Members of the Republican majority on the town board looked askance at Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst's speech following the address last Friday afternoon.
Specifically, they took issue with her comments about finances and her lack of comments about economic development.
The speech was "rather short on substance," Councilman Chris Nuzzi derided. He viewed the supervisor's fiscally-related statements as "a validation of the budget she abstained on." If the state of finances is okay, he queried, "Why did we need the $5 million tax increase she proposed?" After vituperative debate last fall, the town board adopted a budget document compiled by the Republican majority, instead of the proposal drafted by the supervisor. "Several months later, after all the debate and conflict, now she says we've got a $4 million surplus and we're on sound footing," Nuzzi noted.
Councilman Jim Malone expressed how he, too, had no idea of any surplus that would or could be used to cut the deficit.
"Patting yourself on the back is to be expected," he said when discussing the supervisor's speech. But "when you hear about a surplus, it puts things into question, how much was the sky really falling?" he said.
Both councilmen also said they were disappointed they didn't hear more related to helping local businesses. Town officials need to "stop some of the burdensome regulations" placed on business owners, Nuzzi said, adding "We need to try to lessen the tax burden on our residents and try to expand economic opportunities."
Malone said he would like to see tax credits offered to small businesses that create and sustain jobs.
Malone also felt the supervisor's speech was "light" on Community Preservation Fund efforts, and further steps need to be taken and provisions need to be made for the time when there's less CPF money for open space.
"We need to develop a trust fund to maintain the property and the stewardship," Malone said.
Job creation was another subject Malone felt wasn't given enough attention in the supervisor's speech, citing how the unemployment rate for the area is more than 10 percent.
"Job creation is important to us," he said. "There's a morality component and a quality of life component."
Councilwoman Nancy Graboski, the third member of the Republican majority was not present for the speech.