$21,913.02 Interest is appropriate

Sussex County Online User Forums: Fenwick Island Discussion Forum: $21,913.02 Interest is appropriate
By Soulman on Friday, May 23, 2003 - 02:34 pm:

This is from the May 2003 "Dear Neighbors" letter sent out this week.The council says this amount is appropriate since the the Town earned interest on the funds held in high-interest savings accounts. "This issue is now closed with minimal cost to the town" First, Where can I find a savings account that pays high interest? Second, This issue will NOT be closed until after election day, minimal costs are way too much when ther should have been NO COST WHATSOEVER. They also convieniently forgot quite a few other costs, including the biggest cost Legal Fees, and the clock is still running on those folks. And the Hits keep right on comin'. Also did some counting and noticed that The Concerned Citizens of Fenwick Island, have a lot of people with the same last name. If you count, they represent 14 Families. I can't help but wonder what their concerns really are?

By Elsie Weistling on Sunday, May 25, 2003 - 04:14 am:

Soulman, My name was not on the particular list of Concerned Citizens to which you refer. I am about to write my own personal opinion here and represent no one but myself in doing so. But, I too am concerned.

I would guess that you were not at the May 23rd nor last month's (April's) Town Meeting or you could clearly see what the Concerned Citizens are concerned about. Last month, the dramatics performed by particular Council Members because one particular member of the public had the audacity to ask questions of the Council regarding current year costs was downright disgusting in my opinion. It was way over the top of acceptable behavior! The man from the public had put his request in writing as required by Council. He was asking a question he had the legal right to ask of them.

Some members of Council suggested that it would cost well over $70 an hour for a minimal amount of hours to bring someone in to find that information. The particular Council Members diverted the issue enough that the person who sent in the request, in my opinion, "settled" for seeing purchase orders instead of what he asked to see. Chalk up another win for the Council in not replying to a direct question with a direct answer, ergo not being open and accountable, in my opinion.

If the office keeps current records like most businesses, the info requested should be simply in the file cabinet for the current year's expenses, not even in the "attic" as proclaimed by another Council Person. Even if the paperwork was all the way in the attic, it was this year's papers and the attic is only one flight up. Give me a break!
The info should also be in a cash disbursements or payables report and in the general ledger. It would be also in the detail of the budget report summary line items supplied to Council and the Public every month.

On a related subject, the thought
that info from the time of
the "old computer system"
can't be accessed is a bit farfetched too, in my opinion. They got audits completed, so the info exists in some form enough to be verified to the satisfaction of the auditor. It has been stated during public meetings that August through December of the current fiscal year has already been reviewed by the Auditor. The printouts should be somewhere accessible without going into the old computer system. Even if they aren't, the original invoices should be and the old checkbook register in whatever form it took should be accessible. The excuse that the auditor has it as was told to me by a particular Councilperson doesn't make it inaccessible.

I personally think that the recorded tape of last month's meeting should go directly to the member of the State Attorney General's office that researches FOIA complaints just to show them what our public has to go through just to get some information that our public has every right to see and know about as taxpayers. It is unbelievable to me that some Council Members acted out this way knowing the tape was running that could prove them so obviously uncooperative.

Beyond that issue, the audience (FICC members in particular) was, inappropriately in my opinion, especially in terms of point of order, reemed a "new one" by two Council Members last month. This month it was by a different Councilperson during Public Participation, though he was a bit more subtle and subdued in his version. Back in high school are we!

Reading a letter not even addressed to the Town Council into the record during the Administrative Report that was written by a man sitting in the audience at the time without his permission, in my opinion, was very unacceptable and self-serving and indicative of the attitude of admonishment Council seems to display regularly towards its audience. Does this mean Council will once again read all letters into the record as used to be the practice in the not too distant past? I trust not!

Another concern of this citizen has to do with the Town's auditor directive to the Council to virtually rid the Budget Report of large amounts in Miscellaneous accounts and to begin new classifications in order to reflect better reporting. For months the Council has disregarded this advice, suggesting they cannot do it this year and will begin it with the new budget year beginning in August. I heartily disagree with Council on that.

They amend the budget almost monthly of late for additional costs that come to their attention. They even have violated their own theory because they have added the line regarding Contract Services.
Again I say, give me a break, Council.
Resolve to show your expenses correctly currently. Reclassify the expenses and reflect them properly currently as your auditor directed you to do almost at the beginning of this fiscal year. All it takes is a motion to amend the budget. Your p/t contract service accountant could come up with the particular details for this with relative ease and if he can't, your auditor could and if they both cost too much, I will do it for you for free. You know I am qualified to do so.

