Cairo town officials admitting accounting errors
Nancy Kern reports for Columbia-Greene Media that Cairo Town officials keep admitting their errors and inability to make budgets. Town Supervisor Jason Watts told the newspaper, “We had a forensic investigator here and we’re just waiting for some other audits to be done.... There were three or four different spreadsheets.... We couldn’t figure it out without hiring somebody.” On November 7 last year, Watts said taxes were only increasing by 0.51 percentin Cairo as the final 2023 budget was adopted. But then on December 28, town officials say an error was discovered and actually the town tax levy was growing by 7.5 percent and the tax rate was increasing by 5.11 percent. On December 29 the town board held an emergency meeting to pass a local law authorizing an override of the state’s tax cap. Minutes from that meeting show that town resident Monica Keff warned officials that the state requires a town’s approval to go over the tax cap before an increase goes into effect, and that their retroactive resolution to do so would not be accepted. But Cairo officials voted for the retroactive resolution anyway, and now admit they were wrong. “The attorney said, really quickly, ‘Let’s try to do something to correct this,’” said Watts. Town board member Tim Powers, who was not present for that vote said, “The resolution was voted on, prepared and sent to the state but the state rejected it.” Town officials later discovered they had made the same budget error before, and are now studying how many budget errors they have made. So far, the town has been forced to cut out funds for a new roof and steps for the town hall, and salary increases for the town board, because of their accounting errors. Read more about this story at HudsonValley360.com.