Letter: When will we get the answers, we are paying you for?

Dear Editor,

I have just finished reading the NYS Comptroller’s final audit report on the mismanagement of the Owego Shared Services Facility Capital Project, and I am appalled by the inadequate response signed only by the Supervisor.  

People of Owego, please pay attention. There needs to be a Town Meeting for the Supervisor and Board to explain why this project, conceived in 2013 as a total 6-million-dollar building, is so out of control. Why did it turn into a 15 (or more) million-dollar monstrosity that the taxpayers of the town will be paying for, for 30 years? How did it go from a 12,000 sq. ft. building into a 42,000 sq. ft. building?

Every town taxpayer should read the final report, but the final paragraph holds the action we expect from a functional town board and reads as follows, “The Board has the responsibility to initiate corrective action. A written corrective action plan (CAP) that addresses the findings and recommendations in this report should be prepared and provided to our office within 90 days, pursuant to Section 35 of General Municipal Law. (Detail omitted.) We encourage the Board to make the CAP available for public review in the Town Clerk’s office.”

Phase 1 was to be completed in Spring 2020 and the Supervisor said in January 2021 that Phase 2 would be completed in 2021. Here we are in 2023 and the project is not complete. I would like to see how this project has affected town taxes. Do the benefits of the new building outweigh the burden it is placing on taxpayers?

My sources are multiple articles in The Owego Pennysaver, Binghamton Press, and Fox 40 News, and I am happy to provide to anyone interested. 

It’s been 120 days. There is no information on the Town website, or a response to the final audit report. Project completion is unfunded by at least 4 million dollars, and we still do not have a final cost estimate for completion, or long-term debt to be paid by taxpayers.

As taxpayers, we deserve a timeline, clear accounting, and action plan as requested by the state comptroller. To the Town Supervisor and Board, what is your plan? How are you resolving the issues raised by the state Comptroller?

When will we get the answers, we are paying you for?


John Schubert

Owego, N.Y.

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