Sunday, February 19, 2012

why taxes are high and corruption is endemic

Columbia County has about 60,000 people. We also have about 21 highway departments, 5 police forces, 5 school districts, 19 assessors offices, 50 judges, 19 justice departments.

This situation is 1) wasteful; 2) inefficient; 3) breeds patronage and corruption through impossibility of oversight, along with no agency tasked with oversight.

Look at police. By having these multiple forces (sheriff, state police, Hudson police, Chatham, Copake, etc.), one central authority cannot allocate resources based on need. The resources are based on politics. COMPSTAT kind of efficiency and effectiveness is impossible.

Look at the highway department. Do we need 21 fleets of vehicles, 21 salt sheds, 21 billing departments, 21 purchasing authorities? No. If these resources were allocated on a need basis not on politics and tradition, how much could we save.

Look at assessment. This local assessor stuff is asking for trouble. You would get fairer and cheaper assessments by following the recommendations of this study.

Look at justice departments. Remember the New York Times series on terrible upstate small town judges? Anything change after that? In 1812, it made sense to have people travel a couple miles to their local judge: weather, horses, etc. Now it makes sense to have professional, appointed judges working full time with oversight.

Look at schools. This system with no choice for schools is terrible. In transportation and administration alone, consolidating the districts would have a tremendous amount. Allowing choice within the public system, let alone opening the thing up to charter schools, would put some pressure on the mediocre system we have.

From Hudsonian (thanks):

The top 10 teachers pay in Hudson:

Hungerford, Susan J $104,010.25 
Rees, Lucy A $96,617.00 
Peters, Charles M $95,681.00 
Aronson, Jay O $94,905.75 
Bonville, Thomas E $93,618.00 
Barletta, Anna M $92,150.05 
Libruk, Regina $91,636.50 
Ringer, Gordon D $91,579.80 
Dolan, Elizabeth A $91,488.00 
Huemmer, Ellen K $91,243.00

You can use the link ( to view the current contract between the taxpayers of the Hudson City School District and the Hudson Teachers Association. 

Take a look at page 38 of the contract. You'll notice that the maximum amount any teacher can earn is $ 85,587. Is there something special about the teacher at the top of the list in Fact # 1 where she can earn almost $ 20,000 above the maximum in the contract?

Locally, the two cities that are probably the closest to Hudson in population are Rensselaer and Mechanicville. Another measure of efficiency (or lack thereof) would be to calculate and compare per capita rates or how much is spent on a particular service per citizen.

For example, using Hudson and it's Police Department, the per capita would be $ 303.17 or $ 303.17 for every resident of the city. This is calculated by taking the 2,035,162.11 in 2011 salaries and dividing that by the 2010 census number of 6,713.

Rensselaer's per capita is 248.18 ( 2,330,909.06 / 9,392) and Mechanicville's would be about $ 162.71 ( 813,540.24  / 5,000). The 5,000 is an estimate. I couldn't seem to get a real number but that's what one source had for 2009.

In summary, Hudson spends $ 303.17, Rensselaer spends $ 248.18 and Mechanicville $ 162.71. In other words, Hudson is 22% higher than Rensselaer and 87% higher than Mechanicville.

Here's a list of the top five (5) cop salaries in Hudson:

Richardson, Ellis 108,813.13 Chief
Finn, Lynne 99,313.75 
Moon Jr, Anthony 92,566.62 
Paolino, Richard 91,656.33 
Foutch, Thomas 89,079.85 

Here's the same for Rensselaer:

Famiglietti, Warren 93,067.21 
Fusco, Frederick 87,784.92 Chief
Terry Jr, Joseph 84,770.52 
Frankoski, James 82,023.00 
Nagengast, Anthony 80,452.29 

Here's the information for Mechanicville:

Rabbitt Jr, William 88,364.03 
Rocco, Peter 81,067.65 
Rocco, Louis 78,520.71 
Westfall, Scott 76,882.81 
Waldron, Joseph 76,874.73 Chief

The 2012 city Budget includes $ 40,000 for gasoline. Assuming $ 4.00 a gallon for gas, that's 10,000 gallons. Assuming each police car gets 10 miles per gallon, that would be enough gas to travel 100,000 miles per year or 273 miles a day 365 days a year. Does that sound reasonable? I realize that some of those miles are outside of Hudson (to pick up or drop off prisoners, etc.). Does anyone know how many miles of road there is in Hudson?

Sheriff's office:

Michael Merante $127,081(3rd highest in the County)
Brendan Filli $109,790
Louis Bray $106,400
Michael Stelling $101,092
Paul Graziano $100,716
Dave Barlett $95,328
James Sweet 92,931
John Davi $92,553

No comments:

Post a Comment