The New Bern Board of Aldermen amended the budget to borrow $40,553 for the purchase of 10 radios for police department vehicles.

The money will be used to purchase radios for eight police cars and two police motorcycles.

On June 10, aldermen adopted the 2014-15 budget, which included $761,355 for 20 police vehicles. According to a memo from Police Chief Toussaint Summers to city staff, the cost of the radios needed for those vehicles was inadvertently omitted from the adopted budget.

Mark Stephens, city manager, said the police department was running into problems with transitioning the old radios into the newer vehicles.

Summers said in his memo to the city finance director that the transfer of radios from the older police vehicles to the newer replacements caused significant down time.

"The down time of a patrol vehicle for removal and installation of equipment could result in days/weeks," Summers said. "Installing used radios in newer vehicles saves money for the department now, however, the upkeep and maintenance for older equipment will eventually surface. Buying new radios will allow for equipment with a longer life span and eliminate the need for future mass purchases."

The police department has three motorcycles and none of them are equipped with radios. The department was asking for two motorcycle radios at a cost of $12,464.98, or $6,232.42 per unit. Eight radios for the police cars will cost $28,087.92, or $3,510.99 per unit, according to Summers' memo.


The Town Board held an emergency meeting last week and voted to borrow $111,000 from its sewer fund to pay town employees. The council also approved a measure allowing Supervisor Stephen Flach to seek a $500,000 tax anticipation note, a short-term loan to help pay town bills.

At the same meeting, the board approved a 2015 budget that is about $100,000 higher than the 2014 budget and includes raises for several town officials.

Councilman Tom Dolan voted against the budget and loans saying there was no clear plan to get the towns finances back in order. Dolan said no one would run personal finances that way.

If you knew you had a shortfall, you would not go out and spend more money, Dolan said.

In an email response for comment, Flach said the shortfall was caused by years of overspending by the police department and a delay in reimbursements from the state.

This has caused a short-term deficit, which is why we approved a short-term loan, Flach wrote. Flach said the town will only use the sewer money if the tax anticipation note does not come through in time. The sewer fund has $160,000, and the town is short $87,000 for the next payroll, Flach said.

Dolan, the councils sole Democrat, said he proposed a hiring freeze and spending freeze and directing department heads to cut their spending, but his suggestions were ignored.

At the same meeting, the council voted 4-1 to approve the 2015 budget, a $6.4 million spending plan that is $100,000, or 1.6 percent, higher than the 2014 budget.

It provides raises for several town officials, including Flachs relatives Matthew Weidman, the town bookkeeper, and Flachs nephew, and Guy Weidman, deputy highway superintendent and Flachs brother-in-law, who was hired by the previous highway superintendent. Flach received a $15,000 raise last year.

The 2015 budget reduces the police and police dispatch budgets by nearly $200,000. Flach said the police department has a new police chief who will control costs, and said the department will turn dispatch over to Albany County. In 2012, Flach explored transferring all of Coeymans policing duties to the county sheriff, but dropped the idea after strong opposition from residents.

Dolan said there is no provision in the budget for paying back the money the town is borrowing. The towns plan, he said, is to borrow money next year to make up for paying back the TAN and hopefully pay that back in 2016.

James Youmans criticized town leaders at Monday nights Town Board meeting. Youmans previously served as town supervisor, but lost the post to Flach in 2011. Youman said he plans to run for the council again.

Your plan is actually to borrow money to pay back money that you borrowed, Youmans said. If you dont see the flaw in that plan, youre really have to ask yourselves what youre doing here.

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Photo: Photos: Old Visuals/Everett Collection/Getty Images,Old Visuals Everett Collection

Paul Krugman's column yesterday argues that the fall in public-construction spending has harmed the US economy. "And don't tell me that the problem is political dysfunction or some other weasel phrase that diffuses the blame. Our inability to invest doesn't reflect something wrong with Washington; it reflects the destructive ideology that has taken over the Republican Party."

Who's telling you that? Who would deny that it is Republicans, acting out of ideological conservatism, who have cut the infrastructure budget?

Oh, right --David Brooks, last Thursday:

If you get outside the partisan boxes, theres a completely obvious agenda to create more middle-class, satisfying jobs. The federal government should borrow money at current interest rates to build infrastructure, including better bus networks so workers can get to distant jobs. The fact that the federal government has not passed major infrastructure legislation is mind-boggling, considering how much support there is from both parties.

When he's writing on his blog, Krugman can be perfectly explicit about whom he's debating here. ("I actually agree with a lot of what David Brooks says today. But -- you know there has to be a "but" -- so does a guy named Barack Obama ...")

But the op-ed section is a more august place that requires a certain decorum. Readers of the op-ed page mustnt find out that the columnists disagree with one another.

A couple who claimed to be so broke they had to borrow money from relatives ran up £1million in fraudulent debt and spent it on a fleet of Bentleys and Range Rovers.

Jeremy Palmer, 53, and his wife Dawn, 50, from Dunton near Basildon in Essex managed to obtain a credit card in the name of an unwitting relative to rack up debt between 2002 and 2008.

The couple, who pleaded not guilty, were jailed for a total of eight and a half years when they appeared at Blackfriars Crown Court yesterday following a seven-week trial.