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The Dansville Online
  • From the Editor’s Desk: Time to stop passing the buck

  • Dansville residents are about to have sticker shock — and rightly so. The village has comparatively low water and tax rates, despite minor hikes in recent years, even as costs for providing services has gone up.

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  • Dansville residents are about to have sticker shock — and rightly so. The village has comparatively low water and tax rates, despite minor hikes in recent years, even as costs for providing services has gone up.
    We were baffled to learn over the last two or three weeks that the village hasn’t been managing its debt properly. For several years, portions of the village’s debt have been kept in low-interest bond anticipation notes. But there’s one problem: keeping BANs beyond five years is illegal.
    Dansville officials — knowingly or not — have renewed BANs beyond the five-year allowable period and banks have allowed the village to extend the notes.
    It’s as if the village has been charging its debt to low-interest credit cards and making balance transfers every few years. But they should have had a mortgage.
    The reasons for choosing BANS over bonds are a matter of cost: BANs run as low as 1 percent on interest, but bonds are put out on a market, where interest rates often run between 4 percent and 7 percent.
    But there’s a catch. By not having the fiscal house in order, Dansville has set itself up for problems in securing future debt.
    Here we are at the end of the design phase for a multi-million dollar wastewater treatment plant. With a couple months, the bidding specifications could be available. Had village finances been in place, the project could be bid this year and construction could begin no later than next spring.
    But as it stands, the project won’t be bid for months. The village needs the time to resolve its noncompliant debts. But in the meantime, the costs of fuel, materials and labor all will climb.
    The time to correct the issues was two, three, even nine years ago. In the name of low taxes and small government, the village has created this problem. It’s time for Dansville to start building realistic budgets that reflect the true cost of government.

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