By: Diane Benjamin
The Town of Normal wants you to believe leasing vehicles for 6-12 months saves them money. What they really get is a constant supply of new vehicles, something the taxpayers never get. Use logic folks, how can 6-12 month leases actually cost less than buying? Because depreciation doesn’t have to be listed in the financial statements?
Even the ISU accounting instructor, Karyn Smith, fell for this one. The self proclaimed ex-accountant Kevin McCarthy fell for it too. They are merely saving money over what they BUDGETED! That isn’t saving money, but the Town does get to keep their $12 million+ in the General Fund (Vehicle Replacement Fund) to spend elsewhere.
Hint: A frequently used trick is to over budget so they can claim they are fiscally responsible for not spending all of it. Bloomington does it too.
Stan Nord explained all this brilliantly on Facebook. I’m copying his post because I know not everybody will see it there:
Normal claims leasing town staff 30 brand new pickup trucks for 6-12 months at a time will save taxpayers, and make money, because staff budget more for year 1 depreciation than the cost of lease payment. Overestimating is NOT making money!
Normal used to brag about how fiscally responsible they were by saying they saved to pay for fire trucks with cash, those days are gone. Now when the new car smell wears off they will get a brand new truck.
The town has been taxing residents and stockpiling cash under the lie it was to replace aged vehicles with cash. They claim this was being responsible. The money has been accruing in the Vehicle and Equipment Reserve fund. There is over $12M in that fund. Now that it is time to replace the vehicles they are going to lease/rent them. The money that was stockpiled to replace vehicles will be used on something else, like the underpass, uptown, or another pet project.
I made a motion to take the money they had been saved to purchase these vehicles and lock it in a separate account until the end of the lease in case we later learn leasing is more expensive and we need to purchase the vehicles. There was no support for this because it would tie that money up to be used elsewhere. That proved my case this whole thing was scheme to fleece more money for a pet project.
Unfortunately bait and switch taxation has become a regular occurrence in Normal. There is zero truth in taxation with the current administration…Yet another consequence of elections.
The vote was 6-1. If you elect people locally who don’t stand up for truth in taxation and fiscal responsibility, do you think they will have the spine to tackle the state’s taxing and spending problems if they run for a higher office?
Write up begins on pdf page 37. http://normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/4164
Just hit play to hear the discussion: