One comment had to do with the general "rudeness" of some of the attendees at the meeting. While the commenter said it was the firemen, I think it was more than just them. I sat in the balcony, which I have since concluded is not a good place to sit since there were times when I felt like jumping, and I heard plenty of noise from both sides.
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But this got me to thinking about firefighters, cops, DPW workers and teachers, and even the Town Administrator. How many town employees do not live in town? 25%? 50%? 75%? I know the TA doesn't reside in Sturbridge. Could this be why the town employees always want pay increases which the town can't afford? They aren't stakeholders, their taxes won't go up. Maybe it's time to think about a residency requirement.
Another comment referred to the comment from Mr. Morrison of the Finance Committee regarding town employees going to the Yellow Pages and looking up unions. What I beleive he was referring to was that the current non-union employees would try to find union representation, not that they would leave their jobs and go find a union job as the commenter seemed to think. I am pretty certain that most town employees have already been contacted by various unions. It isn't always more pay that the employees are looking for when they vote to unionize. I recall when we unionized at the Fire Department, money was the least of my concerns. Worker's compensation, however was, since I could never get a straight answer on how much would I make if I was hurt while on duty, would I only get my fire department pay or my full time pay? Others had other concerns as well, and as I recall wages weren't on the top of the list.
Another comment dealt with a comment the TA made to the Telegram saying the new budget would only add $150 a month to the average tax bill. While I didn't see the article, that seems a little high, but even $150 a year is too much. Some people seem to feel a buck here or a buck there doesn't matter, but it does. There are many in this town, seniors and others, who can't afford even a measly increase of $150 a year, never mind a month, if that is indeed what was said. As hard as it might be for some to beleive, we all care about this town and really do want to be able to live here, and for some of us we want our children and grandchildren to be able to live here as well.
And finally most of the comments mentioned the confusion on the Article 3 and 4 mess. Many people had no idea what they were voting for. I am not sure what the answer is when this happens, but there has to be some way to make it less so.
The Town Meeting will be continued on June 18th. It is still important to go as there are still some important articles to come, including Article 30 which asks to change the day of the Town Meeting to Saturday. In addition there are some more articles dealing with fiscal issues which should be discussed.