Riverside budget not sustainable

At the Dec. 21 Riverside Board of Trustees meeting, a vote was taken to approve the 2010 budget. I voted against the adoption of this budget and would like to explain why.

First, the budget is not sustainable. It does not reflect the economic difficulties facing Riverside, difficulties that have been made worse by the adoption of this budget. Current expenditures will exceed current revenues by $370,000. Another way to say this is that we will be dipping into our savings (reserves) to pay for operating expenses by this amount. This is unsustainable, just as it would be unsustainable for our families and for private businesses. In fact, by 2012 we will not be able to meet our cash flow and debt service commitments.

Second, the village’s budget was developed in a strategic vacuum. The current board has never met to discuss financial priorities or strategies (including large scale savings initiatives), despite requests from several trustees (myself included) and staff to do so. A budget is nothing more than the financial representation of a plan – and (to quote Lewis Carroll) “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”

We are to have meetings in 2010 (open to the public) to discuss strategies and priorities. But this process is backwards. To pass a budget without first setting policy objectives is not responsible. Moreover, it does not provide adequate and open information to residents on our future financial objectives. And to pass this particular budget, given our village’s declining fiscal health, without talking about substantial ways to reduce expenditures or increase revenues makes no sense.

I am confident that we will be able to solve the issues facing the village. I look forward to opportunities in the new year for the board of trustees and residents to discuss our financial priorities and strategies. I would encourage residents to attend these meetings.

Jean Sussman

Jean Sussman is a Riverside village trustee.

Grinch hinders dog’s return

Three weeks have passed and we have still not found our missing German shepherd. Many have probably noticed the absence of our posters throughout the town and may have assumed she had been returned.

Sadly, this is not the case. My wife and I apologize for the garish-colored posters. They were designed to catch your attention, though evidently the wrong kind of attention.

Displaying posters throughout the area is one recommended method of getting the word out about a lost or missing pet (sometimes a child or elderly person) by humane societies, rescue groups, police, etc.

We have learned some of our posters may have been removed by the Riverside public works as they were not permitted. I was informed the village had received several complaints, one of which disturbs me no end. A resident of Riverside, who remains anonymous, complained our posters make the town look like “a college kiosk” and was personally going to remove any sign she saw.

It is a sad commentary on this self-appointed Riverside Beautification Committee of one’s life. She evidently has never had the love of a companion animal and has no compassion for those who have loved and lost one.

This person’s lack of compassion for her fellow human beings, let alone a defenseless animal, is our Grinch that stole Christmas, a descendent of Scrooge. I sincerely hope this person never has the need to call upon her fellow man for help. I don’t know which disgusts me more, the person who knowingly steals an animal or one who knowingly and purposefully hinders its safe return.

Frank C. Vlazny