| Seymour residents wait,
By Chris Thomas© 2000 Republican-American
Sunday,September 03, 2000
Next step -
SEYMOUR — Can Seymour residents move on to the future without someone, anyone, being disciplined for the town's $9 million crisis?
They have suffered through a special mid-year tax in April, major
budget cuts to education and
The Water Pollution Control Authority will announce this week it
wants to raise sewer rates by
Yet — no one is being held accountable.
Just 26 months ago, in June 1998, the town had a $4.5 million surplus.
As of 14 months ago, the surplus was gone, replaced by a shocking
$185,560 deficit. That was
By March of this year, officials had identified a $3.8 million shortfall
for fiscal 1999 and a
In addition, the town's bond rating, which affects interest rates
and could cost Seymour
The 248-page Checkers International audit, filed with the town last
week and filled with findings
Former Finance Director Art Davies admits to authorizing expenditures
without receiving proper
Former finance board Chairman Louis Zaccaro is listed as giving two
very different explanations
Former First Selectman John O'Toole, in actions detailed in the report,
appears to allow cost
O'Toole also was ultimately responsible, as first selectman, for
watching over the financial
To this point, however, none of the three has been found to have acted illegally or unethically.
And the audit does not focus on just those three. The selectmen,
finance board members,
The Checkers audit, for which taxpayers paid $45,000, may bring about
formal charges. It may
The Board of Selectmen will discuss the report in open session Tuesday
night at Town Hall. The
The state attorney general's office and the state Office of Policy
and Management know the
Yet, it is unclear what exactly will happen.
In fact, the only thing immediately clear from the Checker's audit
is that the town needs to make
The audit lists 15 pages of suggestions in that area. Proposed charter changes include:
Designating approval of major contracts and contract extensions
as a specific power of the
Creating more stringent guidelines for departments submitting
quarterly financial reports to the
Requiring the first selectman to attend and deliver a report at monthly finance board meetings.
Requiring appointments of major officials, such as finance
director and town treasurer, to be
Requiring the finance director to submit a line-by-line budget
report monthly to the finance
Requiring the finance department to immediately notify the
finance board when any department
The big unknown in the audit is what the 116 pages concerning Water
They will be soon, if and when the authority enacts the 90 percent
rate increase. A public
For now, residents must wait and wonder.