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Feb 11, 2009 12:08 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Town might seek forensic audit of capital budget

Feb 11, 2009 12:08 PM

According to the supervisor’s memo, access to capital accounts previously available to the department heads is now restricted. Department heads wishing to move forward on a capital project must now first notify the supervisor and the comptroller. If the supervisor and comptroller sign off, then that department head must draft a Town Board resolution detailing the exemption.

The first step in a capital—or long term—project is Town Board approval. Then, a bond is usually issued to fund the project. However, as Ms. Kabot explained Friday, a project is often authorized and the money is never borrowed. Or to secure a better interest rate, only a portion of that money is borrowed, Mr. Brautigam said. And some projects, according to the supervisor, go back 10 years.

Those circumstances are the reasons Ms. Kabot and Mr. Brautigam have given for the inconsistencies in the capital budget, and for the lengthy process in presenting a full accounting to the Town Board.

Ms. Kabot said the Town Board can expect a full report and analysis on the capital budget by the end of the first quarter, which is in April.

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Can you imagine the mess that will happen when the "stimulus" package gets approved and billions of dollars will have to be allocated and spent on projects in 90 days? Will make the graft in Iraq look like nursery school lunch money.
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Feb 6, 09 7:04 PM
ms. kabot, stop pointing your finger at everyone else. the controversy is not in the local newspaper, it's at town hall! it's not the telling of the story it's the story itself. $250,000 is still a lot of money to not account for and how can we trust that what you have on paper is the truth after everything is said and done?
By fdp (23), southampton on Feb 6, 09 9:09 PM
The fact that our Supervisor did not know whether $19 million was unaccounted for or if $250,000 was unaccounted for indicates that she is not capable. The Press's editorial this week said it all.
By Hampton (50), Westhampton on Feb 7, 09 9:24 AM
Most of the money was found-does that mean there is now $34,750,000 in the bank?
By Lefty46 (56), Westhampton on Feb 8, 09 7:12 AM
This kind of back-of-the envelope accounting is unacceptable. It's not like this is rocket science, go back and review your Accounting 101 text book and straighten this out.
By number19 (111), Westhampton on Feb 9, 09 2:20 PM
Accounting 101 is not part of the Civil Service exam, nor secretary school. So give Linda a break. How could a starry eyed gal friday who suddenly ends up as
Supervisor, possibly be expected to add or manage money?

You all expect way too much from morons..........
By G (339), Southampton on Feb 9, 09 2:37 PM
So now the taxpayers will have to pay for an audit. Meanwhile the comptroller whose job it is to manage the budget still gets $100,000 and the budget analyst who they hired at $450 per day last June to do the comptrollers job is still getting paid too. Just how much money has been spent in 2009 with relation to the Comptrollers office. I'd like to see a comparison with the 2007 figures.
Bryan can you provide that for the public?
By Hampton (50), Westhampton on Feb 11, 09 12:35 PM
Getting a professional audit-what an original idea. Why didn't Linda thing of that.
By eastquogueguy (22), East Quogue on Feb 11, 09 3:40 PM
Recall -- Sally Pope asked for an independent audit of the books in her campaign last year. Also note, she asked the state comptrollers office to audit.
By number19 (111), Westhampton on Feb 11, 09 5:39 PM
That's absolutely correct. Sally Pope made that request for a STATE audit a key part of her campaign AND she was wise enough to see this problem from the outside MONTHS before it became a critical issue. Her campaign opponent didn't even want to hear about it and in one debate even asserted that there was lots of extra money around to handle any cost overruns.
By foodie (74), Remsenburg on Feb 11, 09 5:52 PM
"Hampton" is right -- more taxpayer money wasted to discover where other taxpayer money was wasted! And then the "Who, ME?!?" and finger-pointing, and nothing will ever get done -- except more taxpayer money wasted!

They're all inept! Throw the rascals out!
By Frank Wheeler (1823), Northampton on Feb 11, 09 7:50 PM
The STATE audit that Sally Pope proposed many months ago would have cost the Souyhampton Town taxpayers NOTHING - ZERO. But did they listen to her? If you watch the Board meetings with a critical eye she's still asking for the same thing.
By foodie (74), Remsenburg on Feb 12, 09 12:11 PM
What an oddly worded memo the Supervisor wrote. I would expect it to say something like "due to a pending audit and the need to identify shortfalls all capital projects are frozen etc." and NOT "the newspapers are making a stink about this so I am freezing capital projects to make them happy." I am a total outsider to Town Hall and always wanted to believe that Kabot was doing the right thing but that memo really makes me wonder!
By jm (17), Hampton Bays on Feb 12, 09 7:43 PM
Well lets the puppet master is back....he supported Kabot a while ago....and now? Lets see spend 150K to audit the police deficit……been there done that folks you have to fund the department. Realistic budgets and then uh oh so what does it cost to run the police department……I think the police do a pretty good job. But alas what is the budget this year will there be a shortfall and then an additional deficit. Was there an engagement for this new firm……for the audit and when was it to be completed. ...more
By Hamptonman911 (14), Southampton on Feb 15, 09 10:38 AM
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