To The Editor:
Frank Castiglia would have the good people, who read his letters to the editor, believe that he has once again, and single-handedly, uncovered corruption and deceit within county government. Specifically, in his remarks dated February 13, 2017, that I recently read online at OswegoCountyToday.com.
While I can cite a number of misleading points in his letter, it ends with a reference to “Fake News” welcoming the reader to “Fake Budget 2017.”
I would like to concentrate on the main point that Frank seems to be trying to make; whereby he has done a good job of creating “Fake News” himself, by insinuating an underhanded or shady deal is afoot.
I believe his letter titled “Hide and Seek,” is his attempt to “Hide” from the truth and “Seek” publicity where none is justified.
Frank’s main point is that there was no need to use reserve funds to purchase Pictometry because the 9-1-1 Department already received a grant to purchase it and instead used the grant award to pay salaries for its employees.
He references; “In the fine print of the use of the grant money there is a clause that states the grant money may be used to pay salaries.”
For the record, the only grant money the county receives in the 9-1-1 Department is a grant established by the NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Communications, called the PSAP Operations Grant.
This grant was created to reimburse counties for some of their operational costs and not specifically to fund Pictometry.
Oswego County will be awarded $179,865 in 2017 from this grant.
Of the authorized expenditures listed on the application for the grant, personnel costs are listed first and not in fine print.
All this information is displayed in the department budget and explained, both expense and revenue source, year after year in the budget process to Frank.
The fact is, this grant has helped to reduce the local share, tax burden to the citizens of Oswego County by more than $540,000 over the last three years and is not a product of “Hide and Seek” as Frank would have his readers believe.
Frank needs to be reminded, yet again, that Capital Reserves are created specifically to fund projects like Pictometry. Requests for project funds are a part of the budget process and allow legislators and administration to anticipate and plan for these expenses and remove those costs from the department budget.
It can be argued that this process gives the legislature more control over expenses, and the opportunity for department heads to explain the individual requests more thoroughly, as was the case here.
Finally, I believe it is important to state that at no time has Frank contacted the 9-1-1 Center to voice his concerns, share his information or ask a single question to me or in the committee process on this subject.
Frank’s remarks are shameful, un-informed and represent a disservice to his constituents and to all who read and believe his opinions.
Michael D. Allen