The last couple of weeks I have sat down to answer [Saugerties Republican Committee Chair Joseph] Roberti Jr.’s outrageous letters about me and current Town Board members and each time find it more and more difficult. He lies and stretches the truth on all issues to satisfy his desire to discredit me. For instance, the letter about the police consolidation. Ms. Myers did not enter “office with a deficit and facing over $1 million in new expenses due to the actions of her predecessor and the current Town Board.” This statement is not true. He says that he will have a series of letters in future weeks explaining this — should be interesting — and I will have letters defending myself in a professional and civil format.
The town did not lose the contribution by the village towards the police consolidation as he said. The agreement was up, there was nothing to lose, the agreement was done. There was no “hole in the budget.” “Since 2010 the town’s expenses for medical benefits, workers comp, social security and retirement increased by over $1 million,” Roberti said. Impossible, not true, cost of benefits were decreased for 2012 by the 2011 Town Board, a number Roberti throws out to scare people. Even if it was true, which it is not, how can the Town Board and I be blamed for that? We do not set Social Security, workers comp or retirement costs. His letter rambled on about savings and no savings, promised savings etc., all meant to confuse.
Let me briefly explain the purpose of the police consolidation. The police consolidation was planning for the future, being proactive. The village could not survive the future costs of the police department, as in a few years future. The village would have had to dissolve or hand over the police protection to the town, legally the town would have to provide the service, no questions asked. Turmoil would have followed; it took us two years of planning to have the seamless transfer we experienced. The two alternatives would not have allowed a planned smooth transition, which is what occurred. The village would also not have entered into the contract that provided the town with close to $400,000-plus in contribution to the consolidation and the state’s $160,000-plus contribution to the consolidation. The consolidation was done for the betterment of Saugerties, the future wellbeing of Saugerties. The state is encouraging consolidations and shared services state wide, monetary awards are being offered to assist the consolidations, hence the $160,000-plus we received. Saugerties has been a “poster child” on how we carried out the consolidation. Prior to leaving office I was a guest speaker about our consolidation at a New York State Association of Towns meeting and a guest panelist in Dutchess County at a Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress seminar on shared services/consolidations. We did it right and have been recognized for it. Police cost for two agencies before the consolidation $2.3 million, this year’s cost is $2.1 million.
Greg Helsmoortel served as Saugerties town supervisor from 1999-2011.