The Town of Evans has stepped back from the financial brink of disaster, according to its supervisor.
Mary K. Hosler is determined to move the town forward after years of financial mismanagement left the town broke and with a credit rating so low that no investors were willing to buy revenue anticipation notes last fall.
"It's far from over," she said of the financial mess, "but we are getting there."
That will be the supervisor's message in her second State Of The Town address scheduled at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 25 in Lake Shore Middle School auditorium, 8855 Erie Road.
"I took over a financial disaster, and we are not only fixing it, but moving our town forward," said Hosler, who is four months into her second year in office.
The town borrowed $12.6 million to install new water lines, hydrants and a water storage tower. Instead of putting the money in a separate account as required, it was combined with the rest of municipal funds. A state audit showed that $2 million of that money was used to cover operating expenses, mostly for the town’s troubled water operations. Ever since, the town has relied increasingly on revenue and tax-anticipation notes to make ends meet.
Hosler said revenue anticipation notes were issued for more money than the town anticipated would come in. It will be difficult to get out of the short-term borrowing, she said. But she is determined to eliminate its use within three years.
But she said, "This is not going to be done on the back of the taxpayers. This is going to be done with economic development and tightening our belt in Town Hall."
She is looking to market the town known as a summer haven - with 18 miles of beachfront and four parks, marina and bike paths - into a year-round destination. She spends time meeting with developers to show and sell the town.
"I think we're building a synergy here for business development," she said.
Hosler said she has recovered $585,000 in vouchers for the water project that were never turned in, and another $253,000 in fire hydrant bills that have now been collected from the North Evans Fire District. She has identified another $30,000 in credits owed for 28 hydrants.
The money borrowed for the water project has been spent, but there still is another $5 million to $7 million to be spent as part of a project to repave about 30 roads and build a water tower, she said.
"I never want to see our community go through this again," Hosler said. "It didn't have to be like this."