Money - we all subsist off of it. Businesses need money to operate, people need money to live, and governments need money to govern.
However, it should be said, that there is a reasonable expectation that all three will be diligent enough with their resources, as to not harm others, but what happens when outside forces conspire to harm your money supply?
That is the conundrum that the Village of Middleburgh is presently facing.
Faced with a multitude of lawsuits from a single individual, the municipality paid over $7,600 in legal fees over the last budget cycle to defeat the suer and his frivolous suits. That amount is equal to roughly one percent of the village's entire budget and nearly equal to the amount in levies that taxes were raised by this past year.
The Mayor of the community, Matthew Avitabile, made a good point at Monday's meeting, when he pointed out that more had been spent on legal fees associated with this string of lawsuits than on the village's successful wild flowers and the recently constructed pavilion combined.
Although few residents were at the meeting, we believe that a vast majority would say community oriented projects such as what the mayor referenced are worth far more than a continuous legal battle in court.
A continuous legal battle in court brought upon by the former mayor. We will offer no comments as to the validity of the petitioner's suits, for that is not our role, but we do find it offensive that someone once tasked with the responsibility of leading the village is now actively working to bleed it financially. Whether that was intended or not, that is the result of the former official's actions.
Once again, governments need money to govern. They need resources to fix sidewalks, pave roads, promote community minded projects, and so forth, but what they don't need is an ever increasing legal fee line item that is driven by the whims of a single individual for whatever his motives are, because it's not only harmful to the government, but to the people who provide the funds - the taxpayers.
- Timothy Knight,
Editor and Publisher,
The Schoharie News.
Tuesday, June 9th, 2015.