By: Lawrence, “Lonnie” Brennan – April, 2011
Some interesting shell games are going on before our eyes. One of the most interesting is the creation of a new centralized town maintenance department, funded via a new $729,583 proposition 2 ½ override.
The cool thing about it (for the proponents of the bill) is that we’ll increase maintenance spending in town by approximately $179K. And, they get to shift the current approximately $550,000 in maintenance spending into paying for raises or whatever else they need. Did you follow that? More than $550,000 magically gets “free” to be used for existing s-a-l-a-r-i-e-s.
This one should just go down in flames for the shell game that is being proposed. Remember, an override is FOREVER: a permanent tax increase that adds to the tax base and multiplies every year by an additional 2.5%.
But wait, there’s more: there’s also a $1.2 million proposed override on the ballot to pay for the raises that have been given out to the teachers these past few years, and previously paid for by Obama dollars, no longer available. This year, we “only need” $207K, but without Obama stimulus dollars, and with the runaway state spending that will crimp our local “aid” (reminder: send the Gov’ a thank you note for raising our taxes), we’re short.
And, fellow taxpayer, if you feel like staying up until midnight, you too can attend what promises to be a marathon town meeting, littered with even more spending items on a slew of ‘priority’ projects. Not to mention the creation of a new “money maker” (question: when has gov’t ever turned a profit?), with the creation of a new ambulance service under very doubtful financial analysis, but that’s another story, full of job creations and a real Pandora’s box of issues….).
What happens if you vote no? The sky will fall. There will be 100 kids in every classroom, you’ll have to bring toilet paper in for the school, we’ll have ‘layoffs, closing down the library, laying off police officers, etc.’ all because the schools gave out raises after raise after raise, year after year after year. When are they going to wake up and smell the economy?
We’re in the hole, and we’re asking for a combined $1.9 million dollars in new taxes. My advice, if you can afford it, vote for it. If you can’t your own family comes first, there’s no need to feel an obligation to fuel raises for the teachers. They’ve been well taken care of, and to ask you to raise your taxes by an average of 14.6% per household is well, let’s say, the “g” word comes to mind (greed).
Oh, I almost forgot to mention this great trick from the ‘how to pass an override’ playbook: 1. Put the word on the street that the teacher union’s leadership has been requested to ‘give’. 2. Let the teachers and school come together, hold hands, and make a grand announcement that if we just raise our taxes by 14.6%, they will take a one-day furlough (we’ll work a day for free) or other such blab. What a deal…
Oh, and if you think the $729,583 is some highly worked on number of critical needs, think again: at their March 31, 2010 meeting, the selectmen revealed the origin of the number: a “consultant” was hired who estimated $629,583, but “forgot” about grounds maintenance, so the selectmen added in another $100,000 to cover the forgotten items. Weird. Three minutes of discussion, $100,000 added in spending. Boy, I sure hope the “consultant” was paid what he or she was worth (zippo).