HARRISON, N.Y. - In her final letter to the town as mayor and supervisor, Joan Walsh outlined Harrison's fiscal future while reflecting on her last four years in office.
"Four years ago, I was elected to stop the spending that had been the hallmark of our town from 2002 through 2007," Walsh said. "In some areas I was successful. In other areas, it was not possible. There were, and are, built-in obstacles that the new administration will also face."
The letter goes into the town's financial details and closes with Walsh's farewell as her mayoral term ends on the first day of 2012. She was voted out of office last November and will be replaced by Ron Belmont .
"Do I worry about what will happen to the town now? Of course," Walsh said in a closing statement. "However, it is no longer my responsibility. Residents have chosen a new mayor and returned a big spender as councilman. I wish Ron Belmont the best of times, that he gets the best advice, and makes the best decisions.
While discussing the town's financial history, Walsh mentioned that Harrison's spending, tax rate and debt have all increased by at least 100 percent between 2000 and 2010, citing the time it takes for governments to control its budget. She looked back at how her office handled the Great Recession of 2008 and beyond.
"The major success during my administration was in reducing spending so that it stayed almost within the adopted budget; what you elected me to do," Walsh said. "It was difficult to re-educate people that asking for more money did not mean an automatic increase. By 2010, we actually had a surplus due to constant use of the word 'no.'"
While making sense of her administration's handling of the town's finances, Walsh said she had no regrets looking back.
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