I recently took the time to review Freeport’s financial statements and reserve account information. Based on the information provided, I believe that some of Freeport’s reserve accounts are not being managed in accordance with town policy and, perhaps, state law. The documents clearly suggest that placement of our reserve monies in the stock market, and a real estate development project, has contributed to hundreds of thousands of dollars of reserve account losses. Because our reserve accounts are public funds held in public trust, requests have been made for an independent review of the handling of these accounts. Yet, before there has been an answer on these questions, the Town Council is being asked to approve both an increase in the amount of money that can be put into our existing reserves and the setting up a new reserve account. This is not right.
The requested changes to the reserve account policy will affect every taxpayer in Freeport. To quickly push through significant changes to these policies isn’t fair to Freeport’s taxpayers, especially given the open questions regarding the management of our existing reserve money. Why give town management more reserve money when they haven’t documented to us that they are appropriately managing our existing reserves? Let’s wait until the questions on our existing account management have been fully addressed, we’ve received this year’s audited financial statements and we have a clearer idea of this year’s budget priorities before making big changes to reserve account policy.