Now for the latest new concern, the audience is not allowed to say a word before the Public Participation portion near the end of the Regular Town meeting. What good does it do anyone to speak up after the vote on an issue is complete? Doesn't this reflect that Council is not interested in the public's view on issues?

Then, there's this month's ridiculous episode that occurred over an offer to Council by the Chamber and a business group of an opportunity to participate in an occasion to promote business in the Town and, at the same time, to possibly celebrate the 50th birthday or anniversary of the town. Even if the Council Members are correct in not participating in any advertising for something they don't appear to understand the parameters of, the manner in which they handled it was very offensive to me and I wasn't involved directly or indirectly other than as an observer. Of course, it was not during Public Participation, but rather during New Business, so no one not directly involved could address what was occurring.

As one of the reasons for non-participation in the suggested activity, a particular Council Member suggested that the Town already had a plan to celebrate the Town's 50th birthday. He suggested that the Beach Party was designed for that purpose.
What a crock!
The Beach Party is designed to benefit the Beach Patrol as a fundraiser to provide for additional equipment unfunded by the budget. According to one non-councilperson member of the committee, there was no mention of the Beach Party being affiliated with the 50th of the town in the Beach Party planning meeting held last week. Even during that same regular Town Meeting of Friday May 23, the Commissioner of Beach Safety made reference essentially that he is not heading the planning committee (though may be facilitating it) because it is the Guards' project and fundraiser, not Council's.

Soulman, you saw through the explanation about it costing the public very little in interest dollars. Come to the meetings and see for yourself what the other concerns really are.

Even as a Fenwick Island Concerned Citizen, I have very often been a Council Advocate within the group, taking up for them, educating those who didn't know that what they were thinking wasn't quite as they depicted by pointing out what occurred before the concerned were going to meetings (in Council's defense) and trying to remind of all of the good things accomplished by the base long term members of this Council over many years. That's why my name was not on the letter you referenced.

I am wearing down though.
Some Council members act like they think we should believe that something isn't doable because they say it isn't. I react with "why don't you want to do this?" The only answers I can come up with are not complimentary.

Give me something positive to work with here, Council. What I am having trouble with is your words or your actions including the disapproving looks and dissertations and my perception that you have the attitude that the public does not have the right to ask any questions and now even to participate at all before the vote. It is not personal, never has been, never will be on my part. I have a long history of agreeing to disagree with some of you. The base core group didn't used to act this way. I question why you feel you must now.

Because the public asks questions is not an acceptable answer.

By Chris Clark on Monday, May 26, 2003 - 07:37 pm:

Kudos, Elsie.

By Soulman on Sunday, June 01, 2003 - 12:21 pm:

"Now for the latest new concern, the audience is not allowed to say a word before the Public Participation portion near the end of the Regular Town meeting. What good does it do anyone to speak up after the vote on an issue is complete? Doesn't this reflect that Council is not interested in the public's view on issues?"

If my memory serves me well,this council operates under Roberts Rules of Parlimentary Procedure(Check Charter), and this NEW rule probably is in violation of theses rules,as are many other procedural issues dictated by this council. Lot's of ammo in Roberts Rules. You know your stuff Elsie.

By FI-Landshark on Sunday, June 01, 2003 - 11:01 pm:

Hey Soulman--Sounds like you see the problems with this current Council. Do you want to add a 15th family name to the FICC rolls?

By Soulman on Monday, June 02, 2003 - 06:30 am:

Sharkey, What good would a 15th name do, In my view it would only add a 15th agenda. Whats needed is only 1 agenda, and my only interest is to see justice doled out to those who have done or comitted illegal acts. I dont buy into the "Volunteers of America" crappola. Volunteers ask for nothing in return for a comittment to duty to the public. With that comittment comes an implied RESPONSIBILITY. How would you feel if your house was on fire, and the "VOLUNTEER" Fire Department showed up and then stood there and watched it burn to the ground?? Would they be legally culpable? Once again this council has broken new legal ground,with the guise of volunteerism as there cloak, claiming(with great compassion) that since they are volunteers, they have no legal culpability. Last I heard,falsifying public records is a crime. If Robert Ludlum were still alive, his next book could be titled: "The McMansion Paranoia". Peace and Love Baby!

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