BACK TO THE BASICS
Well it seems we are getting preoccupied with the chief issues as though this is the only issue that we will be voting on at the two upcoming town meetings. We can banter back and forth about the tools and equipment the officers need to protect them and the town. However, all this will be decided at the town meetings. We the people choose the budget items and we do have the power to reject any line item. We have several budgets to consider and the Chief, whoever that may be, will have to make do with whatever the town approves for the police dept. budget. If that becomes a problem then we can choose to not fund the entire department.
SPECIAL TOWN MEETING
The BoS will be asking us to give them permission to spend $15,000.00-$30,000.00 to hire a new interim Chief to investigate the Chief that is on administrative leave. When this article comes up at the special town meeting we can simply vote it down. We need to tell the BoS that we aren’t going to spend any more money on their screw up. I can’t for the life of me understand why the BoS would want us to pay up to $30,000.00 to investigate a matter that can be investigated in an unbiased impartial manner for free. Perhaps the BoS doesn’t want a truly impartial investigation. Regardless, we the people do not have to fund stupidity.
We will be asked to approve $10,000.00 to do an operational audit on the water company. This is more than a 400% increase over last year’s water company audit budget. This operational audit will only tell us what the Finance committee has told us already. Because of one employee’s nonfeasance the town lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax revenue. We have an audit scheduled with Scanlon & Associates which will satisfy the state requirement, do we really need more?
Without town approval the BoS asked the personnel director to work over the budgeted $6,000.00. In fact they are asking the town for another $2.800.00 to pay for hours that he worked which were not budgeted for. They will also ask that we increase the personnel director’s budget to $9,500.00 per year. When Charlie Flynn was pitching the Finance committee on this article and increase he made a gaffe. We all know a gaffe is when a politician accidentally tells the truth. Charlie said that we need to increase this budget item and pay the extra $2,800.00 for the following reason. “Ordinarily this job should be done by the BoS; but because the BoS did this job so poorly we needed to hire a personnel director”. As unbelievable as it sounds Charlie Flynn’s argument is that because the BoS couldn’t do its job we need to hire someone to do it for them. Maybe we should pay the personnel director from the BoS’s salary. Or perhaps we should just replace this BoS with people who can actually do the job.
Then we have the water company articles. Not only are the water commissioners asking us to come up with $7,842.50 in addition to the $79,720.00 subsidy from last year, but at the annual town meeting they’ll be asking us to take over the entire $117,000.00 debt service. Do these people really think the citizens of Egremont are that stupid?
We have a lot of issues to deal with at the two town meetings on the 7th of May; but the main objective is to get as many people out to the meetings as possible. There is strength in numbers. These meetings are too important to let apathy allow this small group of people who have been running this town to win. It’s time for the citizens of Egremont to step up and get involved. It’s time for the citizens of Egremont to make a stand. I hope to see you all at the two town meetings on May 7th at 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm at Mt. Everett HS; then the election on May 14th at the North Egremont Fire Station.