Question: When Is A Downgrade Not a Downgrade? Answer: When You Live In A Wonderland.

PlanAAAOn Monday, August 03, 2015 Supervisor Gromack of the Town of Clarkstown appeared on the WRCR show with Steve Possell and began his remarks by opining that what Donald Trump says in the news media is “amusing at times“.

Now we will readily admit that Republican Trump is indeed a bit of a ‘blow-hard’, but last week the Town of Clarkstown was downgraded by Standard & Poor’s while our Democratic Supervisor, Alex Gromack, was off on his second international vacation of the year. Meanwhile his friend, the Conservative Party’s Chairman and the Town’s $180,000+ no-contract ‘Clerk of the Works’, Ed Lettre, provided taxpayers with a cost overrun of 100% on a $15 million estimated project to revitalize downtown New City.

To no one’s surprise when asked by Possell how everything “is going with the supervisor and his town” this week, the ‘die-hard’ Mr. Gromack replied: “Pretty good – it was a hot weekend with a lot of use of our three Town pools”. Was he hoping perhaps to direct the conversation away from the Town’s bond downgrade to the fact that the he had finally managed to get the Town of Clarkstown’s Germonds pool operational weeks after the season had begun?

After splashing around for several moments with that ‘kiddie pool’ opening gambit, the supervisor then belly-flopped into the diving pool gushing effusive compliments for Democrat David Carlucci concerning the placement of handicap signs throughout the town aided and abetted by the town’s chief patronage provider, the ‘Please can I still be a Republican?’, Superintendent Wayne Ballard.

Somehow Gromack always brings Ballard into the deep end. One wonders if he is trying to convince us that Ballard will pick up our leaves and clear the snow on our streets if we will only vote for him in November and forget that we ever heard of the words ‘constituent services representative’ and ‘confidential secretary’.

Meanwhile with the phones ringing off the hooks and having prattled on for several minutes about the politically-mundane, Carlucci, and the politically-insane, Ballard, the Supervisor was brought back to dry land by several callers who questioned why, under his watch, the Town had lost its vaunted triple A bond rating and had been downgraded to Double A.

Gromack’s response was to claim that all of the talk about the downgrade was simply because it was “campaign season“. He went on to say that HE was the champion of holding down taxes despite the fact that under his watch residents of Clarkstown now had the SECOND-HIGHEST property taxes in all of the United States. Property taxes and Wall Street downgrades are of course the politically unmentionables in “campaign seasons” especially when a Supervisor has finally got the pools open and his Highway Superintendent is out putting up new signs.

With listeners wondering if his nose was growing longer, Gromack asserted that he told the ratings agency he would not raise taxes. HE was “determined” to stay below ‘the tax cap’ and with that he got back into the pool and casually floated away from one fact – the fiscal experts from the Standard & Poor’s rating agency had downgraded the town to a AA rating with a ‘positive tick’. Why? Because in their view the town has “strong budgetary flexibility AND the ability AND the willingness to raise taxes when needed“. Indeed Supervisor Gromack himself had specifically made that promise to them a year earlier saying that he had “personally demonstrated a willingness to RAISE taxes“.

Clarkstown’s problem, according to the Gromack ‘die-hard’ explanation, is really the fault of the County Legislature and Republican Ed Day and not to Democrat Supervisor Gromack’s own unbalanced budgets which he referred to as ‘tight’.

‘Tight’ for the taxpayer? We agree! After all we are heading to #1 in property taxes with his previous unbalanced budgets and his ‘willingness’ to deplete the Town’s Reserves!

In response to another caller the Supervisor declared it was all lies that he had sold assets to balance the Town’s budgets – he had only sold a “transfer station“. Furthermore, before Councilmen Hoehmann and Borelli stopped him in his tracks, HE did not want to sell the Middlewood Senior Complex and the callers should all understand that “a Double A plus rating is ALMOST THE EQUIVALENT of a Triple A negative” rating and is the “best in New York State“.

Now usually one should never compare an amusing ‘blow-hard’ with a delusional ‘die-hard’ but in this case it remains an incontrovertible fact that Standard and Poor’s has put Clarkstown on TWO years notice that it will downgrade the Town’s rating AGAIN if the Town’s budget is: 1) NOT balanced in 2016 and 2017 and 2) IF depletion of the town’s reserves do not STOP.

And so it is hard for us, while smiling coyly with Supervisor Gromack at the manic meanderings of the ‘blow-hard’ Republican Candidate for President, Donald Trump, not to laugh hysterically at the verbal vacuities of the ‘die-hard’ Democratic Candidate for Supervisor, Alex Gromack.

You see IF a double A plus rating is ALMOST THE EQUIVALENT of a Triple A negative rating then the Supervisor is living in ‘Wonderland’ where according to Alice, the Mad Hatter, and the March Hare who also live there:

You should say what you mean.” said the March Hare.
I do,” Alice hastily replied; at least I mean what I say, that’s the same thing, you know.”
Not the same thing a bit!” said the Hatter. Why, you might just as well say that “I see what I eat” is the same thing as “I eat what I see!

All that one might say on this topic is that Supervisor Gromack is quite “amusing at times” and as he stated, it is indeed his “campaign season“.

About Michael N. Hull

Michael N. Hull has lived in Rockland County for 35 years where he writes articles on philosophy and political affairs. Hull has written over 300 articles for New City Patch and Rockland Voice. He is presently a senior editor of the Facebook page Clarkstown: What They Don't Want You To Know and a senior editor of Rockland Voice.

About the Author
Michael N. Hull has lived in Rockland County for 35 years where he writes articles on philosophy and political affairs. Hull has written over 300 articles for New City Patch and Rockland Voice. He is presently a senior editor of the Facebook page Clarkstown: What They Don't Want You To Know and a senior editor of Rockland Voice.

Related Posts