distributed a handout with detailed figures on overtime including a listing of the 2012 top 10 employees salaries and overtime amounts.
Mt Hoefer presented eloquent, factual documentation, and provided numerous papers the Institute has published related to NY State mandates and regulations indicating a $665 million shortfall in unfunded State healthcare benefits, plus millions of pension contributions owed by Towns and Cities all of which bode difficult financial times ahead unless changes are made NOW. Specifically the State Taylor law, Triborough Amendment, and Arbitration procedures all require updating that acknowledge the difficult and changed financial environment citizens and private enterprise face in today's economy. Tim recommended we call, email and write our State representatives to work on these items. The Triborough Amendment for example must be renewed every 2 years and is up for renewal again this year.
The Taxpayers organization invited our local NY State Representatives to attend but were advised they were in Albany, however to our dismay no one from their staff attended in order to take the message back.
Many attendees expressed serious concerns about seemingly unending tax increases and indebtedness of Clarkstown. One resident indicated Stockton California, which recently filed bankruptcy, has less total debt than Clarkstown--A frightening up call to action if there ever was one!! The message is clear ---without forceful-consistent action by local citizens imploring officials at the local and state level to recognize times have changed demanding the need to reverse trends caused by outdated rules enacted in far better economic times which have disappeared and are now history.
In what will be the first installment in a continuing series of disclosures of how your tax dollars are spent, we begin with earlier this year:
Hello to all. I'm Frank Grandel, your new President of the Clarkstown Taxpayers. Having served in the vice-president position, from the very beginnings of our group, I am proud to accept the responsibility and continue our progress in trying to achieve our goals outlined in our Mission Statement.
But first things first. Our outgoing president Guy Gervasi needs to be recognized. After joining up with us as we were first creating our organization, Guy dedicated countless hours,shared with us his expertise in accounting, and offered many insights to help us grow. Believing in what it was we were trying to accomplish, he committed himself with how he felt was his civic duty to make us a strong voice for the overtaxed citizens. I commend him for that devotion and, along with our steering committee, give a big "Thank-you" to Guy. It is well deserved - best wishes in all your future endeavors.
Do come back soon,as I will be posting an important message on our outlook for the coming year. In the interim, enjoy all of the Holidays and wishing you a Happy New Year.
What seems to be good for the goose, the gander now tries. W. Ballard, our Superintendent of Highways, has been watching all the patronage appointments and political cronyism being made by the Clarkstown Town Board to secure their re-election that he has now jumped on the bandwagon to secure his own future re-election.
Mr. Ballard just hired a new “Constituent Service Ass’t”, aka customer service agent, to answer phones and field residents’ complaints and needs. While the position is laudable, Mr. Ballard’s choice to fill this position and to pay an outrageous salary is despicable. Ballard’s choice for this job out of the 260 resumes that he received is our own Rockland County legislator, F. Sparaco. Mr. Sparaco was hired for this 25 hour/week job at an annual salary of $75,000, which is equivalent to an outrageous hourly rate of $60/hr. Don’t you think that out of 260 resumes in these hard economic times that Ballard could find a non-political person to fill this job for less than $20/hr? I guess not when your main criteria for hiring a person is to secure the ballots lines of the Republican and Independence Parties with the political appeasement of V. Reda, the head of the Republican Party and his associate, F. Sparaco, who secretly controls the Independence Party.
Supervisor Gromack continually says government service is a NOBLE profession, but it is too bad that the people that practice this profession, politicians, are far from NOBLE with politicians having one of the lowest approval ratings of any profession.
In our attack on Patronage in Clarkstown, Mr. Savino seems to think that the Clarkstown Taxpayers have orchestrated a politically motivated attack on him. The only political motivation that the Clarkstown Taxpayers have is to rid our Town Board of the entrenched politicians (think Term Limits) that continue to hand out patronage jobs. Savino’s appointment by Supervisor Gromack is just the most recent example of a patronage appointment by the Clarkstown Town Board. Savino, who just happens to be the head of the Bronx Republican Party, was hired to handle the town’s tax cert cases. However, according to Savino, he has never represented a municipality in a tax cert case; and then when the Palisades Mall challenged its assessment, Gromack chooses another law firm to handle this case. Such is the confidence that Gromack places in the ability of Savino, his most recent patronage appointment.
