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HOW BROKE IS RAMAPO?
Posted July 25th, 2013

Letter to the Editor,

How broke is Ramapo? According to the New York State Comptroller Ramapo is the most financially stressed of 917 towns in New York State. But what does that actually mean? Ramapo has real estate worth $11 billion. That means that our constitutional tax limit is about four times our current level. We also know that after telling us last July that he was going to raise our town tax by only 1.9 percent St. Lawrence increased our town tax by 9.4 percent. So why are we so broke? The only one who can answer that question is Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence. And that is because he has forced all of his town employees to sign an illegal gag order. (You can read it on www.PreserveRamapo.org.) The last financial information we have gotten from St. Lawrence is his 2011 financial statement which means we have gone 19 months without a financial statement. Clearly, he is doing his best to hide our financial problems.

We do know that after the FBI raid on Ramapo town hall Ramapo was forced to give up its plan to float $38 million in long term bonds. Instead it floated short term bonds for only $32 million. We also know that Ramapo has failed in its legal obligation to provide these bond holders with its 2012 financials. Every couple of weeks a representative from Preserve Ramapo goes down to town hall and files another request for Ramapo’s 2012 financial statement. We are always told the same story: “Our audited financial statement is not yet available.” It is now almost seven months since the end of 2012. Maybe the outside accountants can’t figure out what is St. Lawrence is doing!

We would like to know if after last summer we received any income from our $60 million plus stadium. We would like to know why Ramapo can no longer maintain its extensive park system. And most of all we would like to know what we are going to do when we run out of cash because we certainly aren’t going to be able to borrow any more money.

Robert I. Rhodes
Chairman, Preserve Ramapo

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