Overriding the tax cap

I attended the 9/23/13 TOP work session where Bernie Bassett talked about the need to override the tax cap as well as fund the highway dept completely with a highway tax. (Currently, there is a small highway tax and the rest is funded thru sales tax revenues). Bernie indicated that funding the highway dept. in this way was necessary as to avoid relying on sales tax revenue.

Councilors Lamoy, Mannix and Wood were present. None of them asked questions about Bernie’s recommendation. This was truly disappointing. There were no checks and balances. It appeared that the councilors were blindly going along. There should have been a LOT of discussion, instead there was none. Why aren’t we looking at reducing expenses? Why don’t we return the sales tax revenues to the tax payers like so many other towns do, especially if we will have a separate highway tax?? What effect would this move have upon the tax payers? What happens if we don’t do it? Mr. Wood asked questions but they were for clarification about the budget and a general understanding of OPEB (Other Post Employment Benefits) and not directly related to highway tax or tax override. In fact he indicated that they should just go ahead and pass the override law since they knew “they were going to have to do it anyway” and worry about the amount later.

It appears that the taxpayers could be required to fund about $1.5 million highway dept. over and above we already pay. What does that translate into with respect to tax rates? They didn’t say. My calculations show that it will be A LOT unless there are savings elsewhere and/or the sale tax revenues are given back to the tax payers.

The only person talking was Bernie and in my opinion he did not lay out sufficient groundwork to support his recommendation and the councilors didn’t question a thing….. very disappointing.

Next meeting: Monday 9/30/13 at 7:00