Letter to Comissioner Of Education
This is to request an immediate investigation of the operations and decisions of the Northville School Board(NSB) by your department in connection with serious ongoing budget irregularities in the Northville School District budget for the years 2010 and 2011.
Because time is of the essence this is also to request that you place an immediate stay, pending the completion of your investigation and publication of its results, on the Northville School Board setting the 2011-12 tax levy. The NSB has failed to make the district whole commencing with the school tax payment of $330,000 due in September 2009 and again in September 2010. The NSB has more than sufficient funds on- hand to bridge any delay in the release of HRBRRD funds owed.
Specifically the Northville School Board did not exercise its due diligence responsibilities for the years 2010-2011 by:
· failing to file for timely payment of $330,000 by Fulton County for school taxes owed but not paid by the Hudson River Regulating Authority(HRBRRD) for the year 2010.
· according to the Northville School Treasurer the amount of $330,000 was written off as an unpayable account receivable from HRBR for the 2010 year. Adding this amount to the school budget for 2011 represents in effect transferring this HRBRRD/Fulton county payment responsibility as a permanent ongoing school budget item to district taxpayers.
· using the HRBRRD and other budget shenanigans to raise taxes for the 2011 tax year by an egregious 21% tax increase thereby inflicting serious harm to local home resale values, risking local business survival in our small community and imposing unreasonable stress on local taxpayers many of whom are on a fixed income.
-Other separate but related issues involving NSB operations and procedures include
1) Repeated violations of open meeting laws and a general and consistent long term lack of transparency in the proceedings and
2) failure to regularly record and post meeting minutes including posting answers to taxpayer questions as repeatedly requested by taxpayers and
3) consistent manipulation and misrepresentation of public opinion.
Taken together these actions and omissions by the Northville School Board have resulted in the widely held community opinion that there is in effect a “scheme” to circumvent the Governor's 2% tax cap.
By not sending an invoice for $330,000 to Fulton County for the years 2010 the School Board is in effect implementing a permanent $330,000 addition to the local tax base. We also understand that Fulton County has the funds on-hand to pay the Northville School District. So if/when the School Board decides to send its request for payment to Fulton County after instituting its proposed 21% tax increase the Board will have implemented a permanent additional cost to the school budget.
We thank you for your earliest attention to this urgent request and look forward to your further comment re this situation. If you have further questions please contact Mr. Dennis Poulin (former Mayor of Northville and former School Board Member) at 863- 8270.
CITIZENS FOR NORTHVILLE CENTRAL SCHOOL