The finance committee meeting was if nothing else informative. If you want to know what goes on in this town then follow the money. The FC meeting is where all the money issues are discussed. There were a lot of boring details that aren't worth writing about so I’ll just get to what I thought was interesting.
One of the subjects of course was the water company. As you may know the BoS voted to rehire Jack Muskrat on a part time bases. The vote was two to one with Charlie being the only one to stand against keeping the guy who lost literally hundreds of thousands of our tax dollars. Charlie argued that this is a perfect time to give the water company a fresh start. Bruce and Mary would have nothing to do with that; they want to keep things the way they are. After all Jack has done such a great job.
You may recall that Jack couldn't touch any of the monies because he could not be bonded. This is why the water customers had to take their payments to Mary at the town hall. Now, because Jack can't be trusted to do the billing, that task had to be given over to the town hall. Charlie was right; why do we even need Jack? The irony is that jack will now be paid more to do less. I have to wonder what power Jack has over Bruce and Mary.
One of the FC members was so horrified that they brought Jack back that he was visible angered. He asked when the BoS voted this in. Well it was on the agenda the night of the Chiefs hearing on July 22nd. Perhaps if the crowd that came for the police issue put the same passion into the rest of the meeting Bruce and Mary may have balked at rehiring jack as well. They say that democracy is rule by angry mob. Sometimes the angry mob is right.
Then the discussion turned to the town voting to defund Jacks position, which is a good segue into the Special Town Meeting, (STM) scheduled for Sept. 16th. I think we citizens are going to have to start taking a more active role in running our town. So in that spirit let’s go over some key issues on the draft warrant for that STM.
Article 1 wants to take an undetermined amount of our money for water company wages. The FC recommends this action but I say lets hold out on giving the WC any more money until they listen to Charlie and start fresh. The town will still have to kick in whatever is needed to balance the WC books but it’s a way to tell the BoS to get in line.
Article 2 asks the town to put more money into the interim chief’s budget. I hate to tell you I told you so, but when we were asked to put up 15k to pay an acting chief at the last (STM) I opposed it. The BoS said the money was to be used to fund a 20 hour per week position at 25 dollars per hour. At this rate the 15k would last for seven and a half months. This should have taken us through the end of the year. I guess the BoS is telling us that this fiasco will go far beyond the end of this year. It seems to me that on July 8th the BoS made a deal to end this by Dec. 31st. I have an idea, let’s take away the funding for the interim chief and force the BoS to deal with the issue. Why should we have to pay another dime for the BoS’s stupidity.
Articles 4 &5 deal with the police department budget as well. Why on earth should we put any more money into a police department that is so dysfunctional? If we don’t vote to fund the police budget the BoS can’t spend the money. Perhaps if the police dept. feared that the town would defund the entire dept, they would be a little more agreeable in negotiating their collective bargaining agreement. They might even think twice about refusing to work with their Chief.
We the people have the power of the purse I can’t understand why we don’t use it. I know a lot of the townspeople agree with these positions but if they don’t get out and vote it doesn't matter. There are going to be a lot of crucial issues voted on at this upcoming Special Town Meeting. The only way to change what’s wrong with the town is to participate. So if you’re not registered to vote then please register. If you are registered to vote then pry yourself away from the prime time lineup for one night and get out and vote.