Resident Disputes Statements in Newspaper Article
August 30, 2000
To the Taxpayers and Voters of Toronto,
I feel I have an obligation to respond to the article that appeared in the Herald Star on Sunday, July 2, 2000. “Toronto Auditor Wants to Set the Record Straight About Duties”
Quoting one sentence, “He (Mr. Orsini) also is responsible for investing city funds and finding the best interest rates available.”
I have been attending council meetings steadily for the past 5 years. I read my first State Auditors Report about this time 5 years ago. In that report REA & Associates, Inc. recommended that “allowable financial instruments be invested at a higher rate of interest.”
This report was shown and give to read (by me) to several members of council. – No response.
A year goes by, the next State Auditor’s Report comes out and the same recommendation appears.
A year goes by, the next State Auditor’s Report comes out, the same recommendation appears again. At this time an article appeared in the “Youngstown Vindicator” describing the same issue in Warren, Ohio. I presented copies of this article to our Finance Committee for their review. In the article the Mayor and Auditor came down hard on the Treasurer for the loss of $300,000 in interest the past year.
I discovered that one of our Councilmen has a degree in accounting. Surely he will do something.
All of this to no avail because at the release of the next auditor’s report, the same recommendation appeared again.
Last Year – the same.
This Year – The same and I quote from the State Auditor’s Report:
“At December 31, 1998 the City invested in excess of $1,000,000.00 in money market depository accounts yeilding from 1.5 to 3.75%.
We recommend the City review its cash management p0rectice to determine if additional earnings are possible. The Treasurer, designated offical or investment committee, may consider investing in The State Treasurer’s Asset Reserve Account (Star Ohio), certificates of deposit, Treasury Bills, or other allowable financial instruments which may increase earnings to the city.”
May I remind you, this is 5 years in a row that this recommendation has been made.
In 1997, in the previously mentioned Vindicator Article; Star Ohio was paying 5.4%.
Not knowing what rate (1.5 – 3.75%), it is my estimate that we could have earned from $25,000.00 to perhaps $40,000.00 in additional income in 1999 had that money been invested at this present 5% or with Star Ohio that is presently paying 6.5%.
How can anyone in our city government allow that to happen? What amount have we lost over the past years?
I presented all of this information to Mr. Robert Wilson prior to his taking office January 1, 2000.
The city is now, having moved the investment, getting 5% interest. The Mayor is the only person in my 5 years that felt obligated to the taxpayers to make this change. He took action!
Mayor Wilson deserves a bonus. I asked Mr. Orsini, in a stated council meeting, “Why didn’t you do this 5 years ago?” His answer was, “I didn’t know.”
Toronto is a 5 1/2 million dollar a year business. It should be run like a business.
It is interesting to note that a member of the Finance Committee told me, “We haven’t had a committee meeting in all of 1999.
This years State Auditor’s Report has 6 items under the heading of “Noncompliance Citations” and 3 items under “Immaterial Control Weaknesses.”
Now that “the record is straight” the taxpayers of Toronto should demand answers from their city’s officials.
This holding people responsible for what they do, I believe, is what Councilman Coppa is all about.
Thank you for reading this and don’t believe all that you hear or read. It may be nothing more than an attempt to manipulate the public.
Toronto needs a Citizens Oversight Committee.
Please get involved in your government.