Letter To The Editor
From: John Noto, Candidate for Clarkstown Town Board.
Councilwoman Shirley Lasker appears to be having a great time with some seniors as shown in this picture from the latest brochure mailed to Clarkstown residents. She looks genuine as a person anyone could trust and that one could talk to on an equal footing – but wait a minute!
Wasn’t it the same Shirley Lasker who tried to sabotage seniors in Nanuet by selling their homes at the Middlewood Village Complex? And when the resident seniors there came to a Town Board meeting to protest the sale, was it not the same Councilwoman Lasker who, during a break in the meeting, condescendingly spoke to the seniors referring to them as “you people” and telling them they could all go home as the issue they were interested in was not going to come up? Oh come now! Are we to believe that Councilwoman Lasker has always been this nice to the seniors of Nanuet? Does she think that after the Middlewood fiasco this ludicrous picture will ameliorate their anger and they will give her their votes?
Councilwoman Lasker rightfully talks about cutting “unnecessary” overtime. That is a big positive in her favor – but wait a minute! Why is the overtime bill in Clarkstown costing the taxpayer over $10,000 per day? Personally, I want a safe town but I also want a government official who represents me and not one who talks out of both sides of their mouth and who plays both ends of the field. Councilwoman Lasker needs to talk facts not myths. How much overtime does Councilwoman Lasker think is “unnecessary“. Does she not realize that most people living in Clarkstown work until the job is done and get no overtime? Might I suggest that if 10% of a budget in a particular department in the town goes to overtime then someone needs to ask why?
But to be honest, is the fault really Councilwoman Lasker’s that we get fed myth and not fact by her? If we continue to elect individuals who have no education or training in business economics then I suppose a general statement of “unnecessary” overtime is the best definition of fiscal management that we can expect.
Councilwoman Lasker tells the seniors in her brochure that she helped create a “property tax relief fund“. If that is true, good for her! Frankly, to call the town of Clarkstown’s ’emergency savings account’ a ‘property tax relief fund’ may be semantic management but it is certainly not fiscal management. Semantic management may be a positive reason for some to re-elect Councilwoman Lasker – but wait a minute!
Didn’t I just hear that the town’s AAA bond rating, Lasker’s and Gromack’s most highly extolled legacy and their own benchmark for the success of their management of the fiscal affairs of Clarkstown, was downgraded to a AA+ rating? Ironically, the downgrade is a result of Lasker and Gromack’s financial pilfering of money, from that same reserve fund they call a “property tax relief fund“, to offset their deficit budgets over the past four years. Stealing money from the town’s ‘rainy day’ emergency fund, and attempting to sell off the seniors’ homes in Middlewood to replenish the same pilfered fund, is not semantic mismanagement, nor is it fiscal mismanagement, it is immoral mismanagement. Seriously, did Councilwoman Lasker think no one would notice?
If I haven’t depressed you enough or given you a morsel of food for thought, a subsequent consequence of the Lasker/Gromack fiscal indiscretions is the fact that Clarkstown is insolvent. If your debts exceed your assets you are insolvent! You can’t float a boat too long – and Councilwoman Lasker has a big boat that she floats – when you are insolvent OR when you continue to borrow money OR when you have run up a ton of debt. That is a boat headed for Standard & Poor’s fiscal depths. Standard & Poor’s told Clarkstown that the town was sinking and someone had better start bailing out the ship within the next two years.
Did anyone notice that Councilwoman Lasker mentions nowhere in her brochure that her “property tax relief fund” has NOT saved us from living in the 2nd highest taxed county in the nation? We were not even in the top ten when Lasker was first voted onto the Town Board. That was back in the days when the Palisades Mall was a gleam in everyones’ eyes, Shirley was the peoples’ ‘Joan of Arc’, and the mall promised all opposition it would be the fiscal savior of the Town of Clarkstown and its schools. Guess what? Today the schools are broke and Clarkstown’s $1 million dollar legal team lost a $20 million dollar settlement to the mall. Yet Lasker’s mentor, Supervisor Gromack, told the bond rating agencies that he had “shown a willingness” to raise property taxes to help preserve their precious AAA rating and prevent it from this downgrade and a further downgrade in two years. Are we to understand that Councilwoman Lasker seriously believes we will continue to pay more taxes for her semantic, immoral, and fiscal mismanagement once again?
Lastly, Shirley Lasker resonates every American’s deep desire to pay increasingly more taxes while our town sinks into a whirlpool of financial problems. She was quoted as saying in a Town Board meeting that SHE doesn’t mind paying HER property taxes. Sounds bizarre but then again, she’s on record for getting an additional $11,500 per year from we the taxpayers for not doing her due diligence as the town’s Deputy Supervisor. Seems strange that every summer when Supervisor Gromack went on vacation, a time when she was supposed to fill in for him, she would decide to take her own vacation. This year she knew she could be away on her ‘big boat’ at the same time Supervisor Gromack was away on his ‘big cruise’ so she had to step down and become the Town of Clarkstown’s EX-deputy Supervisor. You see as Supervisor Gromack likes to remark, it is “campaign season” and I guess you can’t be boating or cruising when Standard & Poor’s is knocking on your front door to tell you that your town is leaking financially and you better get back to your job. Stepping down was a very smooth move, Shirley! I guess we now know why it is so enjoyable for you to pay your taxes? Your extra income – doing nothing extra as the Deputy Supervisor – seems to have contributed substantially to your ability to enjoy paying your own property taxes.
Hopefully, Councilwoman Lasker will still have enough left over, now that she has ‘retired’ as the town’s deputy supervisor, to pay the hundreds of dollars for the fuel bill each time she floats off on her new 50-foot motorboat while the rest of us try to remain afloat on a sea of rising property taxes.