We hear the expression "The American Dream," but what does it mean to each of us? It could stand for a new beginning in a new land, a car in the garage, a home to call our own, or a chicken in every pot.
Surely underlying all these dreams would be the belief that our national and local governments are built on honesty and integrity.
But this belief has now been questioned by our city's audit released by the state Comptroller's Office to cover the years 2008 to 2012. The sum spent, which cannot be legally accounted for, is slightly over $1 million in funds supplied by HUD (Housing and Urban Development).
The breakdown is thus: mismanaged or misallocated monies to cover the mayor's travel, $15,000; bonuses without proper authorization, $6,000; ineligible equipment, $41,000; property acquisition, $500,000; unsupported loans, $396,000; and grants to local businesses, $175,000. Questionable practices include lack of necessary documentation, lack of proof that the purpose was legitimate, inability to show that "moderate to low" income residents would benefit. The mayor's office is now engaged in trying to justify these expenditures with the certain knowledge that HUD demands a further resolution of the problems. Steps that can be taken: a loss of future HUD funding and an increase in city taxes.
Both the official audit and the Corrective Action Plan (CAP) can be seen posted in the City Clerk's Office in City Hall on Central Avenue. It is well worth your time to stop in and read them.
Steaming over village issues
I live in the village of Forestville and I have been here for 32 years now. I have seen the good and the bad come and go in this town. Now, I'm afraid to even walk to the bank, post office, bar, or store because of these kids and young adults that sit all around the village smoking. Everyone who lives in the village knows that these kids are not just smoking, but also selling what they are smoking as well.
I own some land up by Zahm and Round Top roads and I'm constantly concerned that they will end up causing damage to my property as they tend to while they're under the influence. This is a realistic fear as they commonly perform their transactions on posted property.
These kids have put fear into everyone in the village so that standing up to them takes more bravery than most have. That's why I'm sending this article in to the newspaper. I am hoping that by writing this article, it will open up the eyes of the public so that we can take back our town and cleanse our streets of this irresponsible and dangerous behavior.
Once we can accomplish this with help from our law enforcement, we will be on our way to making the village of Forestville a safer place for ourselves and our children.