Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ken Short can't handle the truth...

Armed with the information contained in the post above, I posed a question to Mayor Short during this evening's Township Committee Work Session on a comment he made in an October 2008 OT letter and how it reconciled with his "tax and spend" record noted in my prior post. His rambling answer was beyond embarrassing as he went off on several tangents and had to rely on Committeemen Popper and Harmon passing him notes on what to say. At one point Short went down the path of trying to blame me for raiding the reserve for uncollected taxes in 2006 and using the money to pay for excess spending. It must have been a surprise when I reminded him, I was the only committeeman to vote "No" on the 2006 municipal budget and that reducing the reserve by $710K to match our actual tax collection risk was a good thing for taxpayers.

Short even tried his typical blame game of naming the schools as the culprit until he was reminded by Bill Roehrich, his running mate who until yesterday sat on the school board, WTBOE taxes were already accounted for in the $12.7 million figure mentioned (duh!). After realizing he look like fool...Short tried two other bogus claims:
  1. I put the township at risk by reducing the uncollected tax reserve to its proper funding level of $1.2 million as opposed to the $1.9 million figure used by prior committees to gouge taxpayers of an extra $700K in taxes each year. The proper $1.2 million figure is derived from a then $60 million total tax collection liability and a 2% noncollectable rate. Do the math Mr. Short!
  2. I stopped principal debt service payments on outstanding bonds when I recommended reducing a 2008 $1.4 million debt service payment by $37K to help offset a $197K reduction in state aid. In a classic case of blatant hypocrisy, in Ken Short's all-GOP 2009 budget, debt service was reduced by an additional $82K from the prior year.
Short even went as far as to try and back peddle by suggesting he may not have made the October 2008 comment. I then provided him a copy of his remarks. Baffled, Short was unable to answer how his comment didn't apply to his and Bill Roehrich's record of adding $12.7 million to our property tax burden. Having made my point, I walked out of the meeting as Short continued on with more excuses. A few minutes later I received a text message from someone still in the meeting indicating Short was clearly angry and rattled during our exchange, but had calmed down since.

I have submitted an OPRA request for a recording of our exchange and will post it as soon as I receive it.

Bottom Line: As opposed to writing a letter to the OT complaining about Short's comments, I confronted him during "public comment" and asked him to reconcile his word with his own "tax and spend" record. Even with his GOP colleagues passing him notes, Short could not man up with a decent answer.

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