Article 4 is a citizens petition asking that the voters vote to keep the town's budget at the same level as it was this year. The town's Finance Committee is asking that it be raised 4.6% over this years. They are proud of the fact that it only raising that much and it is still under the amount they COULD raise it. It also doesn't seem like much until you realize that our taxes here in Sturbridge have risen from $11.32 to $17.63 in FOUR YEARS. This works out to 56% in that time.
Let me ask two questions:
- Has your paycheck risen 56% in four years?
- Has the value of your house risen 56% in four years?
The Finance Committee has produce a "nightmare" budget which they claim will be needed in order to meet this proposed budget if Article 4 passes. As to be expected this budget claims that all the usual suspects will have to be "cut". Employees will have to be laid off. The Senior Center will have to be closed. We won't be able to give raises and the quality of our town employees, especially those in management will be lowered as there will be a mass exodus of people going to greened pastures. This is nonsense.
The Town Administrator claims that there was no thought behind this warrant article, which is not so. What the Town Administrator and the elite in the Finance Committee tend to overlook is that there truly are others in this town beside them who really do care about Sturbridge, and they want to be able to afford to live here. And these people also understand that the answer to every problem is not to spend more money and raise taxes.
There are places in which the budget could be cut with out using a "blunderbuss" or a machete or even an ax. Will it take time? Will it be difficult? Yes and yes, but it can be done.
So there are two things I want to leave you with:
- We need to end the cycle of tax and spend, not only in Sturbridge, but in Massachusetts and the United States as well, and this is a good place to start.
- More importantly, you, yes you, need to show up at the Town Meeting on Monday, June 4 at 7:00 PM at Tantasqua and vote. I would say vote "Yes" on Article 4, but more importantly that that is ATTEND and VOTE. If you don't attend the meeting, then don't complain, either that your taxes are too high or that your favorite program had it's budget cut.
And for my non-Sturbridge readers, this holds true for you as well. We all bitch about our taxes, we all bitch about what we pay for this or that program, well this is the place to start to make a difference. Maybe my head is in the clouds but I truly beleive that if we start the "Hope and Change" thing at the lowest level, it will find it's way up the ladder to where we can really make a difference.