The Clarkstown Taxpayers are not accusing Mr. Savino of any wrong doings, but rather are asking the Town Board why they were willing to hire a law firm from outside of Rockland with no tax cert experience that had a past association with politicians of dubious backgrounds.
While Savino is the most recent patronage appointment, the history of patronage in Clarkstown is legendary. Isn’t it odd that M. Coopersmith, who headed the local Independence Party and gave the party’s endorsement come election time to the incumbents, had a high paying job in Clarkstown until she lost the Independence Party, then she was let go. Isn’t it also odd that E. Lettre, co-chair of the local Conservative Party, has a high paying job in Clarkstown and M. Loeffler, the other co-chair of the Conservative Party, also had a high paying job in Clarkstown. Both of these Clarkstown employees always gave their party’s endorsement come election time to the incumbents. Finally, is it a coincidence that the recently hired Deputy Town Attorney is the son of Harriet Cornell, the head of the Rockland County legislature.
Clarkstown is a great town, but it could be greater if employees and contractors were truly hired for WHAT they know rather than WHO they know.
Patronage in the Town governments and in the government of Rockland County? We hear about them all of the time - they are said to be everywhere - but some of them must be 'phantoms' as seldom does anyone name these chimeras and tell us where exactly we should look to find them. To find out who they are click the Read More button.
At the beginning of this year, Supervisor Gromack did not renew the contract of Deputy Town Attorney M. Coopersmith supposedly to save money. However the real reason seems to be that once she lost the chairmanship of the Independent Party, she was a no further use to Gromack and the rest of the Town Board because she couldn't give them the Independent Party line on the ballot any more. To compound this unethical behavior, Gromack and the Town Board then hired an outside law firm from the Bronx, represented by Mr. Savino, to take over Ms. Coopersmith's work, which was mainly tax certiorari issues. Not only was this a patronage appointment for Savino, but this appointment seems to have skirted around NYS Open Meeting rules. Mr. Savino just happens to be the head of the Bronx Republican Party and he and his law firm have NO experience in tax cert. matters. Even Town Board member S. Hausner, who never seems to disagree with Gromack, said about the Savino hiring: "There are individuals more qualified than Savino and they may not come with his baggage" To find out more about this baggage and the seemingly unethical dealings of our Town Board, please click on the READ MORE button below.
Supervisor Gromack, acting as Santa Claus at Christmas, gave raises to all union and non-union town employees for 2012. While most raises were a modest 2%, certain privileged town employees received much larger raises, including: Supt. of Parks (6% raise) to $155,000/yr.; Clerk of the Works (Lettre-co-chair of the local Conservative Party-5.7% raise) to $169,000/yr.; and the Director of Environmental Control (5.3% raise) to $188,000/yr. Overall, the Clarkstown salaries for full time employees, excluding hourly paid employees, is up $2.8 million in 2012, which amounts to a 7% increase over 2011. Of this total increase, the police department's salaries are up $2.2 million, mainly because of all the back pay owed them from the recent arbitration award. This $2.8 million increase in salaries represents a 2% increase in Clarkstown's total 2012 budget.
The problem in Clarkstown with even 2% raises is that these raises are now added to town employee salaries that are already extremely high when compared to similar jobs in private industry or in other towns. Examples of these already bloated town salaries, excluding benefits and over time, where applicable, are shown below and you can see all the salaries of the Clarkstown employees by name and position by clicking the READ MORE icon below.
Justice Clerk: $114,000/yr
Chief of Staff to Gromack: $112,000/yr
Ass't Comptroller: $105,000/yr
Town Attorney: $156,000/yr
Recreation Supv.: almost $100,000/yr
Auto Mechanics: almost $90,000/yr
Groundskeepers: over $70,000/yr
Hwy. Equipment Operators: $80,000/yr
Hwy. Main. Supv.: $100,000/yr
Hwy. Dept. Confidential Secretary: $100,000/yr
Police Chief: $258,000/yr
The Town has given a number of its department heads a special, highly lucrative contract, which gives these managers the protection of a union contract while at the same time the high salaries of management.
|»||To be an information source for the residents by watching how the Town Board spends your money|
|»||To significantly reduce town expenses and taxes|
|»||To pass an 8 year Term Limit resolution to eliminate patronage and cronyism is town politics|
|»||To cap public employee compensation|
CLICK HERE to view and print an Informational Flyer about the Clarkstown Taxpayers