I hope you have been watching the town’s budget writing process in recent weeks. For me it has been very frustrating because the sole focus has been on reducing tax increases rather than spending on what we truly need.
The says it needs replacement cars. No way, says the Board of Selectmen. Keep the old cars running another year.
Our volunteer fire departments (which save us millions by donating their talents) tell the Board their trucks and fire engines are wearing out. And the Board says sorry, kicking that can down the road to be addressed in the future.
The asks for help with inspections to meet state mandates. Not important, says the Board, .
Wait till our Police Department can’t answer a call because their vehicles have broken down, or a fire can’t be fought because the pumper is broken. Where will our penny-pinching heroes on the Boards of Selectmen and Finance be then?
What is this obsession with keeping our mill rate among the lowest in the state when our needs are so great? How many years of austerity spending can we afford? Go ahead … raise my taxes if it will mean we get better service, police and fire protection.
And then there’s the real budget buster, the , which is almost two-thirds of the town’s entire spending.
Parents jammed the Auditorium on Tuesday telling the Board of Education they want foreign languages taught in elementary school, while students, almost in tears, practically begged for a school psychologist. The Board of Ed said no.
Aren’t those parents really saying “raise our taxes” too?
We all know schools are crucial to our town, its kids and all of our property values. So why do we spend less per pupil than any comparable school system, except one, in the area? And why are we so proud of being so cheap?
Please, raise my taxes. Just give us the service we need and a town we can be proud of. Spend wisely on what we need today. It will only cost more next year.
Editor's Note: The polls for this story were closed 12:45 p.m., Feb. 12. Thank you for your votes! Here are the final poll results:
Would you support higher taxes for the proposed elementary school foreign language program?
Yes — 34 (25%)
No — 98 (74%)
Total votes: 132
Would you support higher taxes in return for the town services that have been proposed this year?
Yes — 49 (37%)
No — 82 (62%)
Total votes: 131